Peanut Butter Bars

Happy Friday, MBA Readers! We’re celebrating the weekend with a delicious guest post from one of my favorite bloggers on the planet, Shaina Olmanson of Food for My Family. Shaina is the author of the creative book, Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine – if you don’t have a copy, you definitely need to pick up a copy! Thanks so much for being here today, Shaina!

There are foods that should be consumed only the seasonally appropriate times. For example, green bean casserole should only be served and eaten in the context of Thanksgiving. It’s nearly a sin to be caught creating that creamy conglomerate of crunchy onion and cream-laced green bean at any other time.

This is also the case for several dessert-related items. Can you imagine if you showed up with almond-flavored spritz cookies pushed through the cookie gun at Labor Day or any time other than just before St. Nick comes calling?

Such is the case with peanut butter balls for me. (You might know them as buckeyes. I am not from Ohio, so I can’t comment, but do as you must.) Peanut butter balls come out once a year: December. They do not exist for me any other time of year, and any failure to eat your fill is paid in penance by waiting a long year to consume them again. They’re like Girl Scout cookies you hand roll instead of ordering them from badge-clad teeny boppers at the door.

Seeing as how we’re well past the New Year at this point, I’m not sure what to do about the lack of peanut butter bliss for I certainly did not have my fill of sugared goodness this season. The answer? Turn them into something else. Yes. Not only did I deconstruct my favorite peanut butter ball recipe into bar form, but I added a crust and delighted in the not rolling of the balls, the lack of dipping them into chocolate, and the 2″ squares that qualify as a “serving.”

I’m not sorry.

Shaina Olmanson is the cook, freelance writer, and photographer behind Food for My Family, which was named one of the top ten Top 100 Mom Food Blogs by in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She is the author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine, has served as the food editor for LifetimeMoms and daily contributor to Babble’s Family Kitchen, and contributes regularly to and She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband and their four kids.

Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: 16 bars


For the crust:
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (like Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter

For the peanut butter layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

For the chocolate layer on top:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊ F. Line an 8x8" baking pan with parchment. In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/3 cup unsalted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs into the parchment-lined pan, packing down with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 15 minutes until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2. Melt the 1/2 cup butter for the peanut butter layer. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add in the peanut butter and whip until smooth. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Spread the layer over the cooled crust. To avoid breaking the crust, Drop several spoonfuls throughout the bottom of the crust before smoothing the top.

3. In a double boiler melt the remaining 1/4 butter. Once melted, add in the chocolate and stir until melted. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

43 Responses to “Peanut Butter Bars”

  1. Lisa — February 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Could you clarify what we are supposed to be doing with the graham crackers? Are we finely crushing them to thicken the peanut butter mixture or leaving them big enough to add crunch? Thanks.


    • Shaina — February 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Yep, they should be crumbs, Lisa. They’re used to add some substance to the peanut butter mix so it makes it easier to cut into bar form.

  2. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork — February 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Beautiful photos! I love chocolate and peanut butter anything, anytime of year!


  3. Jen @ Savory Simple — February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Wonderful guest post! These look incredible.


  4. NEW ORLEANS HONEY — February 8, 2013 at 11:58 am



    • Shaina — February 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      It is 1/2 cup of crumbs. Thanks! :)

  5. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — February 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Can not go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter…..ever!


  6. Holiday Baker Man — February 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Ohhh Man! More! More!


  7. Kristen — February 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Oh my – love that creamy peanut butter treat!


  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    These look so awesome, and they’re so simple! Great recipe!


  9. Linda — February 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    You got too excited to make these huh!! ;-) 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs. These are FABULOUS!!


  10. Monica P — February 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Oh, dear these look good.



  11. Carla @ Carlas Confections — February 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Ooooohh goodness! All that peanut butter and chocolate yumminess! Cant even handle it!


  12. Barbara — February 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing Sandra…I love this one!


  13. JanetFCTC — February 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    These look delicious! But I have to disagree about the foods… I’m one of those weirdos making Pumpkin bread in July and grilling foods out in the snow hehe. A rebel without a clue or something like that


  14. Bellenza Bistro — February 9, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Peanut butter and chocolate…a dream team in my books!


  15. Seonaid — February 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Wow these look very rich, but very tasty too.


  16. Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — February 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    These look like the best bars ever! I have Pinned them and cannot wait for an excuse to make them!


  17. tara @ live a sweet life — February 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Love peanut butter and chocolate. I could probably live on these for a while! haha


  18. loni — February 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    luv your blog. don’t leave comments b/c i see you via Google reader. but ihave many of your recipes. thanks!!


  19. Loretta — February 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    This reminds me of a recipe we used to make when we were kids. Hate to say it, but yours looks a little better :)


  20. natalie — February 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I was lucky enough to grow up in Ohio, where buckeyes/”peanut butter/chocolate ____” is not seasonal and can be enjoyed year-round. We love shoving peanut butter and chocolate together in any form and calling it buckeye, balls, bars, brownies, ice cream… Pretty much the best thing ever. We served a similar bar in the cafe at Ohio State. :)

    They’ve definitely become a seasonal treat since I moved to AZ… Imagine trying to eat this when it’s 110 degrees…. not quite as easy lol – My gram sent me a whole container of “authentic” Ohio “buckeyes” for Christmas, since I consumed the lot of them my cravings have been subdued…. until seeing this post, of course. CAN’T WAIT to make these


  21. Becca - Cookie Jar Treats — February 9, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I’m the same way with some foods. I refuse to bake with pumpkin before October 1st and after November 30th. And maple goods are reserved for December only, and so on and so forth. Anyways, these peanut butter bars look fantastic! :)


    • Shaina — February 11, 2013 at 12:03 am

      So glad to hear I’m not alone in my neuroses, Becca! ;)

  22. Lisa Cornely — February 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    This look wonderful. I can’t wait to try these.


  23. Bintu@recipesfromapantry — February 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Oh- these look good.


  24. Susan @ Cruise Vacation — February 11, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I never thought about Peanut butter bars. that bars look so delicious and recipe also seems easier. Hope I’ll make it without any problem. Thanks for sharing.


  25. Carolina — February 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    omg. boy, they look good but what is the cals and fat content!!!


  26. Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies — February 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I might be the only person pining for a middle school cafeteria lunch, but these sound SO CLOSE to a treat I had often in 6th grade and haven’t been able to fully replicate since. *fingers crossed* Trying it out ASAP :)


  27. Faye — March 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I love peanut butter bars and your recipe looks wonderful!


  28. jayne — March 10, 2013 at 6:27 am

    what are graham crackers? please I am english and would like to know the alternative thank you.


    • Jamie — May 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Hello! I have heard that digestive biscuits are a great alternative for graham crackers. I hope this helps.

  29. Melissa Baker — May 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I made these and they are AWESOME!! The peanut butter mixture taste like Reece’s. I do have a question though… Do the leftovers have to be refrigerated or can I leave them out? Thanks!


    • Jamie — May 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      I would refrigerate them – I am so happy to hear you enjoyed them. Have a great weekend.

  30. YUM!!! anything chocolate and peanutbuter I LOVE!


  31. Melanie — February 3, 2014 at 4:53 am

    I know I am late to the party, but a student of mine turned me to your blog on Friday. This was one of three of your recipes I made this weekend and we loved them all! This bars are fantastic. I recommend people let them cool fully – I was impatient and dug in before the crust settled. Thank you for sharing your ideas!


    • Jamie — February 5, 2014 at 11:19 am


      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the bars! Thank you so much for dropping in to share your experience with making them. Have a wonderful day and thank you for following MBA!


  32. alecia — September 13, 2014 at 6:58 am

    My kids say I am technologically impairedso needless to say I stumbled on ur recipes by accident. Im so Happy I did. Cant Wait to make these my hubby and kids love peanut butter. I am a private chef and crazy foodie so i dont limit myself to Only making food in the correct season. Sometimes a lemon pie cheers up a cold snowy day. I have One recipe That I Only make for christmas. Is an amaretto white fudge That is creamy silky melt in ur mouth goodness and is saved for the holiday season. This is my first time on a site like this so thank u. Its 4am & I Cant sleep so this has been great! Xoxo


    • Jamie — September 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks for visiting.


  33. Brooke — May 1, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    These look super good! I usually make lemon bars from this recipe but I might have to change it up and bake these! Peanut butter is a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing!


    • Jamie — May 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

      I hope you get the chance to try them. THanks for visiting.


  34. Katie Kelly — January 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    OMG!!! These look so good!! I love anything peanut butter and chocolate.


    • Jamie — January 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Katie: I do, too! The absolute perfect combination!

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