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!

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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.
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. Well I already knew that you are the queen of peanut butter, but you just keep wowing me. One of these bars and a glass of cold milk would make me a very happy girl.

  2. I am so excited about your cookbook! And I want an entire batch of these in my belly immediately.

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

  4. 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!

    • “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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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.

    • 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!

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

  12. 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!

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  15. 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!

  16. 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)!

  17. 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! ;)

    • 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!

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  24. 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

    • 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 :)

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