Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars

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It’s no secret I love peanut butter.

Between Peanut Butter Comfort and the peanut butter recipes on my blog, I’ve got hundreds.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

So when there’s a layer of creamy peanut butter fudge sandwiched between peanut butter cookie dough, I’m in my peanut butter glory.

If you like big, bold, unabashed peanut butter flavor with rich, buttery undertones, you’re going to love these.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

Last week I made Fudgy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and had a half can of sweetened condensed milk left. It would have been a shame to throw out 65 cents worth of sweet milk when I could take a pound of butter and peanut butter and make something new. Makes perfect sense. 

The bars are a peanut butter twist on last week’s bars and I tweaked my trusty no-mixer, easy blondie base by adding peanut butter like I did here as well as peanut butter chips. Some of the mixture forms the crust and the rest is crumbled on top.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

The rich, creamy peanut butter filling is made with melted peanut butter chips and a half can of sweetened condensed milk. Make Fudgy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars7-Minute Microwave CaramelsPeanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars, or Milky Way Chocolate Cookie Crumble Bars with the other half can.

The base layer is extremely soft and moist with while the top layer has more texture. There’s a slight salty-and-sweet vibe too, which I love.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

The cookie dough is saltier while the peanut butter fudge layer is sweeter, and it’s a great contrast to bite into, both in terms of texture and flavor.

The bars are hearty, dense, rich, and if you’re having peanut butter cravings, they’ll be squelched in no time.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars - A creamy PB layer sandwiched between PB cookie dough! Peanut butter lovers will go nuts over these!!

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

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars

If you like big, bold, unabashed peanut butter flavor with rich, buttery undertones, you’re going to love these. There’s a layer of creamy peanut butter fudge sandwiched between peanut butter cookie bars. The base layer is extremely soft and moist with while the top layer has more texture. There’s a slight salty-and-sweet vibe, too. The cookie dough is saltier while the peanut butter fudge layer is sweeter, and it’s a great contrast to bite into, both in terms of texture and flavor. The bars are hearty, dense, rich, and if you’re having peanut butter cravings, they’ll be squelched in no time.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • heaping 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • one 10-ounce bag peanut butter chips, divided (3/4 cup stirred in and 1 cup melted)
  • half of one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (just eyeball it)

Instructions

  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 on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  5. Add 3/4 cup peanut butter chips and stir to combine, don’t overmix or they’ll start to melt.
  6. Turn between two-thirds and three-quarters of the dough out into prepared pan, smoothing it with a spatula to form a crust; reserve remainder and set aside.
  7. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the remaining 1 cup peanut butter chips, pour sweetened condensed milk over the top, and heat on high power until the chips melt and mixture can be stirred smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes total, but stop to check and stir every 30 seconds so mixture doesn’t scorch.
  8. Evenly pour peanut butter mixture over crust, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Work somewhat quickly because mixture begins to set up after a couple minutes.
  9. Evenly crumble the reserved peanut butter dough over the top. I find it easiest to make heaping 1-tablespoon-sized ‘blobs’, and after all the blobs are in the pan, smoosh and smooth them together with a spatula. The entire surface will barely be covered and there will be some gaps.
  10. Bake for about 27 to 29 minutes, or until top is just set; it should be very pale in color for soft bars and the darker it gets, the more crumbly the bars become. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Inspired by Fudgy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 172mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 2gSugar: 49gProtein: 11g

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peanutbuttercomfort-2

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Comments

  1. Averie,
    Thank you ! That helps a lot! Now I know what exactly to do! Im like you, want gooey texture! I will do the same for brownies too!
    Love love love your recipes! I made this PB bar yesterday….it was mind-blowing good! for PB lover like me this is too good to be true! =)
    Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for kind, thoughtful, and detailed response.
    I appreciate your advice. I will do exactly what you told me. 
    NO mix mix mix, fold and stop when it is incorporated!!=)

    If you know, why some blondies and bar recipes call for no baking powder or soda, some with only baking powder, some with only baking soda, and some with BOTH?? I tried different versions but can’t seem to find exactly what the differences are….
    I feel like putting BP will make it more like cake/fluffy? Since I want it gooey, I tend to avoid putting BP…but I do want to follow the recipes…
    if you know about this issue, I would appreciate your thoughts!
    Thank you

    1. Both BS and BP are leaveners and will create more lift and airy-ness. I prefer in blondies to have a dense, gooey texture which is why I omit both. BP especially will make them more cake-like than BS but both will do it. If you want dense and gooey, a more fudge-like texture rather than airy, omit the BP/BS in your blondies. I also omit in brownies. The only things I use BS for are cookies and usually a combo of BS/BP in cakes/muffins.

  3. Hello! I love your recipes. I have made many of your desserts!
    I have a question. In many recipes (including others too), for blondies, it often saids “combine/mix the flour, salt, and/or baking power, soda” “do not over mix, until just combined”. So I was changing from hand-mixer to spatula, to “fold” the mixture rather than to “mix”, gently…..and would stop as soon as flour-ness had disappeared. But I have inconsistent bake as a result…sometime perfect, sometime too dense. on Youtube, some people continue to mix with hand-mixer, and mix mix mix rather than gently folding the flours in…..
    What do  you use to combine the flour mixture? Why is it important not to over mix? What is exactly “over mix”? I might be “under-mixing”….. If you can give me some advice, I really appreciate it.
    Thank you

    1. Overmixing over-develops the gluten proteins (in the flour) and causes the dessert to turn out tough.

      You want gluten development in bread (kneading, i.e. overmixing, encourages gluten protein formation) for the chewy factor. But you don’t want that in cake, blondies, brownies, etc. which is why you don’t overmix. However you want to mix thoroughly enough it’s mixed, and the job is done, but once you know it’s satisfactorily mixed, stop.

      some people continue to mix with hand-mixer, and mix mix mix <--- Don't to that. Once it's mixed in, stop. You can fold, stir, or mix, but just don't overdo it whatever method you're using.

  4. l’ll be making these bars for a wedding.  Was wondering if I could make 3 or 4 days in advance and if so how would I store them.  Thanks

    1. Being that they’re for a wedding, I’d give it a dry run and make some now, store at room temp in airtight containers, and see how they taste in 3-4 days and then you can go from there based on the results if you think you can get away with 3-4 day advance baking for such a special event.

  5. Ah thanks for the suggestion :D I will try using white chocolate (other white chocolate and PB combos I’ve tried in the past have been delicious). I shall be trying this out tonight !

  6. Hi, I live in the UK where they don’t sell peanut butter chips, is there any way of making this recipe either by substituting the chips with something else, or leaving them out ? This recipe looks soo good so I really want to try it, I just wish I could get hold of the peanut butter chips :( 

    1. You could use choc chips, butterscotch chips, or white choc chips. Of course the flavor will change but if you’re in love with the looks of the bars, then I say go for it!

  7. Hello Averie, my comment has nothing to do with the post (except the topic of peanut butter) but I was hoping you could answer my question. I had this idea of melting white chocolate, peanut butter and butter, stirring in pumpkin puree and an egg, then adding flour to make a sort of white chocolate peanut butter pumpkin blondie. Does that sound like it would work and taste good?? Or is it crazy? Please reply, thanks :)

    1. I think it sounds great and would totally work! I’ve combined pumpkin and PB many times – those are the 2 topics of each of the cookbooks I wrote and have intermingled them before :)

      It sounds like it could be on a similar track to https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/10/pumpkin-snickerdoodle-blondies.html or https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/09/fudgy-pumpkin-bars-with-vanilla-bean-browned-butter-glaze.html but with white choc and PB, too!

  8. Made these earlier this past week and like all of your recipes, they were absolutely wonderful. I did double the recipe and baked them in a 13 x 9-inch pan because I didn’t want that 1/2 can of condensed milk in my fridge. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I cannot wait to try these!! I am completely obsessed with peanut butter!! If I had to choose one thing to live off of the rest of my life it would be peanut butter!!

  10. Hi Averie! Made these scrumptious bars yesterday and they are amazing. Super easy and the results are yummy. I might add a bit more salt next time (I opted for the pinch in this round), bc I love the salty/sweet combo and PB just begs for it…thanks for another great recipe!

    1. So glad you made and enjoyed them! And yes, some brands of PB are more salty than others, and some people love the salty/sweet combo more than others, so just tweak as necessary! Thanks for trying the recipe!

    1. How so, I mean what stage are you at…sounds like you’re done if they’re delicious but maybe you under-baked, under-floured, over-sweetened cond milked, used a greasier form of PB than I did..lots of variables. Sounds like you were probably *almost there* and a slight tweak here or there and they’d set up better.

  11. Just got a chance to bake these this afternoon after seeing the recipe on September 9th. It’s been about 105 here in CA for over a week and just too darn hot to turn the oven on….but today, it’s only 85 degrees! So why not give them a try?

    Good news bad news…Good news, DELICIOUS! Bad news…..hubby loves them too! hahaha Guess I’ll have to share!

    These were easy to make and I just love bar recipes that are baked in an 8×8 pan…enough for two but not as overwhelming as those 13×9 desserts!

    Thanks Averie!

    1. Thanks for trying these and glad they came out great. I live in San Diego and I was being pummeled for the past 10 days with 92F temps and I have no a/c and bake for a living. Yeah. Not good.

      Glad that both you and your hubby love these, well, that means sharing though :)

      And yes to 8×8 pans! Almost all my bars are 8×8 pans b/c I don’t have an army to feed either! https://www.averiecooks.com/category/dessert/bars

      1. There are SO many of those beautiful bar recipes I want to make! If I make the Lemon Lemonies, they’ll be mine, all mine! Hubby is not fond of lemons!

        Next on my list are the Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Cinnamon Dip…meal, side dish or dessert? hahaha

        I can’t imagine no A/C and baking for a living! A true testament to how much you love what you do.

        We just moved to CA from MA and it’s a definite change; but in a good way!

      2. meal, side dish or dessert? = all three!!

        Welcome to CA. I moved here 11 years ago and will never look back (grew up in MN and then Chicago) but yeah, the no a/c thing. It’s very common here because it ‘never gets that hot’ except for those 2w a year you’re dying in!

  12. Oh mylanta, do these ever look GOOD! All of that peanut butter goodness! I can only imagine how wonderful these tasted!! ;)

  13. Hi Averie! I am drooling over this recipe. Can I use peanut butter instead of PB chips for the fudge layer. If yes, how much?

    1. Hmmm, not sure because it’s much runnier than chips will be (they set up more firm than PB). I haven’t tried but I would go with between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup and see how it goes. Again, just a hunch and not sure if it will work for sure.

      1. Hi Averie – Thanks for the quick reply. So I tried the crust/base of this recipe and the chocolate fudge part from you chocolate chip oatmeal bars. It was delish with the whole taste combo of peanut butter and chocolate, and surprisingly not to sweet. I got in to work this morning, and the cookie bars didnt stay till noon.

      2. Sounds like they came out great for you and you have lucky coworkers! Sounds like there weren’t any leftovers which is a good sign :)

  14. My peanut butter loving family will seriously LOVE these cookie bars! That filling, oh my word! PINNED :)

    1. I need your crew to help me eat down everything I’ve been making lately. Baking/holiday season 2014 is full underway over here already :)

  15. My mouth just started watering. I need two of these and a cold glass of milk…STAT. These look amazing Averie! Pinned!

  16. Between the sweet fudge and the salty cookie dough, my taste buds are about to break into a song! These bars sound FABULOUS!!
    I’m thinking, Peanut Butter Comfort Part Deux!! :-D

    1. I’m thinking, Peanut Butter Comfort Part Deux!! <--- LOL because I'm not. Cookbooks, the most.epic.tasks.ever.

  17. The best thing about peanut butter is that you can have some with every meal and never get tired of it. These look rockin’.
    Pinned!
    Happy Wednesday!

    1. Thanks for pinning & I totally agree with your sentiment! Even after writing a cookbook solely devoted to PB, I am not sick of it!

  18. Those layers look amazing Averie! I love that there is sweetened condensed milk in the center – I can only imagine the gooey factor from that! Pinned :)

  19. These look so delicious! Between the description and photo I feel like I can taste it already! Can’t wait to try this one!

  20. Holy frickin crap girl!! These are absolutely insane! I seriously can’t get enough of all of it– the gooey middle, the buttery cookie top, and the INSANE photography! SO gorgeous!!

    1. You’re too kind! I wore a pink shirt the day I shot these and I feel like they have a toasty warm glow to them :) Whoops. But they tasted great!

  21. This is truly the bar for peanut butter lovers like me. No chocolate, just pure peanut butter flavor! Love it and will be trying it really soon:)

  22. I love your thought process about the half can of sweetened condensed milk–the creativity comes out and nothing is wasted. Sounds like a win-win to me!! As for these incredible bars, might as well go big when it comes to PB. I love layered bars and I bet that fudgy middle becomes a little caramel-y when it bakes.

    1. I grew up so old-school where you did not waste food, period. You found a use for everything! And you re-use your plastic butter containers as tupperware and things like that :) And you are so right about the middle becoming a little caramely. Kind of like a peanut butter dulce de leche of sorts. Loved it!

  23. goodness! They look like monster pb cookie bars and I love monster bars! I mean that middle part is just begging me to munch on in. They look delicious and the perfect afternoon snack

  24. Looks amazing. I only have all natural creamy pb on hand at the moment. Would I need to make any adjustments? Didn’t catch if that was something to consider in the recipe/notes.

    1. I haven’t tried with natural so I can’t say for sure. I think in this recipe, you’d be okay but I haven’t trialed it.

  25. These look like the perfect bar next time a peanut butter craving hits! You make the most amazing bar cookies!

  26. As a peanut butter lover, I approve of these bars 100%! I also approve of all of the other bars you have listed. I’m in sweets heaven right now. Great recipe, Averie!

  27. Delicious! These look amazing! The combination of sweet and salty is one of my favourites! Is there a substitute for the peanut butter chips? – you can’t get them in Scotland.

    1. I would say use white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips, although the flavors aren’t the exact same, I’d go with those.

  28. THIS is why it takes me a year to try, say, your pink lemonade bar recipe. Too many tasty distractions. Throw in a few recipes with brussels sprouts and maybe I can catch up.

  29. You’re the perfect person to ask. Maybe this is in your book, but is there a best type of peanut butter to bake with (beyond creamy or chunky)? I had an oily disaster recently and can only guess it was my peanut butter. XOGREG

    1. Well the honest answer is that the cheaper the PB, the better it bakes. That super cheap storebrand stuff that you can get like a half gallon for 2.99, that’s PERFECT :) And actually because I go through so much of it, I use Ralph’s storebrand honey roasted as my go-to and if I want to splurge, I’ll use Jif. But just cheap, nothing natural, nothing fancy, old-school and highly processed is the best for baking.

  30. Oooh, it’s like you made a peanut butter caramel! I love. Too funny how we’re on the same wavelength these days. #greatminds (I made actual peanut butter cookie sandwiches with PB filling last week, but I’m not posting for awhile. :) ) LOVE these, pinned of course!

    1. Thanks for pinning and when it comes to PB, lately I’ve been on your wavelength, and for pumpkin on Sally’s. It’s been overlap city for me. Thankfully there’s so many PB and pumpkin recipes out there, hopefully no one can keep anything straight that there’s lots of overlapping :)

  31. Wow, this is one of the best ideas ever. I’m a PB junkie as well – it’s my desert island food. Could eat it all day forever and ever. These look *incredible*. Thanks for sharing!

  32. These sound like the cookie butter sold at Trader Joe’s! If they’re similar, these would be GONE in an hour in my home, haha. Would love to make these soon.

  33. These bars look heavenly, Averie! And your pictures are flawless, as always! I love the combination of peanut butter and cookies, sounds incredible!

  34. These sound incredible- buttery peanut butter=fabulous!!! I can imagine the rich creamy taste of these right now ;-) totally delicious pinned!

  35. I’m a fan of anything with peanut butter, so of course this looks awesome to me!

  36. Oh my heavens, Averie. You are not kidding around!
    So it’s a relief that I’m not the only one who gets annoyed when there’s half a can of condensed milk left over in the fridge. Makes total sense to throw a pound of butter after it and make something new!
    Especially if it’s this. I will not be able to stop dreaming about these until I make them!