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Peanut Brownie Parfait Bars

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3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 (4 serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Peanut Brownie Parfait Bars

This spectacular dessert, with a creamy brownie topped with a rich peanut butter mouse and candy crumbles, will stun your guests.

  • Serves 20
  • Medium

About This Recipe

This fabulous frozen dessert recipe for Peanut Brownie Parfait Bars is one of my best ever. It’s insanely rich so you have to serve it in small squares, making it perfect for any summer holiday party. A rich brownie base is topped with a peanut butter cream mixture lightened with whipped cream, studded with bits of peanut butter cup center.


You can make this dessert in stages. Make the brownie one day, then make the peanut butter cream filling the second day, and assemble the dessert. You can use a brownie mix to make the base, but really, try it my way first. This scratch brownie is one of the best ever.

Although when you get that peanut cream on top, you could use house shingles for the base and people would still gobble it up.

But don’t try that.

This recipe uses a lot of pans (2) and bowls (4), but it is so worth it. When you take the first bite you’ll swoon.

Tips for the best Peanut Brownie Parfait Bars:

  • Do NOT overtake the brownie; this is key. It should be underbaked, but still baked enough so it’s safe to eat , so it’s fudgy even when frozen.
  • As always, make sure the cream cheese is completely softened so it blends well with the other ingredients.
  • Make sure you buy instant vanilla pudding, not the cooked variety, or the recipe won’t work.
  • Let the dessert stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before serving so it’s easier to cut.

Why this recipe works:

  • The brownie is slightly underbaked so it stays soft when it’s frozen. In fact, it becomes wonderfully chewy.
  • The peanut butter cream is so much better than ice cream, because it won’t melt at room temperature. It just softens, becoming even more delectable. The pudding mix adds a velvety mouthfeel and stabilizes the cream cheese mixture.
  • The little peanut butter crumbles taste just like the inside of a peanut butter cup. They stay soft even in the freezer.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13-inch by 9-inch pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.


In a saucepan, melt the cocoa and butter together, stirring until smooth. Beat in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth.


Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until combined.


Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the brownies for 19 to 23 minutes or until just barely set. Don't overtake or the brownies will be too hard and dry.


Cool the brownies completely on a wire rack.


To make the peanut butter crumbles, in a small bowl combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 3/4 cup peanut butter until crumbly and all the powdered sugar disappears. Set aside.


To make the peanut butter cream, combine the cream cheese and 3/4 cup peanut butter in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth.


Then in ANOTHER bowl, medium this time, combine the pudding mix and milk. Beat until combined. Set aside.


Finally, in another medium bowl (last one I promise), combine the heavy cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.


Now. Beat the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.


Then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.


Finally, fold 3/4 of the peanut butter crumbles into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie in the pan. Sprinkle with the reserved peanut butter crumbles.


You're done! Freeze the bars until firm, then cover and store in the freezer up to 2 weeks. To serve, let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, then cut into squares.


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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