Triple Layer Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

A press-in chocolate cookie crust is the base for a creamy and rich peanut butter layer, topped with thick chocolate ganache. Like your favorite chocolate peanut butter candy, but better. Don’t try to mix the peanut butter filling by hand, you really need to use a stand mixer for it to come together. It will take longer than you think, but just keep beating until smooth. A no-stir peanut butter with no added sugar is the best option for these bars. A natural peanut butter will be too grainy and may not set up firmly enough.

Triple Layer Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Cooling 30 minutes
A press-in chocolate cookie crust is the base for a creamy and rich peanut butter layer, topped with thick chocolate ganache. Like your favorite chocolate peanut butter candy, but better. Don't try to mix the peanut butter filling by hand, you really need to use a stand mixer for it to come together. It will take longer than you think, but just keep beating until smooth. A no-stir peanut butter with no added sugar is the best option for these bars. A natural peanut butter will be too grainy and may not set up firmly enough.
5 from 1 vote
Course Dessert
Servings 32 bars

Ingredients
 

For the crust:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups ground chocolate cookies, from a 7.6 ounce box such as Annie's Chocolate Bunnies
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter, not a "natural" peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the chocolate topping:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips, between 62% and 72%
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a 9 x 12” baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  • In a food processor, finely grind the chocolate cookies so that you have 3 cups. (As noted in the ingredients, I use a full box of Annie’s Chocolate Bunnies which is close to a half pound of cookies). Add the brown sugar and pulse to combine, then pour in the melted butter. Process for about 15 seconds.
  • Dump the mixture into the lined baking pan and press it in evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake for 7-9 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  • Make the filling. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, softened butter and ½ teaspoon of salt. Start the mixer slowly so that the powdered sugar does not end up all over your counters, then increase the speed to medium and beat until it is a smooth paste. This could take a few minutes. Just keep beating, and increase the speed as it starts to come together to get it really nice and creamy.
  • Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the completely cooled crust, using a small offset spatula or butter knife to spread it evenly. Place in the freezer while you make the chocolate topping.
  • In a small saucepan, warm the cream until it just begins to simmer. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips, making sure they are fully submerged. Wait 4 minutes, then stir with a whisk until smooth and glossy. If it doesn’t come together right away, keep whisking vigorously and it will get there. Whisk the butter into the chocolate until smooth. Let it cool down, or place in the refrigerator for a few minutes, so that it does not melt the peanut butter layer when you spread it on top.
  • When the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, pour it onto the peanut butter filling and spread it out evenly. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes for easier cutting. Once it's set up (chilled through), remove from the pan using the foil like handles, and carefully pull the foil away from the sides. Cut into squares and enjoy. Bars are best served chilled.
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