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Fudgy Layered Peanut Butter Bars

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1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped salted peanuts

Fudgy Layered Peanut Butter Bars

A peanut butter cookie crust is topped with two frostings for a fabulous and indulgent dessert.

  • 38 minutes
  • Serves 24
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I am always trying to think up new recipes for bar cookies. This recipe for Fudgy Layered Peanut Butter Bars is fantastic.

Face it, if you want to make something sweet in just a few minutes that will feed a crowd, bar cookies are the way to go. You don’t have to futz around with shaping individual cookies, you can bake the recipe in one fell swoop instead of baking batches and batches, and these recipes can be modified in hundreds of different ways.

My favorite topping for bar cookies is a combination of melted semisweet chocolate chips and peanut butter. This recipe uses that mixture as one layer in a three layer bar. The bottom is a rich peanut butter cookie, and the top is a fluffy peanut butter frosting.

This recipe for Fudgy Layered Peanut Butter Bars is incredibly indulgent, with the perfect combination of textures and flavors. And there’s peanut butter in all three layers!

Enjoy this recipe; you’ll make it often!

Tips for the best Fudgy Layered Peanut Butter Bars:

  • Make sure that you let the cookie base cool before you add the two frostings.
  • It’s also important that the chocolate ganache cools completely before you add the peanut butter buttercream to protect the textures of both frostings.
  • Take your time when beating the peanut butter buttercream. Even powdered sugar needs time to dissolve so the frosting is perfectly creamy and fluffy.

Why this recipe works:

  • A peanut butter cookie mixture is pressed into a pan and baked. This method makes the base of the bar more tender.
  • Two frostings are put on top of one peanut butter bar. The frostings have different textures; one is a ganache (chocolate melted with another ingredient), and the other is a buttercream frosting.
  • The two textures of the frostings compliment each other and add interest to the recipe.


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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour.


In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/3 cup powdered sugar. Beat well to combine then beat in the egg.


Stir in flour and baking powder until a dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.


Bake for 12 to 18 minutes or until the layer is just set. Don't overtake. Let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the next layer.


In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the semisweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, and 2/3 cup peanut butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute intervals, stirring after each interval, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour over the baked layer and spread to cover. Cool.


When the chocolate layer has cooled (you can put it in the fridge to speed up this step), combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup peanut butter in a medium bowl and beat well.


Add the 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar and milk alternately until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. This should take at least five minutes. Don't skimp on the beating time. Beat in the vanilla.


Spread the frosting over the chocolate layer. Then combine the mini chips with the chopped peanuts and sprinkle over the bar. You're done! Store covered at room temperature.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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