No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

I’m not a big candy person, but when I came across this recipe, the urge  for a sweet treat hit me hard. Chocolate and peanut butter make a timeless combination, and this simple recipe (which doesn’t even require you to turn on the oven) has delicious results. The bars are wonderful straight from the freezer, where they will conveniently stay good for quite a long time, though I doubt that ‘quite a long time’ will describe the longevity of these little guys. Think Reese’s peanut butter cup, but larger. And . . . healthier? Who knows. Let’s at least pretend, eh?

I think the hardest part of this recipe was simply measuring out the peanut butter (warning: a 16.3 oz container does not contain a full 2 cups). That stuff is sticky, man. But if that’s the summit of the challenge, you can see how easy these are going to be to make.

Ingredients

(Makes 20 small bars)

2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup butter, softened
12 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

Here’s the assembly: looking totally doable.

First, pulverize the graham crackers until you have 2 cups worth of very fine crumbs. I dumped the crackers into a Ziploc bag and went at them with the heel of my hand.

Very soon, I graduated my efforts to the rolling-pin level.

Much faster that way.

Grab a large mixing bowl and toss in the graham cracker crumbs . . .

. . . powdered sugar . . .

. . . peanut butter . . .

. . . and 3/4 cup of softened butter.

Mix it slowly, because when I tried to speed things up, poofs of powdered sugar exploded from the bowl.

There! The rest of the recipe is easy: just grab handfuls of that mixture as your mood leads and insert into mouth.

Enjoy!

Just kidding.

Instead, press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan (ungreased).

Oh–you already ate it all? Oh. Sorry. I didn’t mean to mislead anyone.

For the rest of you: the mixture will stick somewhat as you press it down. See how it doesn’t want to stay put?

I panicked for about 15 seconds thinking it would never cooperate–but as I started using a combination of the spatula and my index finger to pat it down little by little, everything came together.

Phew! There we go.

And now for the chocolate. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter.

Heat for 1 minute in the microwave, then remove the bowl and stir.

If it’s not fully melted (i.e. there are still lumps), put it back in the microwave for 20 seconds and stir again.

Repeat until the chocolate and butter are fully melted and melded together. Spread the chocolate immediately (and quickly) over the layer of peanut butter.

Don’t try to use a spoon like I did–a spatula will make it go much faster.

If at some point in the process your finger looks like this:

I adjure you to follow the voice in your heart. You will know what to do.

Now cool the whole thing in the fridge or the freezer until the chocolate hardens. Cut it into small squares and serve!

Store the bars in the freezer and serve them directly from there–the texture will be perfect (not rock-solid, don’t worry).

Delicious, easy, and the results will put a smile on your face.

Plus, you can always keep a batch in the freezer to whip out when unexpected guests drop by demanding nutrition.

Or when unexpected hunger pangs hit. Your pick.

Enjoy your weekend, peoples! I, for one, will be spending some quality time with my friend Vessie, who is in Chicago on business and is sticking around to play with me for a couple days. I love that girl! Check out some pictures of her from our little photo shoot on the porch last fall. She’s got it all–beauty, smarts, energy, athleticism–and a huge heart!

See you all Monday for more adventures in food, with a little story of unintentional carbonization as an added plus. Or an added minus, depending on your perspective.

Click here for printer-friendly version: No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

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25 Responses to No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

  1. Oh, yum! This will be a great hit with our youth at church! :) My friends and my whole family will be going to our first Colonial/Regency ball this weekend at Winston Salem. http://www.theassemblydancers.com/default.html We crammed and did our best to learn 20 new dances…whew, what a work out. Have a great weekend, Jenna!

    • Jenna says:

      Very cool, Kay!! I hope you’ll be blogging about it, because I’d LOVE to see pictures of you all in costume! Wow, 20 dances–that’s intense.

  2. skippymom says:

    I will say it again [forgive me I am old and have a tendency to repeat myself] but you have the best recipes, but my favorite part is you make them so dang entertaining!

    This has “High School Band Banquet” written all over it. [Did I mention I was old. With kids. Yeah, the old part. See? Doing it again.]

    Thanks Jenna!

  3. Joanne says:

    I can’t tell whether this no-bake business is a good or a bad thing. Good because it means I can have these in five minutes or less. Bad because it means I can have these in five minutes or less.

    Either way. Truly amazing.

  4. This seems SO simple
    I MUST try.
    Like…..TODAY!
    xoxo
    bB
    http://www.itsybitsybrianna.wordpress.com

  5. Wendi says:

    Jenna, I don’t think there is a more perfect combination than chocolate and peanut butter.

  6. surlykitchen says:

    my mouth is watering. when i’m off the low oxalate diet, i’m totally making theses.

  7. Oh yeah, TOTALLY healthy! Peanut butter is a great source of protein. Butter is a healthy fat. And chocolate, um……oh never mind.
    Totally making these ASAP…..

    • NanaBread says:

      Go for the dark chocolate chips! The news keeps putting up stories lately about the benefits of dark chocolate, and for once I’m going to agree with something I saw on television. Because in this case, I WANT to believe it’s true! These look great, Jenna. Something about chocolate and peanut butter just makes my heart sing with joy.

  8. Erin says:

    Whee! These look awesome! Someone at church makes something like this for us at Christmas, and they are Josh’s FAVORITE! And we’ve never been exactly sure how they were made….but now…oh, my. Like someone else posted, this is very good and very bad news that this knowledge is now in our possession. ;)

  9. Madeline says:

    I assume you’ll be bringing these to an HTC event very soon ;)

  10. Sarah says:

    it’s my turn to bring snacks to our small group next week….now i know what to bring :)

  11. Vicki DeArmeyv says:

    I wanted to print out the recipe so I copied/pasted your captions into an email to myself.
    Thought maybe you’d enjoy seeing how this came out. Of course, it is non-edited.

    Ingredients

    (Makes 20 small bars)

    2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
    3 cups powdered sugar
    2 cups creamy peanut butter
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    12 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/4 cup butter
    Grab a large mixing bowl and toss in the graham cracker crumbs .
    . .
    powdered sugar . peanut butter . and 3/4 cup of softened butter.Mix it slowly, because when I tried to speed things up, poofs of powdered sugar exploded from the bowl.press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan (ungreased).In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter.
    Heat for 1 minute in the microwave, then remove the bowl and stir.Repeat until the chocolate and butter are fully melted and melded together. Spread the chocolate immediately (and quickly) over the layer of peanut butter.

    Now cool the whole thing in the fridge or the freezer until the chocolate hardens. Cut it into small squares and serve!

  12. Vicki DeArmeyv says:

    For some reason my printer will not print this out. The paper comes out blank.Is that because I transposed it from FB do you think?

    • Jenna says:

      Hmmm, I don’t know . . . the ‘printer friendly’ link at the bottom should just open a Word document with the ingredients and instructions.

  13. I know two little minxes who would love these.

  14. Veronica says:

    My hubby would think he’d died and gone to heaven if I made these! Unfortunately, I just made a huuuuge batch of cake pops and have had my overindulgence for the week so I can’t tempt myself with these just yet, but I’m saving the recipe for a later date. Oh, and yet another reason you need a food processor: making graham cracker and cookie crumbs!

  15. myblogject says:

    These look gorgeous… BUT… I really don’t like peanut butter – any ideas at a substitute do you think?

    • Jenna says:

      You could try almond butter or some other kind of nut butter–if you do, let me know how it turns out! Nutella could also be an interesting experiment, though that would be chocolate on chocolate.

  16. Julie M. says:

    Those could really be dangerous around this house. My husband loves peanut butter cups so much that he keeps a secret stash in the garage. I’ll definitely have to try it out!

  17. MC says:

    Oh yes, these are definitely going to be a favorite. Thanks for helping me out with an easy dessert recipe my husband will absolutely adore! I keep getting the “…is there anything for dessert?” lately. I’m glad to have found your blog. It looks like a lot of fun!

  18. busybcooks says:

    Looks yummy, can’t wait to make them!

  19. Aarthi says:

    I am going to try this weekend..thanks for the recipe

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