Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars are soft peanut butter bars that are absolutely packed with peanut butter cups. This is an easy dessert recipe that can be made a day or two ahead and will disappear almost as fast as you can put them on the table.
I’ve been testing these peanut butter bars all summer long. And there was a stretch of time during which every time I made a batch, I went back and added even more peanut butter cups. Because “too many peanut butter cups” is a phrase uttered by no one. ever.
These bars are tender with a slightly crisp top and a soft center. The peanut butter flavor really comes through, giving them a great balance of salty and sweet.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bar Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter, room temperature - It’s always a good idea to use unsalted butter so you get consistent results (some brands of salted butter are more salty than others). Make sure the butter is softened before you bake with it. (I like to set it on a plate on top of or near the stove as the oven heats up to speed the softening process along.)
- Creamy Peanut Butter - I only tested this using commercial creamy peanut butter (JIF). It would probably be great with crunchy peanut butter if you prefer some added texture.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - While I tried these with a few different types of peanut butter cups, including Reese’s cups in two sizes, I kept coming back to the Aldi version (shown below). These have a thick chocolate exterior and a super creamy peanut butter filling. Any type of chocolate peanut butter cup will be great. Refrigerate the peanut butter cups for 10 minutes to make them much easier to chop.
- Other baking ingredients like eggs, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, and pure vanilla extract.
Other Desserts that Combine Peanut Butter and Chocolate
I have a serious soft spot for this combination. Here are a few of my favorite peanut butter and chocolate recipes:
- No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - I make this easy recipe with my kids and the easy-to-slice bars make great additions to lunch boxes.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Oat Smoothies - The oats in these smoothies give it an added thick texture and extra nutritional boost.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies - Totally indulgent, these brownies are an ode to those buckeye balls that show up (and disappear fast) every Christmas.
- Dark Chocolate Almond Energy Bites - This recipe calls for almond butter, but I often sub in peanut butter when it’s all I have or when that’s the flavor combination I’m craving.
How to Freeze Brownies, Blondies, and Cookie Bars
Brownies, blondies, and cookie bars freeze well, making it easy to portion out a serving or two for a small treat or to pack into lunch boxes. For best results, slice them into squares and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Store all of the individually portioned bars in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Defrost at room temperature or enjoy straight out of the freezer.
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer - It’s a classic, but a KitchenAid Stand Mixer makes any baking recipes so easy. For these bars, it’s especially nice for beating the butter and sugars together - a task which takes a lot of elbow grease to do by hand.
- 9x9 Baking Dish - These bars call for an 9x9 baking dish. I love this one that comes with a lid for easy storage. You can also bake slightly thicker bars in an 8x8 baker.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars
- 9"x9" baking pan (or use an 8"x8" for thicker bars)
- standing mixer
- 1 and ¾ cup (220g) All-Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 8 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (110g) Light Brown Sugar, packed
- ½ cup (100g) Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter (see note)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 12 oz Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 325° Spray a 9"x9" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. (You can use an 8"x8" baking pan for thicker bars if you prefer.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer, beat together butter, both sugars, and peanut butter until light and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low between each addition. Add vanilla and mix on low until fully blended, about 1 minute.
- Add dry ingredients and mix on low just until combined.
- Stir in peanut butter cups.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake until the middle is just set, 26 to 28 minutes (note: add 4 t0 6 minutes if using an 8"x8" pan).
- Allow bars to cool completely in pan.
- Slice and serve. Bars can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I have not tested these bars with natural peanut butter. I use Jif Creamy Peanut Butter to make this recipe.
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