The healthy weekend chocolate bar, Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars. A sweet “cookie dough” base, layered with creamy peanut butter, and covered entirely in dark chocolate. This is the ultimate homemade chocolate candy bar. Think of these as your vegan peanut butter cup, but in candy bar form. So much better than its overly sugary store-bought rival. Best part? These are SO easy to make, calls for only 7 pantry staple ingredients, and requires zero baking. They feel super decadent, but are packed full of healthy ingredients, are 100% vegan, and so delicious!

overhead photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars with broken bars exposing the peanut butter inside

The last few weeks I’ve been in serious baking mode, a non-chocolate, berry filled baking mode. It’s been delicious, fun, and pretty. But today I felt like we needed some chocolate, and we needed it to be on the healthier side. And yes, I’m going to go as far as saying that these peanut butter bars are healthy, because their ingredient list is top-notch. Dark chocolate, creamy peanut butter, dates, and just a touch of real maple syrup. Low on the sugar, high in protein, and rich in antioxidants.

When it comes to dessert, this is health food, and I am very much on board with it. Amazing cakes, sweet french toast, and homemade banana cream pie are all wonderful, and all should have their place in our lives, but as I always say balance is key and everything in moderation.

So today it’s the healthier dessert Friday, and trust me when I say, these feel every bit as indulgent as home baked cookies. You’d never guess they are actually healthy. High claims, I know, but trust me here, these bars are magical.

But then, aren’t most things with peanut butter and chocolate?

Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bar on baking sheet after being covered in chocolate

When it comes to peanut butter and chocolate, the combination will most likely be my favorite forever…and ever. It’s 100% my fall back combo when I want something to fill a sweet craving. Even as kid who really didn’t like candy, peanut butter cups were my favorite. They were the only Halloween candy I’d actually go for…other than those giant Malley’s chocolate bars. Those were like finding the “golden” ticket on Halloween.

Anyway, point is, I love peanut butter cups, and for years and years I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe that would be healthy, and taste just as good as the original, if not better. It might seem like an easy thing, but I’ve found it to be rather challenging. Until now.

These bars changed my world. You guys they are soo good – and so simple! Their biggest downfall is the chill time, but trust me, it will be worth it in the end.

front on photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars stacked on top of each other

The very first layer of these bars is almost like raw cookie dough. It’s a mix of nuts and dates. You need this layer. It helps to keep the bars together and makes covering them in chocolate actually doable. Press this “crust” into a square baking pan and spread the peanut butter mix overtop.

And the peanut butter mix? It’s soo simple. Salted creamy peanut butter, a splash of maple syrup for sweetness (just the tiniest amount), and a touch of vanilla. That’s all you need, and yes, organic, a no sugar peanut butter is ideal here. BUT I do recommend using a no-stir peanut butter so that you don’t end up with any oil separation.

Now, here is the key to these bars. You must freeze them, and freeze them solid, before covering them in chocolate. If the bars are not completely frozen, they will be a mess to dip. So listen to me when I tell you to allow time for the bars to freeze.

Frozen bars make chocolate dipping a breeze.

overhead close up photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bar with 1 bar broken in half

Once the bars are frozen solid, dip them into the chocolate. The chocolate will quickly harden. At this point you can enjoy the bars right away. Or keep them in the fridge until you’re ready for your peanut butter chocolate fix.

If you eat the bars straight out of the fridge they will be a bit more firm. But if you pull them out 5 or so minutes before you’re ready to eat, they will turn extra creamy and soft inside (like you see in the photos here). Both cold and semi room temperature are DELICIOUS. They remind me so much of a classic peanut butter cup, but you know why these are better?

Because the peanut butter to chocolate ratios are just right. These are not just heavy on the peanut butter, they’re heavy on the chocolate too. Just as they should be.

front on photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars stacked on top of each other with 1 bar broken in half

I’m excited to make these all spring and summer long. They’re the perfect no-bake dessert bar to enjoy on hot days, bring along on picnics (I’d keep them in a cooler), or serve up at your next BBQ.

Really though? The only real reason I need to make and enjoy these, is that fact that it’s Friday and my body needs some peanut butter and chocolate…

GOING FOR IT.

Happy Friday! See you tomorrow for a special cocktail post!

front on photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bar broken in half

If you make this these peanut butter cup 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 also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars | halfbakedharvest.com #vegan #chocolate #peanutbutter #dessert
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4.62 from 36 votes
The Recipe

Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars.

A sweet "cookie dough" base, layered with creamy peanut butter, and covered entirely in dark chocolate. SO easy to make, calls for only 7 pantry staple ingredients, and requires zero baking. Packed full of healthy ingredients, are 100% vegan, and so delicious!

Prep Time 15 minutes
chill time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 0 16 bars
Calories 362 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews or walnuts
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups salted creamy peanut butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • roasted peanuts, chopped, for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. 1. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

    2. To make the crust. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, dates, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pulse until finely ground. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. 

    3. In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter, 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (according to your taste), and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until smooth. Spread the mixture over the crust. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

    4. Once frozen, cut into 16 bars and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Return to the freezer until frozen solid, at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. 

    5. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave until melted and smooth. Let cool 10 minutes. Remove the bars from the freezers and cover in chocolate. If desired, top with peanuts. Let the chocolate set up, about 10 minutes. Keep stored in the fridge. The bars will stay firm, but soften enough to eat. 

horizontal photo of Chocolate Covered Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Bars