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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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%)


  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.
Only Eats

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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

166 comments on “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars”

  1. Pingback: Peanut Butter Recipes

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  3. Methinks you and I would be fighting over the gooey center squares;)

  4. These look wonderful Averie! I love peanut butter cookies (in cookie or bar form!) any day of the week – this is the same exact recipe as my own soft & thick peanut butter cookies. But the bars have 1/4 cup more brown sugar and I cream the butter since melted butter doesn’t work well for me in cookie recipes, but it’s smart to melt it for bars. Making them into bars is something I haven’t done yet! You beat me to it. I agree, cookie bars are much easier to handle than cookies sometime.

    • It’s actually the same recipe I used in these. I reduced the flour by 1/4 cup to make up for the 1/2 c addition of PB, other than that, ratios are the same. I have to say I love a good bar recipe (or those muffin tin cookies) because you can use melted butter, dont have to wait for the dough to chill, it’s so much faster to slap it all in the pan…everything you and I both deal with every time we make cookies doesn’t have to happen with bars.

      Oh and my standard blondie recipe is always 1 egg, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour for an 8×8 pan. I always use that formula in my head when I start playing with things, i.e. adding 1/2 c PB would mean I’d need about 1/4 c more flour, etc.

  5. All of these look delicious… and there are only a few more days for me without peanut butter! Yum!! :)

  6. Think you left out the chocolate in the recipe lol

  7. Whoa those are crazy dense and filled with so much peanut buttery awesomeness!!

  8. These bars look great girl! So excited for your book :)

  9. Can we talk about how absolutely perfect these bars look?! And I love that they come together in one bowl!

  10. My favourite way to eat peanut butter and chocolate is on a spoon. ;)

  11. The fact that these go from cupboard to mouth in 30 minutes makes them dangerous!! But oh so worth it for that thick, chunky cookie bar! You know how much we love your PB + chocolate recipes around my house – will have to try this one next for sure!

  12. Can’t wait to try these! Do you think I’d be able to substitute whole wheat flour instead? Or would that mess them up?

    • I think you’d be fine with WW. Maybe use slightly less, just b/c WW is typically more ‘absorbent’ and your dough could get a little on the dry side. But use your judgment when looking at the mixing bowl. LMK!

  13. I love these bars! The chocolate chunks + the peanut Butter are so my thing!! I just added chocolate chunks to the cookies i posted today and am now hooked!!

  14. OH WOW! So thick and chocolaty … and peanut buttery!! Love it! I envy those that got to stuff their faces with these bars!

  15. The queen of PB strikes again! All I know is that I am very thankful that I’m not allergic!

  16. I can’t wait to try these. I love Trader Joe’s also. That’s great advice about using parchment under the chocolate when chopping. I have had chocolate cling to the chopping board in the past.

    Congrats on your book. It’s great for us peanut butter lovers and I think it would make a great gift.

    • Thanks for the congrats about my book and yes, for any PB lover it will be a book I’m sure they’d enjoy. The parchment is going to really save you some time (and cleanup) b/c those particles just seem to grind in and embed into my cutting board but problem solved with the parchment!

  17. Yet another reason I need to buy the TJ’s 54% dark chocolate bar! I absolutely love one-bowl desserts, and especially those that are prepped and baked in less than 30 minutes. This is a winning recipe, for sure!

  18. Congrats on the book, that’s awesome! And these look just amazing!

  19. PB and chocolate NEVER gets old or boring and a quick bar recipe is always a winner! As always, these look fabulous…big chunks of chocolate and a little gooey-ness. I love that tip about chopping chocolate on parchment paper–I always hate doing it on a cutting board too and I’m all for less messiness and convenience!

  20. Our patience is on the same level. ;) Sometimes hauling out the stand mixer, ridiculously-long refrigeration times, and a sinkful of bowls is…ok — sometimes it’s not. I’m always on the look out for instant-gratification desserts, these bare look marvelous!

  21. Averie, the texture of your baked goods is always spot on. Usually I would have to taste something to say that, but every time you can just seeee how the centers are perfectly just set, but still soft, and the tops are perfectly cooked. Gahhhh, I just want to sink my teeth into like 10 of those right now!

  22. Any easy recipe that calls for peanut butter and chocolate sounds amazing. I go through moods where I don’t feel like spending tons of time on baking. Or sometimes my schedule just won’t allow it. But lack of time should never mean lack of flavor. These look absolutely delicious. And your pictures are beautiful!

    • Thanks for the sweet comment, Elaine! And I totally agree….lack of time should never mean lack of flavor. As a busy working mom (right along with millions of others), making great food in a hurry is a must!

  23. Hey, I was given you a Blogaward.

  24. YUM! Those look delicious. It’s so funny that we both made peanut butter bar cookies today!

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