Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars have the irresistible chewy consistency of a brownie with the flavor of a peanut butter cup! These easy to make treats are great additions to lunch boxes and care packages. Bake a batch this weekend and enjoy them all week long.
Making bar cookies is super easy and time saving. Whether you are baking for care packages or lunch boxes, saving time is a bonus.
Instead of scooping individual cookies and baking in batches, bar cookie dough is just pressed into a pan, baked and sliced. A delicious treat in no time at all!
Bar cookies are thicker than most cookies, which helps them stay fresh longer.
Leaving the baked pan uncut and well wrapped, will keep the bars soft and fresh even longer. That can be especially helpful for the long travel times of some military care packages.
Did you know that many cookie recipes can be baked as bar cookies? Following a few simple rules you can!
FAQ’s about converting cookie recipes to bar cookies
Choose a recipe for drop cookies that makes a thick dough that can be scooped and handled with bare hands.
An 8” or 9” square pan should be used for recipes that makes 4-6 cups of dough.
A 9” x 13” pan should be used for recipes that make 6-8 cups of dough.
The dough should be ¾” to 1” thick in the pan.
The best baking temperature of cookie bars is 350° F.
If converting to bar cookies from a drop cookie recipe, bake the bar cookies 2- 2.5 times the amount of time called for in the cookie recipe, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the pan comes out almost clean.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until color lightens (about 3 minutes).
- Gradually stir in the flour mixture just until a smooth, thick dough forms.
- Fold most of the chocolate chips into the batter.
- Use your finger tips to press the batter into a parchment lined 9” x 13” pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining chips on top and gently press them into the dough.
- For chewy bars bake for 18 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. For fudgy bars bake for a few minutes less.
- Cool in the pan then use the parchment to lift the rectangle onto a cutting board and cut into bars.
Baking tips and variations
- This recipe makes a thick dough that may be difficult to spread with a knife or spatula. Use finger tips to spread and press evenly into the pan.
- This dough makes fantastic chewy peanut butter cookies too. Use a large (2 tablespoon) or medium (1½ tablespoon) scoop to make dough balls and bake for about 10 minutes.
- I use jumbo milk chocolate chips from Whole Foods 365 brand. The larger size and creamy flavor are ideal for this recipe. I love this brand for their fairly traded, ethically sourced ingredients and high quality products. Regular milk chocolate chips can also be used.
- Be sure to reserve some chips for adding on top. Though all the chips can be mixed in, the bars look extra delicious with chips scattered across the top.
- These bars are wonderfully chewy when baked for a full twenty minutes. Bake these bars a few minutes less (17-18 minutes), until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, and they are dense and fudgy in texture. Bake to taste.
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Baking tools and ingredients
A 9” x 13” baking pan is a kitchen must. This size pan is often the size called for in recipes for brownies, sheet cakes, and one pan dinners. I have a variety of sizes of the Rachael Ray brand bakeware, because it’s thick and sturdy, nonstick, and inexpensive.
One of the first purchases I ever made for my own first kitchen, way back in college, was a set of nesting Pyrex mixing bowls. Literally decades later, I am still using that very first set! The Pyrex material is substantial, so it stays in one place while you are mixing. Plus it is microwave and dishwasher safe.
More cookie bar recipes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
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- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups jumbo milk chocolate chips I use Whole Foods fairly traded 365 brand
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking panand with parchment paper with a 2” overhang on the long sides of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powderand salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the peanutbutter, butter, and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beatuntil the color lightens, about 3 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the flour mixture just until a smooth,thick dough forms.
- Fold ¾ cup of chocolate chips into the dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan using fingertips.
- Scatter the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips on top and gently press into the dough.
- For a chewy bar, bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few to no crumbs. Bake a few minutes less for a more fudgy bar.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.
- Run a knife along the edges touching the pan to loosen. Usethe parchment overhangs to lift the rectangle out of the pan onto a cuttingboard. Cut into bars.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
First published: March 29, 2013. Last Updated: August 21, 2020. Updated for additional information and improved photographs.