These peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars… where do I even start!? If you make one dessert/snack recipe from this blog, I highly recommend this one! 🙂
There’s a delectable peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough layer underneath a rich cacao-date-walnut layer. That all sounds fancy, but these are actually very easy to put together. You won’t be able to stop eating them, but that’s ok because they’re made with some wonderful wholesome ingredients and a few (delicious) superfoods, like cacao and maca powder. They store well in the fridge and freezer, but good luck keeping them for any great length of time. I’ve been trying to hide them everywhere, but, in my house, they have a way of quickly disappearing!
So what the heck are cacao and maca? Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate, and it’s packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium (read: chocolate is healthy!). Maca is powder from the Peruvian maca root, and has a malty, vanilla-y, butterscotch-y flavor that’s insanely delicious in this cookie dough layer. It’s known to naturally support the body’s ability to adapt to stress and improve energy, vitality, and stamina. I usually put it in my smoothies, but I also love stirring it into baked goods, or in this case: non-baked goods. Note: if you don’t have maca powder, you can just skip it. If you don’t have cacao, you can use regular cocoa powder or just make the cookie dough layer into balls.
While I love using these types of ingredients, they’re often hard to find and can be really expensive at regular stores – which is why I’m SO excited to partner with Thrive Market today. If you haven’t heard of Thrive Market, it’s an online marketplace whose mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable.
Fancy superfoods aside, I found that so many of my kitchen staples – organic whole rolled oats, almond flour, organic nut butters, organic dates, and organic maple syrup (to name only a few) – are all a fraction of the cost of the brands I find in the grocery store.
Ingredients in my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Peanut butter & almond flour: the base of the cookie dough layer
- Maple syrup: for natural sweetness
- Coconut oil and sea salt: for richness
- Vanilla: for cookie dough flavor
- Chocolate chips: because these are chocolate chip cookie bars!
- Maca powder: optional, but see above for it’s wonderful health benefits
Another neat feature is that if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free, you can shop by those specific filters – which means that you won’t have to closely read packages to figure out if your seemingly-vegan item contains traces of dairy.
The last thing I’m going to gush about is the personal obsession I have with their peanut butter. I know it seems like peanut butters would all be created (somewhat) equal, but theirs has the best texture and flavor I’ve ever tasted – just look at the photo near the top of this post to see how oozy it is.
So with your oozy peanut butter, make this peanut butter cookie dough layer by simply stirring the ingredients together and pressing them into the pan…
Make the cacao layer by pulsing the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Then the best part – layer them together! So yummy… I’m having trouble not drooling all over my keyboard right now.
To make them extra pretty, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt…
The best part – there’s no baking required! From here, you can dig them out of the pan if you need your snack NOW… otherwise let them firm up in the freezer for 20 or so minutes so that you can neatly cut them into squares.
Storing Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Store the finished bars in the fridge. For longer term storage (yeah right), they can be frozen.
I hope you give Thrive Market a try! They’re offering 25% off your first order and a 30-day free trial. No discount code needed, just check out their site!
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- heaping ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2½ cups almond flour
- 2½ tablespoons maca powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until combined. Add the almond flour and maca and stir to combine (the mixture will be thick). Fold in the chocolate chips and press into the pan. Place in the freezer so that it firms up a bit while making the next layer.
- In a small food processor, pulse the walnuts, cacao powder, and sea salt until the walnuts are well chopped. Add the dates and pulse to combine, adding 2 tablespoons water if the blade gets stuck. Process until smooth, then spread onto the cookie layer. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Freeze for 30 minutes (this will help them firm up, making them easier to cut). Remove and slice into bars. Store remaining bars in the fridge.
- Finished bars can also be frozen. Let each bar thaw for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
This post was created in partnership with Thrive Market. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!