These peanut butter chocolate cookie bars topped with creamy chocolate ganache and a swirl of peanut butter look fancy but are easy to make. They are a perfect dessert for a weeknight meal but look impressive enough to serve at a party.
The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a classic.
The two ingredients go so well together and are perfect compliments in recipes like homemade peanut butter cups, buckeyes, chocolate peanut butter fudge, and chocolate peanut butter rice crispy treats.
And, of course, in this peanut butter chocolate cookie bar recipe.
Each of these cookie bars has a thick layer of luxuriously creamy chocolate ganache on top of a peanut butter cookie bar. To make the bars look pretty a bit of peanut butter is swirled into the chocolate.
They may look like fussy cookies but they are pretty easy to make. The peanut butter cookie layer can be made using a mixing bowl and spoon or silicone spatula in about 5 minutes.
The 2-ingredient chocolate ganache will take less than 5 minutes to make too. Then, you drizzle on some peanut butter, swirl, and chill. It’s that easy.
If you love these chocolate-topped peanut butter cookie bars, be sure to check out our Peanut Butter Caramel Cookie Bars recipe too.
Let’s make the Peanut Butter Cookie Bars!
- a mixing bowl (I use a Pampered Chef Large Batter Bowl)
- a silicone spatula or wooden spoon (I love my sprinkles silicone spatulas)
- an 8-inch square baking pan
- some non-stick tin foil (or parchment paper)
- an offset spatula, optional
- and a small saucepan
Tips for making soft and chewy peanut butter cookie bars:
- Use your favorite peanut butter to make these peanut butter bars. I like using Jif but any brand of creamy peanut butter will work well. You could even use crunchy peanut butter if you’d like some nuts in your cookie bars.
- Do not overmix the cookie dough once you’ve added the flour. Just mix it until you don’t see any more white streaks. Overworking cookie dough produces tough cookies.
- Bake the pan of cookie dough until the edges of the cookie bar turn golden brown and look and feel set and the center still jiggles slightly but no longer looks wet.
- If the edges of the cookie puff up higher than the middle, press the edges using a metal spatula so that your bars are flat. That will even out the cookie so that your layers look more even.
Next, you will make the chocolate ganache to pour over your peanut butter cookie bar.
What is chocolate ganache?
It’s simply a mixture of heavy whipping cream and chocolate. There are many ways to make chocolate ganache and you can see them all in my homemade chocolate ganache recipe post on my Hungry Happenings recipe site. But, for this recipe, I have simplified the recipe even further.
Making chocolate ganache the easy way.
- To make chocolate ganache the easy way, just combine heavy whipping cream with semi-sweet chocolate (either finely chopped bars or chocolate chips) in a small saucepan.
- Allow the chocolate to melt slowly over LOW heat until 75% of the chocolate has melted. Then, remove the pan from the stove and stir allowing the residual heat to continue melting the chocolate.
- It is important to use low heat. If you overheat the chocolate, your ganache will become grainy or greasy.
- It should only take about 3-5 minutes for 75% of the chocolate to melt.
- Don’t walk away or if you do, set a timer so you don’t allow the chocolate to get too hot.
Peanut Butter Swirl:
To add more peanut butter flavor you can swirl some creamy peanut butter into the chocolate topping.
I spooned the peanut butter into a zip-top bag and piped stripes across the chocolate, then used a skewer to swirl the chocolate and peanut butter together.
You could also just spoon tin drops of peanut butter over the chocolate and then swirl it using a toothpick.