Labor Day has come and gone in our part of the world, which means kids are back in school. So maybe you need some snacks for them?
Like these Peanut Butter Bars. They’re tastier than cookies – not to mention more dense and less dry. Plus, they’re easier to make because you don’t have to form individual cookies.
Best of all, kids love them! And we’ve noticed that adults can’t resist them either. That includes us. Though whether we’re kids or adults is still up for debate.
Recipe: Peanut Butter Bars
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the baker in our household, and this is her creation.
Prep time for this recipe is about 20 minutes. Baking time adds another 18 to 20 minutes. These bars are easier to cut if you let them cool completely, so allow time for that.
BTW, you really don’t want to overbake these – see Notes.
This recipe yields about 2 dozen bars (though it depends on how large you cut them).
Leftover bars keep well for a few days if they’re sealed in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature. Or you can freeze them (our usual choice), in which case they’ll keep for a month or so.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups peanut butter (preferably chunky; see Notes)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar (see Notes)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (see Notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and peanut butter together.
- Beat in the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat well to mix.
- Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, then mix thoroughly to combine.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until the top is firm and just starting to brown (about 18-20 minutes; see Notes).
- When done, remove the baking pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack.
- Cut into bars of about 2 inches square.
- These bars bake fairly quickly, so start checking after 18 (or even 17) minutes. Do not overbake. Overbaking results in dry, less tasty bars. Let them cool completely before cutting.
- When it’s time to cut the bars, we just lift the parchment paper out of the baking dish, and then cut the bars on the paper. Easy!
- Some recipes for peanut butter bars (and cookies) call for baking soda. But in our experience, baking powder makes for softer bars.
- Don’t have baking powder on hand? Baking soda will work in a pinch. Baking soda requires acidic ingredients to activate its leavening power – which both brown sugar and peanut butter provide.
- We usually soften the butter in the microwave. Twenty seconds or so should do it. Be careful, though – you don’t want the butter to melt.
- Or, if you can remember to do it, just remove the butter from the refrigerator a couple of hours before you want to make the bars.
- We recommend using high-quality peanut butter for this recipe. So go for a brand that contains just peanuts and salt, with no added sugar or flavorings.
- BTW, peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions for some people, so ask guests if they’re sensitive before serving these.
- Make sure to use pure vanilla extract, not imitation. We favor small-batch vanilla extract, which is pricy – but worth it.
- We generally use light-brown sugar in these bars, but dark brown will work too. The flavor of dark-brown sugar is just a bit more intense.
- These bars make a great snack. Or you can plate them up for dessert.
- Just don’t overbake them. Have we mentioned that?
“Love these bars!” I said. “The flavor is a-dough-rable.”
“Jeez,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “You knead some new jokes. These are stale.”
“I’m just trying to bake the world a butter place,” I said. “One joke at a time.”
“Sounds more like you’re having a mental bake down,” said Mrs K R.
“Well, if you’re going to succeed at baking, you need to take whisks,” I said.
“A rolling pin would also come in handy,” said Mrs K R.
Better stop before this gets really crumby.
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I would love to have this with a cup of coffee right this minute!
These are for sure a crowd pleaser! I could eat peanut butter spoonful :-))
Hi Anne, these make great breakfast bars. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Angie, I sometimes do eat peanut butter by the spoonful! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a delicious treat! The flavor profile sounds pretty similar to peanut butter cookies, which I love, though I actually like the crunch.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, these are basically a "bar" version of peanut butter cookies. Better, though, we think. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Tell Mrs Riffs I'll be making these at the earliest opportunity. Wish I had one right this minute! Keep baking the world a better place.
PS Make that a 'butter' place!
Hi Jean, bake on! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jean, yup butter is better. :-)
They look and sound delicious!
Hi Pam, they are! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, these are really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh my these sound good! Putting on my list of things to make.
Hi Lydia, you won't be sorry! :-) Thanks for the comment.
You know these are the kind of bars that can be dangerously delicious. You know how we are about keeping things neat and tidy in little squares. So you keeping cutting off a little more and then just a little more to straighten it out - of course. But then, it starts to look crumbly so you take off a little more. I think you know where I am going with this. Until you polish off the whole darn pan. Yep! dangerous.
Hi Bobbi, yup, we know all about that dangerous thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Peanut butter cookies are one of my favorites, and this looks like a much better version!
Wow - these really do look good and easy to make.- Perfect for the fall weather and a hearty snack. My husband will love these.
Hi Pat and Dahn, peanut butter cookies are one of our favorites, too. And yes, these are better. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Judee, your husband will thank you. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Super golose, davvero irresistibili!!!
Hi Speedy, totally irresistible. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I never get enough of your jokes with Mrs. K . My husband would love these and eat too many of your bars. Gerlinde
Hi Gerlinde, it's all too easy to eat too many of these! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Is it OK if I overbake them? Just kidding. I love peanut butter, so I'm all in for these.
Hi Jeff, LOL! :-) Thanks for the comment.
i was down the local village today at the providore's and saw a jar of PB with dark chocolate - in one jar! I almost bought it. I reckon it would go well in these :)
Hi Sherry, I bet that would work well in this recipe! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Nothing finer than a one-pan cookie recipe. And who can resist peanut butter? So classic, so nostalgic, and so welcomed no matter what time of the year.
Hi Carolyn, we certainly can't resist peanut butter anything! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum! I absolutely adore peanut butter. I probably have it every day, usually a heaping spoonful straight from the jar as a kind of snack. (It was one of the few foods I really missed when I was living in Rome.) Anyway, these look amazing and I've bookmarked the recipe for future reference!
Hi Frank, we love peanut butter too! And know all about that snacking thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
These bars sound delicious. I love peanut butter. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Dawn, it's a really terrific recipe! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your peanut butter bars are rocking! These would be perfect with a good cup of coffee (delicious). The glass of milk always a good pairing too.
Hi Velva, they're definitely good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Another my favourite food! We consume peanut butter alot and this recipe sounds really good. Thanks for the recipe. Greetings.
Hi B&S, peanut butter is so good, isn't it? Love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Most definitely a glass of milk is its best pair, love this recipe
Hi Raymund, hard to resist milk with these. :-) Thanks for the comment.
You're getting some good help lately--I don't do enough bars. Hmm, wonder if I could get Mr Art of Natural Living to create something...
Hi Inger, bars are really better than cookies! At least we think. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John these look and sound so tasty. Who doesn’t love peanut butter. These wouldn’t last long in my home. Hope you’re doing well.
Hi Vicki, we can't get enough peanut butter. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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