I have a confession: I’m not real big on peanut butter cookies. I’m sure I just haven’t found the right recipe, but they’re usually both too dry and too bland for my taste. Not so with these lovely gooey chocolate chip peanut butter bars!
The original recipe (which I tweaked a bit) calls these blondies, which I think is a bit misleading. As a flavor, peanut butter kind of steam rolls most things in its way, so it dominates these delicious bars. If you’re a peanut butter person, you’ll love it. If you’re not a die hard peanut butter person, you’ll still like them – ’cause there’s enough other stuff going on to balance it out. Like chocolate. And salt. And awesome.
Though I haven’t tried a whole lot of the recipes, I remember reading in the Baked cookbook (and their peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe) that milk chocolate is a better pairing with peanut butter. Something to do with chemistry and bitterness and whatever. I dunno! But it stuck. So I opted to simplify things and make this into a (mostly) one bowl, one chocolate, bar cookie. And they were gooood.
I’m always a fan of one bowl(ish) bar cookies. It means they’re quick, easy, and I can throw them together on a night when I’m feeling restless but don’t have a lot of time to be bothered.
In a bake off, the Gooey Brown Butter Blondies I made the week prior (apparently I’m on a blondie kick) would win. But this isn’t a bake off, and these ones are way less hassle! So they’re their own kind of winners.
Gooey Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided (don’t use natural, this is a JIF/Skippy kind of recipe)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping cup milk chocolate chips
- flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter over medium heat, stirring until melted. Pour into a medium sized mixing bowl and let it cool a couple minutes.
Stir in the brown sugar and regular sugar. Mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until no white streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spread about half the dough into the prepared dish. Dollop and the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter onto the dough using a teaspoon or other small-ish spoon. You can eyeball the 1/4 cup. Using your hands flatten out pieces of the dough to make a layer to cover up the peanut butter. In other words, I like to grab a decent handful and then flatten it into a patty that’s about the width of the pan. Then I lay that on top of the peanut butter dollops and repeat. I think it took me four patties/rows to get a mostly-even top layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Then sprinkle with a generous helping of sea salt.
Transfer the pan the oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, just until light brown and set in the center. These are supposed to be gooey, so it’s ok to err on the side of under-baking, but 23 mins is probably the minimum.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting.