Strawberry Hibiscus Ginger Margarita.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
These are so good…I’m a fan of Reese’s since childhood but the texture and taste of these dark chocolate bars will make you forget the orange wrapper alternatives. Once again Tieghan delivers!
I am really glad you enjoyed this Steve! xTieghan
So good and so easy. Worth the wait in the freezer.
Thank you Steve! xTieghan
Hello! I just discovered your website and love it! I made the Dan Dan noodles and was really happy with the dish. I also made the peanut butter bars last night. Along with another person, I found the bottom layer would just not stay together and I ended up throwing some of it away. Any suggestions how to make it more cohesive? I def. froze as long as you suggested..
Thanks so much! Thanks for all of your innovative recipes!
Thanks so much for your kind message! Next time try adding another date or a tablespoon of water into the food processor to help keep the crust together. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan
This recipe looks amazing! If I were to gift it to someone, does that mean the bars have to always be refrigerated? I know once chocolate is refrigerated, but is left out, there’s some condensation. Just wondering if that can be avoided?
I would recommend keeping these refrigerated. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan
What could I sub for walnuts in the crust if allergic to tree nuts? Thanks!
Hey Casey! I would recommend using pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan
I love these bars and I’ve made them a couple of times but what I found very difficult to do is to spread the layer of peanut butter and syrup over the layer of nuts and dates.The layer of peanut butter tends to stick to the layer of nuts and roll that layer of and then all becomes a real mess .Please help because all my family loves these bars but unfortunately only 3-4 bars turns well shaped and others are just messy.Good , hell yeah , but messy 🙂
HI! Is your nut/date layer chilled? Try freezing that in the square pan for 20 minutes, then spread on the peanut butter. I think this might help you! Please let me know if you have any other questions. So glad you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan
Can these last in the freezer and still be good?
Can these last in the freezer and still be good?
Hey Amanda, these are great to keep in the freezer! I would recommend removing them from the freezer 10-15 minutes before you plan to eat. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan