These chocolate peanut butter bars are easy to make and perfect for events when you need a quick dessert. The triple layers are made with coconut flakes, peanut butter, and chocolate on top of a delicious graham crackers crust.
This recipe is part of my collection of Bars and Cookies that you might also enjoy. You will find recipes like Peanut Butter Cookies, Austrian Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars, or Seven Layers Bars (Hello Dolly Bars).
There is nothing more American than chocolate and peanut butter together. When you add another layer of coconut, the combination ends up being divine. Whoever invented this recipe was a genius, in my opinion.
Besides the fact that this person nailed it on flavors, he/she was also able to create a super easy and fun way of putting the recipe together.
If you consider yourself a beginner in the baking department or a more advanced baker who doesn't have the time or likes elaborate recipes, this one is for you.
These delicious bars feature a graham crackers crust, a layer of coconut, a layer of peanut butter, and a layer of chocolate.
- Graham cracker crumbs: Graham crackers are sweet, whole-grain crackers often used for making pie crusts. They're made from graham flour, a type of whole wheat flour. Use whatever graham crackers are on sale, regular graham crackers, cinnamon, or even chocolate or gluten-free if you have to. You can also buy the European-style digestive biscuits or Marias cookies that you can find in the ethnic aisle at the grocery store.
- Unsalted butter: It adds richness to the recipe and is also used to bind the crumbs for the crust. You can also use salted butter, though it may slightly affect the flavor.
- Coconut flakes: These are dried and shredded coconut meat, adding a tropical flavor and texture. If you don't like coconut, you can try rolled oats.
- Sweetened condensed milk: This is milk that has been cooked down to remove water, then sugar is added, creating a thick, sweet syrup. For a dairy-free or vegan version, use coconut milk or another sweetened condensed "milk" alternative, like oats.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips: These have a balanced sweet and bitter flavor. You can substitute with dark chocolate chips for less sweetness or milk chocolate chips for more sweetness.
- Creamy peanut butter: This adds a rich, nutty flavor. For those with peanut allergies, replace it with almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter.
How to make these cookie bars
Step 1. Start preheating the oven to 350F.
Important: If you use a glass dish, preheat the oven to 325F.
Step 2. Butter a 13x9-inch baking dish.
If you prefer, you can use parchment paper for it, like in this tutorial.
Step 3. Make the crust.
Use graham crackers crumbs and mix them with butter. The original recipe tells me that the butter goes on the pan and the crumbs on top.
However, I noticed that when I chose this method, the crust was not formed properly, and the bars had a tendency to fall apart.
Anyway, forming the crust is also easy to do in a food processor if you have one. Just pulse crackers with butter together until you have a mixture that looks like wet sand. (Here is an article that talks about the perfect graham crackers crust)
Step 4. Add the other layers.
Press the crumb mixture firmly on the bottom of the baking pan and add the coconut flakes evenly. On top of the coconut flakes, pour the sweetened condensed milk, trying to spread it as evenly as possible.
Step 5. Bake.
Bake for 25 minutes.
While the crust is baking, grab a small saucepan, and over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together. When the crust comes out of the oven, spread that mixture over the hot coconut layer.
When spreading the melted chocolate and peanut butter mixture on top of the hot coconut layer, work quickly but gently to avoid tearing into the delicate layers beneath.
Using an offset spatula can help spread the mixture evenly without disturbing the underlying layers. Also, if you let the mixture cool slightly before spreading, it will thicken and be easier to control.
Allow it to cool before you cut it to serve.
Room temperature: After the bars have cooled and been cut, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Refrigerator: For longer storage, you can refrigerate them for up to two weeks or freeze them for up to three months.
Freezer: If freezing, separate layers of bars with waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together.
Allow frozen bars to thaw at room temperature before serving.
While researching this recipe, I found out that some people who made the bars before complained that the crust might be too thin.
If you prefer it thicker, double the amount of graham crackers and butter.
I hear you. Unfortunately, graham crackers crusts have a tendency to do that to you. There are two ways to avoid it.
One, make sure you butter the pan all over the inside. My experience is that the bars tend to stick all around the edges if you skip this step.
You could also use parchment paper instead of butter if you prefer.
Well, yes. While you will definitely alter the taste and the purpose of this dessert, you can replace the peanut butter with something else. It could be almond butter or any other nut butter you like.
Yes, this recipe has a thick layer of chocolate and peanut butter on top and also a thinner crust. Nothing wrong with that.
However, if you want less chocolate, try to use only 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips instead of 2 cups, as the recipe requires.
Are you going to try this recipe? Write a note in the comments.
More Chocolate Recipes
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 full sheet graham crackers
- ½ cup unsalted butter 8 tablespoons
- 2 ⅔ cups coconut flakes
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk canned
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- Preheat oven to 350F ( 325F for glass dish).
- In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well.
- Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan inside or use cooking spray.
- Press crumb mixture firmly on the bottom of the baking pan.
- Top evenly with coconut then pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over coconut layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together.
- Spread evenly over hot coconut layer. Cool for 30 minutes.
- Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
- Some people who made this recipe said that the crust might be too thin. If you prefer it thicker, just double the amount of graham crackers and butter.
- Make sure you butter the pan all over inside. My experience is that the bars tend to stick all around the edges if you skip this step. You could also use parchment paper instead of butter, if you prefer.
- If you do not like peanut butter, you can use some other types of nut butter, like almond for example.
- This recipe has a thick layer of chocolate and peanut butter on top, some people might like it a little bit thinner. If that, you can use only 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips instead of 2 cups as the recipe requires.