Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Please welcome guest author, my good friend and neighbor, master baker, and fellow food blogger Evie Lieb, who shares a recipe for a favorite treat—no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars—with easy substitutions to make them kosher for Passover! ~Elise
These chocolate peanut butter bars are a classic treat, and so easy to make—no baking required! They hold a popular place on my holiday cookie platter, and with just a couple of substitutions, they can be easily made kosher for Passover too.
Graham cracker crumbs are mixed in with the peanut butter to give the base structure and crunch. For a Passover substitution for the graham crackers, we use either ground up toasted matzo, or ground Passover crispy cereal. Confectioner’s sugar and a little honey provide the sweetness in the base. When observing Passover we make our own confectioner’s sugar by grinding granulated sugar with potato starch.
This recipe makes a delicious confection (a cookie? candy bar?) whether preparing them the classic way, or Passover-friendly. In any case these goodies are a great choice for dessert after a meal and they make a perfect snack anytime. My husband has given the matzo version the ultimate compliment: they do not taste like a Passover dessert!
These bars freeze well if you want to make ahead.
Peanut butter layer:
- 1 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs (use toasted matzo crumbs* or ground Passover crispy cereal if following the Passover dietary rules)
- 1 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar (use Passover-friendly confectioner's sugar** if following Passover dietary rules)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of crunchy, natural peanut butter (no added preservatives or corn syrup)
- 8 Tbsp (4-ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 9-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) (use Kosher chocolate chips if making for Passover)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- A 9x9-inch square baking pan with straight sides (can also use an 8x10 or 8x11 baking pan)
- Food processor
- Parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil
* Take 4 or 5 sheets of matzo, roughly break into chunks, toast in a hot dry skillet on high heat until the crumbs begin to brown and you can smell the matzo toasting. Remove from heat, let cool for a minute, place in a food processor or mini-chopper, and pulse until ground to the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
**2 cups of granulated sugar in a food processor or blender, and 2 Tbsp of potato starch. Process until very fine. Use 1 1/4 cups for this recipe. You'll have some leftover which can be used for other recipes for Passover.
1 Line the baking pan with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil. Line the pan in a way so that you have an overhang on at least 2 opposite sides of the pan to make it easy to lift up the bars once they have set.
2 In the bowl of a food processor place the crumbs and the powdered sugar. Pulse until well mixed. Add the peanut butter, melted butter, and honey. Process until well blended. The mixture should hold together, almost like a dough. If it's too dry, add a little more melted butter. If it's too wet, after you press it into the bottom of the pan in the next step, you can chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up a bit.
3 Press the peanut butter mixture into the bottom of your lined pan in an even layer. You can use the flat bottom of a measuring cup, small saucepan, or smaller baking pan to press on the mixture to help make the surface more even.
4 Place a metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (not boiling, but gently simmering). Place the chocolate chips and butter into the bowl. Melt the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
5 Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the peanut butter layer in the pan. (An offset spatula is a good tool for this.) Refrigerate for at least an hour.
6 Lift the contents from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 36 bars, 1-inch by 2 1/4 inches.