Peanut butter bars made with one and one-half cups chocolate.
Last week I had the opportunity to make a couple of goodies for the company where my husband works. They were having a bake sale and silent recipe auction that would benefit the Marine’s Toys for Tots program. Growing up in a family that had trouble putting food on the table, and knowing how the holidays feels to a child living in poverty, I was all too willing to whip up something to donate. Knowing that these peanut butter bars are always a hit, making them was an easy decision. Shockingly, these bars sold for FIVE bucks a piece! It costs less than that to make a whole batch of 16, even using good quality chocolate and peanut butter.
These no-bake peanut butter bars bring back a flood of memories from my childhood. My Nana used to make these only during the holidays, although we begged her to make them more often. This is probably why they were so special to us, and why they never lasted very long!
Several years ago, I asked my Nana for the recipe. Unfortunately, she ‘couldn’t remember’ the exact recipe. This to me is code for ‘I am not giving out my recipe to anyone!’ Instead of pushing the issue, I decided that I would come up with a version of my own. Since it had been years since I had tasted these sweet treats, it took lots of trial and error to get it right, but my family didn’t seem to mind.
You would think that with all the graham cracker crumbs used that the peanut butter mixture would have a slightly crisp texture, but the graham cracker crumbs are used more as a binding agent. The peanut butter – butter combo slightly softens the crumbs so you really aren’t getting a crunchy sensation when you bite into the peanut butter, just a dense, rich peanut butter layer.
Trust me, you want to line your baking sheet with parchment paper before pressing the peanut butter mixture into the pan. Otherwise, all of your edge pieces will crack when you try to remove them. This isn’t a big deal to my kids at least. They know that all the imperfect treats I make are a free-for-all for them.
The chocolate topping could not be any easier – all it’s made of is – chocolate! Just melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips, top the peanut butter mixture and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes to set and you are ready to enjoy these all-too tempting treats.
Peanut butter bars made with two cups of chocolate.
- 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs from about 18 graham crackers
- 2¾ cups confectioners sugar sifted
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer Jif)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter melted
- 1½ - 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli, but Nestle works well too)
- Line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper, both lengthwise and widthwise leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides (this will ensure that the chocolate mixture does not stick to the pan and that the bars release easily), set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sift in confectioners’ sugar.
- In a large bowl, melt butter then add the peanut butter, whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Gradually add the graham cracker crumb mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Stir until fully combined.
- Press the combined peanut butter mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan.
- Melt the chocolate chips either in a double-boiler or in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time
- Pour melted chocolate over the peanut butter, spreading evenly
- Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set, about 35 minutes when using 1½c chocolate, or 1 hour for 2c chocolate.
- Once chilled, lift the parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan and cut into desired sizes.