Peanut Butter Squares are the classic school lunchroom treat from your childhood. This no-bake dessert has a thick layer of peanut butter topped with a layer of chocolate.
Peanut Butter Squares
Summer is coming. Warmer weather is almost here which can sometimes mean that you don’t feel like turning on the oven when that sweet craving hits.
No Bake Dessert
Today I have a no-bake recipe for you that was one of my mom’s favorite childhood treats. She says that these Peanut Butter Squares were served in the lunchroom cafeteria several times a week, and she absolutely loved them. She tells me sometimes instead of buying a lunch, she’d use her lunch money to just buy Peanut Butter Squares.
She’d never let me get away with that!
Even after my mom got married, she still got to enjoy this sweet treat. Her mom (my grandma) taught at the school so every now and then she got some to take home to my mom. And then…my grandma got the lunch ladies to give her the recipe!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
When I first tried these chocolate-peanut butter-dreams, they reminded me of the peanut butter balls that my family makes every Christmas season. Peanut butter balls require careful and tedious work, dipping each separate ball into a saucer full of rich chocolate. The result is a sugary peanut butter ball coated with milk chocolate that melts in your hand if you hold it too long. It amazed me how easy it was to make these Peanut Butter Squares. They basically tastes the same as the peanut butter balls that I love so much and are so much easier to make.
Easy Peanut Butter Bars
This recipe is easy, but let me give you a few hints to help things go smoothly.
- Mix the peanut butter, butter, sugars and vanilla in a stand mixer until nice and creamy. It would probably be good to mix this on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. A note here that the peanut butter “batter” is very soft. These do not have a firm texture like a brownie bar. The bottom layer is meant to be soft. If you’d like to make the bars firmer, add a little more powdered sugar. (You can see us make these bars on Facebook Live here.)
- Put foil or wax paper in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. And you can use a pan that is a little bit bigger or a tad bit smaller …it will just mean your peanut butter will be either thicker or thinner. The foil keeps the pan nice and tidy. Plus, if you use foil, these bars are super easy to remove and cut neatly. Spread out the peanut butter mixture evenly over the foil. It is perfectly OK to use your hands.
- Then you simply use some melted chocolate and spread it out on top. I used semi-sweet baking squares so that the chocolate would melt easily and smoothly. You can put on more chocolate if you’d like a thicker layer, but I only put on enough to hold it together. The peanut butter is the most important part for me:)
- Let the chocolate harden slightly by putting the dish in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the fridge pull the foil out of the pan. You can then lay the bars on a flat surface and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the bars into squares.
By letting the chocolate set only for a short time, you’ll get a nice clean cut. If the chocolate completely hardens, you might end up with some broken chocolate. Which is still completely edible, but just not quite as perfectly pretty.
Lock these bars up somewhere safe. I’m telling you….they’re addicting. And I’d love to hear if you have a favorite school lunchroom food that you remember enjoying!
Peanut Butter Squares
- 3 1/2 cups peanut butter creamy
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mix peanut butter, butter, sugars and vanilla in a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. The peanut butter will be very soft. If you feel it is too sticky, feel free to add a little more powdered sugar for a firmer bar.
- Put waxed paper (or aluminum foil) in an 9x13 pan (allowing the waxed paper to hang over the sides of the pan) and press the peanut butter mixture down in it evenly.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring between each interval. Be careful to melt the chocolate slowly...chocolate will burn quickly if it gets too hot.
- Spread the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Allow the bars to set in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the refrigerator. Pull up on the sides of the wax paper and place the bars on a flat surface.
- Cut into 24 bars and allow the chocolate to set completely.
- Store the bars in an airtight container.