5 Ingredients or Fewer

Essential Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

December 17, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Makes 9 x 13 baking dish
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • chocolate chips, unsalted butter
  • 1 pound chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  1. graham cracker crumbs, creamy peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, butter
  2. Crush graham crackers thoroughly, in food processor or sealed in a plastic bag. It should look like sand.
  3. 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.
  1. chocolate chips, unsalted butter
  2. 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.
  3. Refrigerate for at least an hour, slice, and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Neeti Nitya
    Neeti Nitya
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • creamtea
  • Midge
  • Randle Browning
    Randle Browning

10 Reviews

Neeti N. May 1, 2020
These bars looking appealing to have in no time would like to try in my kitchen.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 31, 2014
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.
creamtea January 3, 2014
Is regular "natural" style peanut butter usable, as opposed to Skippy, etc.?
Randle B. January 6, 2014
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. :)
Mollie December 18, 2013
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 B. December 18, 2013
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!
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 17, 2013
looks divine! how do you store and how far in advance can they be made?
Randle B. December 17, 2013
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!
Midge December 17, 2013
Oh yes, I will be making these!
Randle B. December 17, 2013
Midge, they're always a big hit! Hope it goes well. :)