These simple 6 ingredients Buckeye Crunch Bars are just like the classic balls of chocolate peanut butter “Buckeyes” but in bar form. A sweet, super creamy peanut butter filling, covered entirely by a thick layer of milk chocolate, then topped with salty pretzels for an extra special CRUNCH. These are SO easy to make. They call for only 6 pantry staple ingredients and require zero baking. You cannot go wrong with these Buckeye Bars. They’re sweet, salty, peanutty, extra chocolatey, and yes, addicting…it’s that salty pretzel crunch. And the best part? These bars are fun to make no matter what your age. The perfect treat to bring along to your next summer party.
It’s become somewhat of a tradition that I share yet another chocolate peanut butter dessert on the Friday before Father’s Day weekend. Why? Because it’s my dad’s favorite sweet combination. Can you blame him? It’s a delicious combo and my personal favorite too.
In all honesty, I was going to share another recipe today. More of a breakfast recipe, and I am really excited to share it with you all. But at the eleventh hour, I made these Buckeye Bars and my heart told me to share them today. Not only do these satisfy my dad’s love of chocolate and peanut butter, but they’re perfect for Father’s Day. There also that Friday dessert, the one we all just really want the most.
The one we crave.
The one that’s EASY to make.
And potentially, and maybe most importantly? The dessert we have all the ingredients for. Because when it’s Friday we just need to be able to make a quick dessert to satisfy the craving and kick the weekend off right.
Yep, this is your new summertime staple dessert bar.
Ohio Buckeyes of course!
If you’re unfamiliar with Buckeyes (the candy), they’re simply chocolate peanut butter balls. They’re meant to look like buckeyes, the seeds from a buckeye tree. They’re called buckeyes because they resemble a buck’s eye. Buckeyes, are also the very unusual mascot of Ohio State University. Buckeyes the candy, are often served when tailgating at Ohio State football games.
But…you certainly don’t need a football game to enjoy these delicious chocolate peanut butter balls. Growing up in Cleveland, I had plenty of Buckeyes. To this day, they’re still one of my favorite desserts.
So, I thought, why not make Buckeyes, but try to make them easier and top them with pretzels?
Yum, bars are always a good idea. And I am currently obsessed with salty pretzels, so I was sold the minute I thought of adding them.
Here are the (EASY) details for these Buckeye Crunch Bars.
With only six ingredients, these bars are easy. I’m talking ten to fifteen minutes of prep time and not much else.
The trickiest part? Waiting for the bars to fully chill. Well, that and cutting into the bars, but more on that below.
To start, you need to line your pan with parchment paper. The paper will help you to lift the bars out of the pan and cut them into squares. There’s really no sub here. You’ll need to line the pan with either parchment (my first choice), wax paper, or tin foil.
Once you have the pan all set, make the peanut butter filling. Simply beat together softened salted butter, creamy peanut butter, a splash of vanilla, and confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Now, here’s the thing, I didn’t want overly sweet bars, so I prefer to use only two and a half cups of confections sugar. My family and I all found this to be the perfect amount of sweetness.
BUT using a lighter amount of sugar will leave you with a “looser” peanut butter filling that will soften quicker at room temperature. If you’d like a thicker, more dense bar, that’s also sweeter, use anywhere from two to three cups of sugar.
Spread the peanut butter filling in the prepared pan, then freeze until set up.
While the peanut butter is in the freezer, melt the chocolate. For the chocolate, the key is to melt the chocolate together with a spoonful of peanut butter. This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you go to cut through the bars. Why does this matter? Well, the peanut butter filling is so light and creamy that if the chocolate is difficult to cut through, the filling will just squeeze right out of the center.
Next, spread the chocolate over the peanut butter layer, then top with an even layer of pretzels, and chill until firm.
And that’s it. Simple. Easy.
A few notes and tips for success…
While these buckeye crunch bars are easy to make, I do have some helpful tips.
Cutting the bars can be tricky, especially if you use a lesser amount of sugar. What I like to do is to place the pretzels in even rows on top of the chocolate, then freeze until firm. Once the bars are firm, cut them into squares using a sharp knife.
This is the point where I like to use those tiny pieces of crushed pretzels you see. I sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the cut bars, then drizzle with additional chocolate to make them really stick to the top of the bars. Doing this is not needed, but I love the look it gives the bars. Messy, but cute.
The most important thing to note about these bars is that they really need to be kept chilled at all times. They’re not the kind of bar you want to leave out. They taste best straight out of the fridge or freezer. If you’re planning to serve at a picnic, keep these in the cooler.
Personally, I like to store the bars in the freezer and remove five minutes before serving. The bars soften within minutes, plus, we love the bars when they’re extra chilled. Perfect summer treat.
That said, you can store the bars in the fridge, they’ll just be a little softer.
Other than that, these are the easiest, sweetest dessert. If you need something last minute for Father’s Day, or just a Friday night dessert that takes very little effort to make, this is your bar.
So very delicious…enjoy!
Looking for other peanut butter desserts? Here are a few of my go-to’s.
Lastly, if you make these Buckeye Crunch Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Buckeye Crunch Bars
Calories Per Serving: 217 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 2. in a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter, vanilla, and 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more confectioners sugar to your liking. The more sugar you add, the firmer the bars will be.3. Spread the mix out into the prepared pan in an even layer. Transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes to set.4. Melt the chocolate and remaining 3 tablespoons peanut butter in the microwave until melted. Pour the chocolate mix over the peanut butter layer. Press the pretzels into the chocolate. Transfer the bars to the fridge and chill 1 hour, until set (or 30 minutes in the freezer). Cut into bars (see tip below). We like these best when kept in the freezer, but they can also be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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Tip For Cutting: First, make sure the bars are really cold and the filling is completely set. I'd recommend freezing the bars for 15 minutes to really give them a good chill. Then, run a really sharp chef's knife under hot water, quickly dry the knife off and cut into the bars.