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!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars on Simply Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 3 dozen bars.

These bars freeze well if you want to make ahead.

Ingredients

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

Chocolate topping:

  • 9-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) (use Kosher chocolate chips if making for Passover)
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Equipment needed:

  • 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.

 

Method

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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6 Lift the contents from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 36 bars, 1-inch by 2 1/4 inches.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars on Simply Recipes

27 Comments

  1. Carol

    This recipe is going to make me a VERY popular person at work. What is it anyway about the delectability of the chocolate and peanut butter combo?
    Such different flavors, but they sure to harmonize.

  2. Kalyn

    When I taught school something very similar to this was the specialty of the school kitchen staff, and I never could resist them!

  3. Beth

    My mother makes a version of these, and I crave them regularly. Her recipe, though, involves corn flakes and Karo syrup (a sure tip-off she’s a southerner), as well as simmering the concoction on the stove. She just sprinkles the chocolate chips on the warm peanut-butter base and after they’re melted (in about 3 minutes), spreads it smooth with a butter knife. Anyway, I’ve lost her recipe so it’s great to have an alternative. Thanks!

  4. V.

    Oh perfect :D Looks delicious, will definitely try this!

  5. Shelly

    I’m just curious. What’s the difference if I melt chocolate over simmering water on the stove or in the microwave?

    • Evie

      The method for melting the chocolate is up to you. I prefer the stove-top approach because I can keep track of the progress of the melting without having to open and close the microwave door and reset it each time.

  6. Gemma

    You could also use melted coconut oil instead of butter, which would be delicious as well as parve (good for both milk and meat meals).

    • Evie

      I haven’t baked with this kind of oil, but it certainly sounds like a good option if it has kosher certification.

  7. Ashley Denae

    I think this will be perfect for my Easter pot luck at work! I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone they didn’t like chocolate/peanut butter anything. Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Judy

    All the substitutions to make these kosher for Passover are fine except peanut butter at Passover is not used by Ashkenazi Jews.

    • Evie

      Thank you for your comment. The inclusion of peanut butter in a Passover recipe has generated a number of comments and questions. I have addressed this issue–which truly has no single correct answer–on my blog
      (http://www.evielieb.com/im-a-guest-just-in-time-for-passover/).

    • Jamie

      And chocolate chips unless they’re certified kosher for Pesach. Oh well, guess I won’t make these.

      • Evie

        I actually found a couple of brands of Passover-certified chocolate chips, mini and regular, on the shelf of our local Save-Mart in Sacramento! They are the real thing, just without the soy that would render them forbidden for Passover use. Shopping early is the key, but there are also options available online.

  9. Catherine McCord

    Love love this idea for passover! Totally making them. Great idea girlies!

  10. Susan Bishop

    What would the shelf life of this be?

  11. Inez

    I do not have a processor; will a hand blender work for this?

    • Elise

      I think the dough will be too thick for a hand blender. But you can crush the crackers with a rolling pin or bottle (put them in a plastic bag and run the rolling pin over them). Then mix everything by hand with a wooden spoon or your hands.

  12. Jeff @ Cheese-burger.net

    We just can’t stop eating these chocolate peanut butter bars. I made this last night. And once we tasted one, we couldn’t stop until we devoured the whole batch.

    • Evie

      I guess I forgot to add to my recipe the caveat about the addictive nature of these bars! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered an antidote. So glad you like them.

  13. Michelle

    Does anyone have an idea of approximately how many graham crackers you need to get 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs?

  14. Bronwyn

    I am a big fan of Whittakers peanut butter chocolate. A fairly recent thing in New Zealand. Like Reece’s but not quite as salty. Have just made some of these & waiting for them to,come out of the fridge to test them out!

  15. Terri

    Question: Could you “technically” make homemade reese cups with this recipe? Just put a bit of chocolate in the bottom of a well sprayed mini muffin tin and go from there?

    • Terri

      *blush* forgot to add my site url betterbelle.wordpress.com

    • Evie

      I don’t see why your idea wouldn’t work. Of course, it would be a bit more work!
      Let us know if you try it.

  16. ariel

    Is there a way to do this using cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips

    • Evie

      There might be a way, but you’d have to find a Passover-friendly frosting that would hold its shape when the contents of the pan was cut into bars. You might try the topping from the Decadent Passover Brownie Cupcakes on my blog, although I’m not sure about the amount in the recipe fitting the surface of the peanut butter bars. You would need about 1 1/2 cups of frosting. Please let us know if you try this.

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