Salted Peanut Chews

Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and a whole lot of chewy-and-gooey.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Salted Peanut Chews - Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and lots of chewy-and-gooey!! So easy and a crowd favorite!! Mmm!

I made these bars one night when I was on a pantry cleanout mission to reduce my half used boxes and bags of ingredients. Baking for a living produces some serious odd-and-ends.

It was a great decision to shop in my own pantry because we loved the bars. They remind me a lot of the Peanut Chewy Payday Bars I made a couple years ago.

Salted Peanut Chews - Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and lots of chewy-and-gooey!! So easy and a crowd favorite!! Mmm!

It’s an easy, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that’s faster than you’d imagine to whip together. I love it when minimal effort produces big-time oohs and ahhs.

There’s a buttery, flaky, peanut butter shortbread base, topped with marshmallows, followed by a melted peanut butter chip mixture with Rice Krispies and salted peanuts stirred in.

Salted Peanut Chews - Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and lots of chewy-and-gooey!! So easy and a crowd favorite!! Mmm!

I used large marshmallows because that’s what I had on hand. Use minis if that’s what you have. I used Trader Joe’s honey roasted peanuts, but use your favorite.

Biting down through all the layers is such a taste and texture treat. And quite a mouthful. These babies turned out pretty thick, courtesy of the large marshmallows.

Salted Peanut Chews - Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and lots of chewy-and-gooey!! So easy and a crowd favorite!! Mmm!

My daughter loves marshmallows and said she’d like to take a nap on those big puffy ‘mallows.

There’s tons of peanut flavor from the peanut butter in the crust, the melted peanut butter chips, and the peanuts. Combined with texture from the cereal, I was in salty-and-sweet cereal bar heaven.

Salted Peanut Chews - Salty-and-sweet with a little bit of crunchy and lots of chewy-and-gooey!! So easy and a crowd favorite!! Mmm!

Print Recipe

Salted Peanut Chews

This is an easy, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that’s fast to whip together. There’s a buttery, flaky, peanut butter shortbread base, topped with marshmallows, followed by a melted peanut butter chip mixture with Rice Krispies and salted peanuts stirred in. I used large marshmallows, use minis if that’s what you have. I used honey roasted peanuts, use your favorite. There's tons of peanut flavor from the peanut butter in the crust, the melted peanut butter chips, and the peanuts. Combined with texture from the cereal, you'll be in salty-and-sweet cereal bar heaven.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 2 hours, for cooling and setting up

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Middle
about 2 heaping cups marshmallows (most of one 10-ounce bag; I used large marshmallows, use mini if you prefer bars not as thick)

Topping
one 10-ounce bag peanut butter chips
1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup (not 'lite')
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies or similar crispy rice cereal
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts or salted honey roasted peanuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Crust - In a large bowl, add the flour, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present.
  3. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, hard-packing it with your fingertips in an even, smooth, flat layer to form a crust. It's sticky and a bit challenging to work with but just take your time. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, or just until set. Don't overbake since pan is going back in to melt marshmallows, or crust will be crumbly.
  4. Middle - Remove pan from oven and evenly sprinkle with marshmallows. Return pan to oven for about 3 to 4 minutes (but start watching closely after 2 minutes) or until mallows are puffed; don't brown them and watch them very closely so they don't burn. Mini marshmallows will puff quicker and turn brown faster than large ones. Remove pan from oven; set aside.
  5. Topping - In a large microwave-safe bowl (same one used for crust is okay, just wipe with a paper towel), add the peanut butter chips, corn syrup, butter, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes total but stop to check and stir every 30 seconds and heat in short burst until mixture can be stirred smooth.
  6. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  7. Add the cereal, peanuts, and stir to combine.
  8. Turn mixture out on top of marshmallows, smoothing the top with a spatula and lightly smooshing it down so the layers meld together.
  9. Cover pan with a sheet of foil and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until set, before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Adapted from Peanut Chewy Payday Bars

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64 comments

  1. everything about these looks PERFECT!

  2. These look incredible! They remind me of those salted nut rolls only 10x better because of the rice krispies and peanut butter! Pinned!

  3. You seriously make magic in the kitchen! These Salted Peanut Chews look amazing. I loveee anything peanut flavoured so these are right up my alley! Great recipe.

    http://www.skinnybelle.com/

  4. You make the best bar cookies! These look incredible, I love all the peanut butter. That sweet and salty combo is the best!

  5. I want to be in salty & sweet cereal heaven! Oh my, these look so dang good!

  6. I would eat the crap out that top layer! The rest looks good too, but rice krispies with peanut butter has my name ALL over it!

  7. These look AWESOME! What an amazing way to use up your pantry leftovers. That’s what I love about baking, making something wonderful, out of basically nothing!

  8. Would these hold together without marshmallows? I’ve a vegetarian and most marshmallows have gelatin, but I could probably find some vegan marshmallows somewhere. Then again, those might behave differently, too.

    • Would these hold together without marshmallows? = Unlikely. The top and bottom wouldn’t really have much to glue them together. You’d be fine with vegan ‘mallows I think, but you do need some sort of marshmallow.

  9. Wow! They are everything I could want from a bar: peanutbutter, rice krispies, and marshmallows. Sweet and salty at the same time! This recipe gets high on my to bake list.

  10. I want to marry these bars. They are heaven. The layers are incredible!
    And Trader Joe’s has the best peanut selection. I love that store way more than I should!

  11. I love fluffernutter sandwiches and this is all the flavors of that with the addition of salt…sounds so good can’t wait to try.

  12. The top layer looks especially good (when I didn’t have an oven that topping could have worked on its own for me). But layers are so much more interesting and some PB in the shortbread crust sounds amazing. I would have a hard time choosing between this recipe and your first version!!

  13. These bars look so good! I wish I had a few right now! Way to make something delicious from cleaning out your pantry! Pinned of course!

  14. I need some of these right now! I’ll take a batch to go please. :-)

  15. I love payday bars, Averie! These definitely remind me of them. I love all of the peanut goodness and how chewy they are!

  16. Droooooooling. These look so good! I love the sweet and salty combo.

  17. I’m dying over how good these look! Payday bars are the best. Pinned!

  18. I love everything about these! The crust, the filling, the topping, the TJs peanuts. THE BEST!!

  19. THE. BEST. I am pretty sure I could eat my weight in these. I love PB sweets that DON’T contain chocolate!

    • PB sweets that DON’T contain chocolate! <--- it can be kind of rare! In lots of my recipes though in Peanut Butter Comfort, my first cookbook, there are chocolate-free recipes. And in the Related Recipes links within this post, there are some too. I find that cereal bars that are made with PB and are nice and chewy, I almost prefer no chocolate! I mean, it depends, but I totally know what you mean!

  20. I wish my pantry clean up mission would look that good and taste so delicious! Love everything about these bars, crunchy, sweet, salty, creamy, all the good things in one place at the same time.

  21. Eeeeee these bars have me giddy!! Those salty peanuts on top and those marshmallows are calling my name! Totally making these ASAP!

  22. ooooh I LOVE this! such a creative spin on a bunch of different things! And sweet and salty-my love!

  23. I’m pretty sure if I were to clean out my pantry that I’d get nothing as good as this :) These look incredible and I love peanuts!!

  24. Hooray for cleaning out the pantry. Now I need to clean out mine so I can make these bars! They look SO good, Averie!

  25. um these look amazing!
    — Also anytime I click in the box to type my comment I get a pop up ad, just wanted you to know that.

  26. Totally making these! These remind me of back in the day when my best friend and I were in dance class together and her dad would always bring us paydays and gatorade ;)

  27. Ah I am in love with these! I can seriously eat so many at one time it’s not even funny.

  28. I haven’t made it beyond the peanut butter shortbread crust. Too busy fantasizing about that melting in my mouth … this bar looks GOOD!

  29. Words cannot describe how badly I am craving these salted peanut chew bars right now – they look SO delicious Averie. Pinned and saved to recreate!

  30. Every, single one of your posts makes me drool!

  31. I remember eating something like this as a child and it was delicious! Need to make this recipe this weekend!

  32. LOVE these Averie!! Hope you have a great weekend!

  33. I want these in my life NOW! I would love the texture combination!

  34. I love pantry clean-out recipes! And I totally would have instinctively used mini marshmallows but seeing the large ones – that was definitely the way to go. Love that topping the BEST! Pinned!

    • I had bough large marshmallows around the 4th of July thinking I was going to make indoor smores. Well, that never happened and those things needed to go :)

      Thanks for pinning Trish!

  35. I love peanuts in desserts and love pay days…which one do you like better? This recipe or the other pay day recipe?

    • I’d probably say this one because the topping on this one is just so good b/c it’s right up my alley of what I tend to love. But you really can’t go wrong with either!

  36. I love peanuts in any combination, and this that we present to you is very good, my mouth is drooling. I can not taste because they are on a diet, but that all watch different recipes for sweets, I guess I like to torture myself. :)

  37. Hi Averie, what do you think could be subbed for the rice krispies?

    • It would depend on what/why you need to sub them. If it’s a taste/texture issue, not sure what you don’t care for in them, so not sure what to suggest in place of that wouldn’t be equally as aversive.

      If it’s an allergen issue, I would say find something that’s similar that will work.

  38. I totally screwed these up tonight! I know it must have been something I did, because your recipes are always spot on. The crust turned into pure crumbs – more like dust instead of crust! I cooked it per the directions, but I’m thinking the mini-marshmallows I used took a bit longer than expected to plump up. I suspect the PB chips seized while being heated as well…unfortunately, while the top and middle taste great, the bars just didn’t hold up so I tossed them. Will try, try again!

    • Eeek so sorry that it was one thing after the other for a seemingly ‘simple’ recipe. With the crust, if you felt it needed to have less baking time, that’s possible given oven variance. Now this crust was a more crumbly crust for me too. But it held together for me. And then the PB chips seizing, sounds like less time for those too. Thanks for trying the recipe and sorry it gave you trouble!

  39. My grandmother used to make these all the time.  She used a yellow cake boxed mix as the base mixed with an egg and a stick of butter, and used peanut butter instead of peanut butter chips when she made the topping.  This recipe brings back a lot of memories–I’m glad I ran into this recipe!

  40. I made these tonight, and they’re AWESOME! The crunchy cereal is the best part!
    Oh, I spread marshmallow fluff instead of melting marshmallows, and it worked just fine for me :)

    • You just gave birth like last week. What are you doing cooking??! You are AMAZING!! The whole first 6-9 months I don’t think I ever ‘cooked’ more than like salad? So impressed and your little bundle of joy is precious. And those coconut water slushies have been pinned!

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