Essential Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

By • December 17, 2013 • 10 Comments

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Author Notes: These bars were served at my small private school in Houston for decades. When peanut allergies became more prominent, they only lived on as a euphoric memory for me and my classmates. Fast-forward ten years: after making a "healthy" version of these on my blog, I launched a quest to find the original recipe. We found it handwritten on a lunch order form, and actually traced the recipe back to my first-grade teacher. While this isn't a traditional family recipe, it made for one of the most formative food memories of my childhood, and I'm so excited to pass it down. Call it a "modern family" recipe, or call it anything you want, just don't call us late for dessert. These are the stuff of chocolate and peanut butter lovers' dreams.

[To be clear, this recipe is not my own, as it has been passed down through generations of teachers and cafeteria cooks and students, etc., at my small private school. I wrote this recipe based on the ingredient list we tracked back to my friend's mother. Yay for keeping recipes alive! It is posted on my food blog at http://wp.me/p2z1Vp-qy.]
Randle Browning

Makes 9 x 13 baking dish

graham cracker crumbs, creamy peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, butter

  • 1/2 pound graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar
  1. Crush graham crackers thoroughly, in food processor or sealed in a plastic bag. It should look like sand.
  2. In wide sauce pot, slowly melt 1/2 lb. butter over gentle heat (no sizzling). Stir in peanut butter. When incorporated, add confectioner’s sugar and graham cracker crumbs and stir until combined. Press filling into an even layer in a plastic-lined 9 x 13 in dish.

chocolate chips, unsalted butter

  • 1 pound chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  1. Meanwhile, gently melt chocolate and remaining ? cup butter in the microwave, stirring frequently and heating in 5- to 15-second intervals. (Alternately, melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler). Pour chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer in the dish and smooth into an even layer.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour, slice, and serve chilled or at room temperature.
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9 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

I made these bars last week. Had some trouble with the proportions. The peanut butter layer was too grainy from the graham crackers for my husband and I and the chocolate layer didn't have enough volume to cover the peanut butter layer (maybe a 3/4). It was good though, don't get me wrong, but next time to suit our tastes cut down on the graham cracker crumps by 1/2 cup and use a smaller baking dish.

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10 months ago creamtea

Is regular "natural" style peanut butter usable, as opposed to Skippy, etc.?

Randle_with_wine

10 months ago Randle Browning

Hi there! I used an old standard (like JIF) because I'm pretty sure my old cafeteria crew wouldn't have used a more natural (less blended, less sweetened) style of peanut butter. However, I imagine it work and produce a delicious bar. I was going for the old familiar taste, though! If you try a natural style peanut butter, let me know how it goes. :)

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10 months ago Trena

I love the pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

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10 months ago Mollie

Looks great! My only question is step 2: how much butter should be melted? The list says 1/2 lb but the recipe says 1 lb.

Randle_with_wine

10 months ago Randle Browning

Oh, Mollie, thanks for catching that! It's 1/2 lb. in the peanut butter layer and 2/3 cup in the chocolate layer. It should be corrected above!

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10 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

looks divine! how do you store and how far in advance can they be made?

Randle_with_wine

10 months ago Randle Browning

Hi there! I store them in the fridge, and I think they could be made a few days in advance, although I've only tried making them the night before. They honestly don't last long!

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10 months ago Midge

Oh yes, I will be making these!

Randle_with_wine

10 months ago Randle Browning

Midge, they're always a big hit! Hope it goes well. :)