Make Ahead

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

September 29, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

These squares are ridiculously quick to make, require no baking, and have a very grown-up hit of salt on top. They're perfect as a hostess gift, and also great to have in your repertoire for the craziness of the holidays. The bars work well as a mid-morning pick-me-up with a shot of espresso, but also as an after-school snack with a glass of milk. Pack them on a picnic and watch them disappear! —Selma | Selma's Table

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe takes the classic chocolate and peanut butter pairing and turns it into a no-bake bar cookie. It's the perfect dessert recipe to have in your back pocket for bake sales, picnics, large gatherings of any kind, or just when you need a sugar fix -- stat. —The Editors

  • Makes 16 large squares
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) butter
  • 2 sleeves (240g) saltine crackers
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups (340g) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup (200g) chopped dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top
In This Recipe
  1. Blitz or crush the crackers into fine crumbs, depending on how much texture you want in your squares. You should have about 2 cups of crushed crackers. Empty into a large mixing bowl, then add the peanut butter.
  2. Place the sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. While the mixture is coming to a boil, line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Leave a little overhang so that you can pull it out later.
  3. Once the mixture on the stove comes to a full boil, set the timer for 1 minute. Don't panic if the mixture froths and foams. When the minute is up, carefully pour the extremely hot sugar mixture over the crackers and peanut butter. Add the vanilla, then stir with a spatula until everything is really well combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth it out, and leave it to cool for about an hour.
  4. Heat the cream in a pan until it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the pieces of chocolate. When it looks lovely and glossy, it's ready.
  5. Pour the chocolate on top of the peanut butter base and smooth it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with flaky salt while the chocolate is still warm
  6. Pop the pan into the fridge to allow it to set. When it's firm, remove it from the tin using the overhang to help to pull it out. With a large knife, cut it into squares -- whichever size you like. Store in an airtight tin.

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