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I have been making these healthy chocolate peanut butter bars since last winter. It’s not very often that I keep baking the same thing over and over, but my husband demands these!
He’s always taste testing my recipes and is usually happy to have new ones to try. (Which is a good thing, because I’m constantly making new ones for the blog!) But, ever since I first made these gluten-free peanut butter bars, he keeps asking for more of the same exact ones.
I actually stumbled across chocolate peanut butter cookie bars by accident. Basically, I was inspired to make a lazy version of my sugar-free Tagalongs cookies, because prior to these bars, that’s what my husband kept asking for. It got tiring to dip the cookies individually so often. The cookies look more impressive, but when you want convenience, cookie bars are the way to go.
I tweaked the ingredients and ratios a bit to turn the cookies into healthy chocolate peanut butter bars instead. I liked the way peanut flour worked as a thickener in my keto peanut butter cups, so I used it again for these bars.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars without Graham Crackers
I’ve heard that sometimes peanut butter and chocolate bars are made with graham crackers in there. Even though I have a gluten-free graham crackers recipe that you could use, I actually prefer these low carb chocolate peanut butter bars without graham crackers. The peanut butter part is more creamy that way.
These homemade peanut butter chocolate bars consist of three layers. There’s a shortbread cookie crust, a peanut butter center, and finally chocolate on top.
Don’t let the multiple layers intimidate you. They are all incredibly easy to make! You need just a few ingredients and several minutes for each one. And, you don’t have to wait between layers!
Even though this recipe can’t be paleo since it uses peanut butter, you can make it dairy-free by using dairy-free chocolate chips. I suppose you could make a paleo version by using another nut butter, like almond butter. The flavor would be pretty different compared to peanut butter bars, though.
Variation: No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
If you are looking for no bake chocolate peanut butter bars, these are easy to convert to that. Simply skip the cookie layer! If you do this, you’ll want to add a couple extra tablespoons of peanut flour to the peanut butter layer. That way, the bars will be more sturdy. Another option would be to leave the peanut butter layer as is, but always store the bars frozen to keep them firm.
I’m on the fence about which is better. The no bake peanut butter bars with chocolate only? Or the baked peanut butter bars with the cookie layer included? On the one hand, I adore the crunchy shortbread cookie part. But, making no bake dessert bars is so convenient!
My husband insists that the cookie layer is a must. But really, you can’t go wrong when you’re combining peanut butter and chocolate bars. You decide what you like best!
Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe - Gluten Free::
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Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe - Gluten Free
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Shortbread Cookie Layer
Peanut Butter Layer
RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line a 9x9 in (23x23 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour and sweetener.
- In a small bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil and vanilla. Mix into the almond flour mixture, pressing with the back of a spoon or spatula, until a crumbly dough forms.
Press the cookie dough into the lined pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are golden. Cool for a few minutes, until the top is firm and the pan is cool enough to handle. (Meanwhile, make the peanut butter layer.)
Peanut Butter Layer
- In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut flour and sweetener.
- Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well, pressing with the back of a spoon or spatula, until fully incorporated. (The mixture will be dense and can take some effort to incorporate. If you have a powerful blender or food processor, you can mix in there, scraping down the sides occasionally.)
- Spoon pieces of the peanut butter dough on top of the cookie layer in the pan, then spread and press evenly. If it's sticky, working with wet hands can help (but not too wet to avoid adding water to the peanut butter mixture).
- Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Heat in the microwave (or on the stove in a double broiler), stirring every 20 seconds, until completely melted.
- Whisk in the sweetener.
Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer and spread evenly. Cool completely, until the chocolate is solid, before cutting into bars. (You can also refrigerate to speed the cooling process, but then you'll want to let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before cutting, to avoid having the chocolate crack.) Cut straight down with a large chef's knife (don't saw back and forth). Once cut, refrigerate to store.
- In the shortbread cookie layer, you can use either a granulated or powdered sweetener. In the peanut butter and chocolate layers, a powdered sweetener is recommended for a smooth texture. You can make your own powdered sweetener by grinding granulated sweetener through a food processor. Otherwise, you can buy the powdered erythritol I used here.
- Peanut flour and peanut butter powder are the same. Most grocery stores carry peanut butter powder with a small amount of sugar - this is okay to use if you're fine with that, but you'll probably need to reduce the sweetener a little. You can buy peanut flour without any sugar added here.
- It's your choice if you want to use salted or unsalted peanut butter, depending on if you want your bars to be a little salty or not. I liked them with lightly salted peanut butter.
Serving size: 1 bar, or 1/16 of entire recipe
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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