Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

Sometimes I think there’s no new way to combine peanut butter and chocolate.

But then I put my thinking cap on and something always comes to me.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

I was craving something dense, thick, peanut buttery and chocolaty, and very easy. I wasn’t in the mood for stand mixers and dough chilling. I wanted something fast and not fussy in the least. Sometimes I can handle tedious baking projects and other times, I have the patience of a flea.

I planned to use browned butter in the batter and finish them with a melted peanut butter-chocolate chip drizzle, but kept them pretty bare bones and am so glad I did. The peanut butter flavor comes through, and the glorious hunks and chunks of dark chocolate shine in every bite.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

They’re made in one bowl, no mixer required, and the batter comes together by hand in five minutes. After a short 20 minute stint in the oven, you can be enjoying big chewy bites. I love recipes that don’t require hours of advance planning and that go from cupboard shelves and into my belly in under 30 minutes flat.

They combine many favorite recipes into one. They remind me of a pan-full of peanut butter-spiked Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups. As an aside, if you’re prone to cookies that spread, it’s impossible with those because they’re baked in muffin cups.

I love the soft, fudgy density of Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies and this recipe is reminiscent of those, but because I used a pinch of baking soda and slightly more flour, they have more of a cookie-bar than a blondie texture. And, they’re loaded with chocolate chunks like my favorite Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

To make them, melt the butter, about 1 minute in the microwave. Stir in an egg, sugars, vanilla, a hearty scoop of peanut butter, and the dry ingredients. After the batter comes together, fold in chopped dark chocolate. I used Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Bar. I love their Pound Plus Bars for baking and the 72% and the Dark Chocolate are my two favorites.

A tip when chopping chocolate is to put a piece of parchment paper on your cutting board before chopping. It makes it so easy to pick up and dump the whole shredded mess into your mixing bowl. Chocolate isn’t able to cling to the cutting board, making cleanup much easier. I chop many batches of chocolate on the same piece of parchment and tuck it inside the wrapper of my leftover chocolate bar for next time. I hate to waste, even paper.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

After the chocolate is folded in, transfer batter to the pan, and bake for about 20 minutes. Don’t overbake because the bars will set up in the pan as they cool. A toothpick test may or may not work because there’s so much chocolate in them and I had to insert a toothpick in four different spots until I stopped hitting chocolate and struck dough. Not a horrible problem to have.

They have all the benefits and taste of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but faster and easier. I love pans of bars because there’s no dough to chill or form into individual mounds. No mixer dishes to do, and nothing can accidentally spread out all over a cookie sheet since it’s baked a pan.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

The flavor of peanut butter is distinct and present but not overwhelming and doesn’t overshadow the buttery, sweet dough. The edges raised up and puffed a bit while baking and turned chewy, yet the interior remained dense, tender, moist, and soft.

The chocolate chunks are beautiful surprises that you can sink your teeth into in every bite.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

There are so many ways to doctor these up, from using browned butter rather than melted, or adding white, butterscotch or peanut butter chips. Sprinkle in a handful of marshmallows, M&Ms, or a favorite candy. The dough is ripe for add-ins.

Before serving, drizzle with chocolate, melted peanut butter or melted chocolate peanut butter. After the photos, I drizzled some Dark Rum Caramel Sauce over the top on a whim. Oh my, highly recommended and if only I gotten a picture. You’ll have to use your imagination or just make some for yourself.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

Those center cut bites are my favorite. Under-baked, gooey, rich, and flanked with hunks of dark chocolate.

Even after writing a cookbook with 100 Peanut Butter Recipes I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ways to combine peanut butter and chocolate.

They’re my favorite food groups.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars averiecooks.com

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars - Soft peanut butter bars with big chunks of chocolate in every bite! Faster & easier than making cookies!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

All the flavor and texture of peanut butter-chocolate cookies, but much faster and easier. The batter comes together in minutes by hand and in one bowl. In under 30 minutes, from start to finish, you can be eating one of these bars. The peanut butter flavor is present, but doesn't overwhelm the buttery, sweet dough. The edges are chewy, and the interior remains dense, tender, moist, and soft. There's an abundance of chocolate in every bite, perfect for those who love pairing peanut butter and chocolate.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 generous squares

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy, do not use homemade)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
6 to 7 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Pound Plus Bar, 54%)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the egg. Add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and stir vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, optional salt and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until center is just set and golden (a toothpick test should come out clean if you hit dough but because of the abundance of chocolate, hitting chocolate is more likely). Bars will firm up more in pan as they cool.
  3. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Store extra bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  4. Bars may be kept gluten-free by replacing the flour with your favorite gluten-free baking blend.

Related Recipes:

75+ Peanut Butter Recipes

75+ Chocolate Recipes

35 Favorite Peanut Butter Recipes (as of September 2012)

20 Peanut Butter Recipes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Recipes

I wrote a Peanut Butter Cookbook with 100+ recipes using Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten-free) – The BEST PB Cookies I’ve ever had. There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! Soft, chewy & oozing with dark chocolate. Crazy good!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – One of my favorite cookie recipes on my site. Chewy, filled with texture, and combines three of my favorite cookies in one – chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Very easy and fast, no mixer required

Thick and Soft Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free) – There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used. Rich, not too sweet, very chocolaty and intense

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars – One of my favorite desserts of 2011. Creamy, sweet, rich. A soft and sweet marshmallow-peanut butter top layer adorns a base of oats, sweetened condensed milk, and white chocolate. An all-time favorite

Special K Bars (no-bake) – The recipe is from my Grandma and one of my favorite bars of all time and ironically was the first picture Foodgawker ever accepted of mine. 280+ later, it’s fun to think back. The bars are chewy, peanut buttery and so easy

Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars – No need for campfires, make s’mores at home. These smores have three layers, including a cocoa-crispy cereal top layer that’s made with peanut butter

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Squares (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – Dense, sweet, rich, chewy, packed with texture and so fast and easy

Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan if plain peanuts are used, GF) – Ready in 5 minutes and you’ll never want storebought again. It’s life-changing

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter (vegan, GF) – Even though peanut butter doesn’t need doctoring up, adding a bag of chocolate chips doesn’t hurt. Ready in 5 minutes and so easy

What’s your favorite way to eat peanut butter and chocolate?

Recipes links welcome.

Thanks for the Barre Real Food Bars Giveaway entries

   

148 Responses to “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — March 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you for using choc chunks and not chips. I always like chunky ;)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 26th, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      I love using chunks. How they melt is so much more interesting than just using chips!

      Reply

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    Grace — March 27, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Hi there! These look delicious. I’ve read the recipe a few times and can’t seem to find the step where you add the peanut butter….do you melt the butterS (plural) together, or just the butter? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 27th, 2013 at 9:37 am

      “Add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and stir vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, optional salt and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate.” – I updated that sentence to make it more clear…but just stir the PB in after you’ve melted the butter and whisked it together with the eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Thanks for the catch, that it wasn’t as clear as it could have been, and I hope you enjoy these! LMK if you try them!

      Reply

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    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — March 27, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I do love a good peanut butter and chocolate cookie, these look fabulous! We would love to have you link them up with our Wednesday Link Party.

    Reply

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    angela @ another bite please — March 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

    i love that you went with dense and easy…i love how perfectly dense they really do look…and thanks for the tip with chopping chocolate on parchment paper…i feel like duh. after wiping up those little chocolate crumbs that always are sadly wasted now no more tears :-) and ps can’t wait for your cookbook.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 27th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      The parchment tip is going to save you so much time and hassle. And thanks for being excited about my book!

      Reply

  5. #
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    Gloria @ Simply Gloria — March 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Averie, I’m the same way with parchment paper…I’ll reuse it for things like the chocolate. Anything to reduce the clean up time is always the best! These look absolutely sooooo divine! I love how the texture looks…just need them in my mouth right now!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 27th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      My grandma and mom were such ‘savers’ that it wore off on me!

      Reply

  6. #
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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — March 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Sooooo, I’m buying your book as we speak because 1) I love you and am proud of you; and 2) I am obsessed with everything peanut buttery you make. The second either peanut butter or coconut goes into one of your recipes, I know it’s gonna be good. These bars are incredible!

    Reply

  7. #
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    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — March 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Those big chocolate chunks–oh my goodness! If I made these for myself, I have a feeling I’d eat the whole pan…

    Reply

  8. #
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    Laura Dembowski — March 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    It drives me nuts when I have fruit or caramel or something in a baked good and keep hitting it with a toothpick during testing. It’s like is it done is it not. As much as I bake, I still get butterflies when taking something out of the oven wondering if it’s done or not.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 27th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      If I wasn’t taking pics of it, I wouldn’t care if it was pretty to very underbaked…which is just the way I like things :) I push the envelope with my stuff now but I hate dried out and overcooked food!

      Reply

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    Nutmeg Nanny — March 28, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I adore cookie bars, especially with those gorgeous chocolate chunks!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal — March 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Wow, check out these bars. They look like fudge but I’m glad to hear they are cookie bars, I’m not a huge fan of fudge. I bet they would be lovely with almond butter too! Pinned!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Caroline — March 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    By the time I scrolled through to this point of the page…I’ve started drooling! :D They all look so good…I can’t decide where to start! Great photos too!

    Reply

  12. #
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    Ala — March 31, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Oh, Averie–I love having your blog to come back to after a long vacation! These look absolutely divine–PB&chocolate are my favorite combo when baked into something like this (and maybe even smothered in jelly or cookie butter)!

    Reply

  13. #
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    Katie — March 31, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Made these last night and they are SO.DARN.GOOD. I had a fleeting thought that I should have cooked longer (they were extra gooey!) and that there was maybe too much chocolate (WHAT?!), but I was just too impatient to let them cool long enough to firm up! Can you blame me? Turns out they are a fantastic breakfast bar, too! ;)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 31st, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      So glad to hear that you made these and are loving them! They do make a good breakfast or snack bar…choc & PB never fails there :) And sounds like you cooked them the perfect amount of time if you’re super pleased with them!

      Reply

  14. #
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    Esther — May 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Hi, Averie! I’m a first-time commenter on your blog, but a longtime admirer : ) I recently entered the food blogging world and when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out! I think I used a bit too much flour this time around, but I’m sure that next time, they’ll be perfect! Thanks for the great recipes and beautiful photos!

    http://foodieandfabulous.blogspot.com/2013/04/peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk-cookie.html#more

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 19th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Esther! Thanks for trying the recipe. I took a peek at your pics. I think baking by a couple minutes less; adding a nice HEAPING half-cup of PB (an extra dollop from what you used); reducing the flour slightly – any of those things or a combination of them, would combat any sort of dryness issues but they look pretty darn wonderful to me :)

      Reply

  15. #
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    Robyn — October 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Made these tonight with half brown butter, half melted butter, and two heaping handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Now, I’m nursing a stomachache from sneaking so many bites of the squares!

    Great recipe again, Averie! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 7th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      So glad you love them – and that you made them with half/half melted/browned butter. Sounds wonderful – almost good enough to get a tummy ache over :)

      Reply

  16. #
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    Mariza — October 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Do you think it would work if I double the recipe and put it in a 13×8 pan? Would I need to adjust the baking time at all? I’ve made these before and everyone loved them! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 21st, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Fine to do just as you want. You may need to extend baking time a few mins, maybe not – just keep an eye on them and bake until they’re done. Glad you love these!!

      Reply

  17. #
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    Gina — October 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I just made these with New York and Company White Chocolate Peanut Butter, and oh my god they are DIVINE! I left a batch of them for a friend whose brother just passed away. Perfect comfort food.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 26th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      I am so sorry for the loss but if there’s anything that can be comforting, PB + Chocolate have a way of being just that. I bet with the white choc PB they were awesome! Thanks for LMK you tried them!

      Reply

  18. #
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    Jenn in CT — December 31, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Pinned these awhile ago and found while searching for a dessert to bring to a New Year’s eve party tonight. They are amazing!! Love that it’s one bowl. Crazy delicious! My family ate half the first batch so I had to make another. Thanks for a great recipe.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 31st, 2013 at 10:51 am

      So happy that you’re pleased with them and that they were a hit with your family (and now you’re making a second batch for the party!). Have a great event and hope everyone likes them! Keep me posted!

      Reply

  19. #
    69
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — January 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    These look dense and delicious. Oh my, how I want one. Pinned.

    Reply

  20. #
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    Daphne — January 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    These look so good! Can I ask why did you say not to use homemade peanut butter? I use natural, no-stir peanut butter. Will that be okay?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 12th, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      In bars, natural/homemade pb could be okay; but in cookies, natural pb is too thin and runny and causes cookies to bake thin, flat, and spread. In bars, it’s a judgment call, but I made the recipe with Jif.

      Reply

  21. #
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    Aubrey — January 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I made these today and they did not turn out. I followed the directions except I used chocolate chips. I didn’t think that would make a difference. I baked for 22 minutes and my toothpick came out clean. I let them sit for 30 minutes. They looked really underdone but since the toothpick came out clean I let them go. When I took them out of the pan they just fell apart. I threw them out they were so raw. I decided to try one more time. Again they looked way underdone at 22 minutes. I added 5 minutes then 7 and then another 7. Finally I just took them out. They seemed to be done but the edges are now way overdone. Sorry. Didn’t work for me.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 20th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      I’m sorry that you tried these twice. They are a very, very soft, gooey, moist bar – and never really get ‘hard’ but they’re firm enough to slice as you can see from my photos. That said, sounds like you were having a hard time getting them to firm up without the edges being overdone. In the future, you could reduce the amt of butter slightly, add slightly more flour, change brands of PB (I swear by old school Jif or Skippy when baking), or even reduce the amt of PB slightly. It’s a really simple bar recipe that I have based numerous others on with very good success but sorry they didn’t turn out for you. Maybe my suggestions will help if there is a next time.

      Reply

  22. #
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    Annie — January 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Made these last night and they were perfect and so easy! Dangerously easy! My husband told me I should probably burn the recipe because he’s afraid we’ll make them too often. Luckily I can’t burn the internet. :-)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 21st, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      So glad you love them, Annie! And that they were perfect and dangerously easy. LOL to that comment your hubs made :)

      Reply

  23. #
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    April — February 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Do you know how many carbs are in these? If I missed it above, sorry. :)

    Reply

  24. #
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    Laura Elise — February 24, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Dear Averie, i tried your peanut butter chocolate bars this weekend and they turned out great. I was quite sceptical while they were in the oven, but as you said, they have to sit another 30min after baking and then they are superdupergood. I used less sugar ( I just skipped the white sugar) and added some almonds for the crunchyness. Greetings from Germany!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 24th, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      So glad you enjoyed them and yes, they really do take some time to just rest and if you do that, they’re so good! Glad the little tweaks you made worked for you!

      Reply

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    Melanie — February 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I made these a few nights ago and my husband and I both LOVED them! I will definitely be making them again. I may try slightly less sugar next time…but even if that doesn’t work I’d be happy to switch back to your recipe again :)

    Reply

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    Marah — July 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I made these the other night and they are amazing! Baked through perfectly, so soft, chewy, and moist! Instead of chocolate chunks, I put in milky way bites and m&ms– so good! Definitely needed to let it sit for the 30 minutes and though it was hard waiting it was definitely worth it! Thanks for this great recipe!

    Reply

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