Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These no-bake peanut butter cookie bars are my favorite treat! A fudgy cacao topping covers a decadent peanut butter chocolate chip layer.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

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 peanut butter cookie bars are actually very easy to put together. You won’t be able to stop eating them, and that’s ok! 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!

Mixing peanut butter with dry ingredients Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars Ingredients

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.

Peanut Butter cookie bars recipe ingredients

While I love using these ingredients, they’re often hard to find and can be 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 – rolled oats, almond flour, nut butters, dates, organic maple syrup, and more – are all a fraction of the cost of the brands I find in the grocery store.

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.

And speaking of that oozy peanut butter, you really need smooth, creamy peanut butter here, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar of natural peanut butter. If you store your peanut butter in the fridge, allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour before making this recipe.

How to Make Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Once your peanut butter is nice and soft, it’s time to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars! First, make the cookie dough layer by simply stirring the ingredients together and pressing them into the pan…

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars Recipe Ingredients in a food processor

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.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars with chocolate topping

To make them extra pretty, sprinkle the peanut butter cookie bars with a little flaky sea salt.

From here, you can dig these peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars 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. Store the finished bars in the fridge. For longer term storage (yeah right), they can be frozen. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Vegan cookie bars with flaky sea salt

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Variations

The maca and cacao powder add extra nutrients and delicious flavor to these peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars, but if you can’t find them, that’s ok! Try one of these easy variations instead:

  • Skip the maca. No maca? No problem. These soft and chewy peanut butter cookie bars are still great without it.
  • Use cocoa powder. If you don’t have cacao powder, don’t worry! Regular cocoa powder is also delicious here.
  • Make energy balls! If you’re not in the mood to blend up the top layer of these bars, just mix up the bottom layer and roll it into balls. Store them in the freezer for yummy, on-the-go snacks!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

More Favorite Dessert Recipes

If you love these peanut butter cookie bars, 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! Then, try one of these treats next:


5.0 from 34 reviews

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

 
These peanut butter cookie bars are one of my all-time favorite treats! They have a delicious peanut butter chocolate chip layer with a rich cacao-date layer on top.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, snack
Serves: 25
Ingredients
Cookie Layer
Cacao Layer
  • 1½ cups walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 soft medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top, optional
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Finished bars can also be frozen. Let each bar thaw for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
Notes
*Look for creamy peanut butter with a smooth consistency to make this recipe, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar of natural peanut butter. If you store your peanut butter in the fridge, allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour before making this recipe.

This post was created in partnership with Thrive Market. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

100 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Tulsi
    07.23.2021

    This is the kind of recipe I look for because it is delicious and healthy. These taste like peanut butter cups but you feel like you’re feeding your body good ingredients. Sheer genius! Thank you.

  2. Tulsi
    07.23.2021

    This is the kind of recipe I look for because it is delicious and healthy. These taste like peanut butter cups but you feel like you’re feeding your body good ingredients. Sheer genius!

  3. Hayley
    07.10.2021

    Can I switch walnuts for another nut like almonds or cashews?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2021

      Hi Hayley, pecans would work since they have a similar texture. I’m not sure if almonds or cashews would hold together as well for the crust layer.

  4. Margot
    05.27.2021

    I made these delicious bars this evening. My children loved them! I’ve been looking for healthier recipes, especially for sweets. Once the kids went to bed, my husband and I had seconds🤫☺ Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  5. Kay from Justkickinfashion11.com
    02.02.2021

    Made it! Just didn’t have the Dates, so I used freeze dried raspberries! Yum. Thank you for this recipe.
    Trying to find more vegan friendly snacks. Major props.

  6. nimrit
    12.22.2020

    This really looks so good, I am so excited to make this healthy cookie that I can eat guilt-free with my morning coffee

  7. Anne
    12.11.2020

    Can I use applesauce instead of coconut oil?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.12.2020

      Hi Anne, I haven’t tried that.

  8. None from None
    10.28.2020

    This is the best recipe ever !

  9. Hiya
    08.10.2020

    Hi
    Lovely recipe!
    Can I make this with oat flour or wheat flour since I don’t have almond flour?
    Can’t wait to make it!

  10. Sam
    08.08.2020

    Hi…this looks delicious.!! Can you use dried apricots instead of dates? Anyone tried any other substitute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.08.2020

      Hi Sam, dried apricots aren’t as big and sticky, so I’d stick with dried dates (for structure) for this one.

  11. Mr.Baker Guy
    07.18.2020

    WOW these are SOOO good. Probably the best recipe in the blog. I didn’t have maca powder, and they were still great!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.18.2020

      Yay, I’m so glad you loved them!

  12. Josie
    06.13.2020

    I made this yesterday and they turned out amazing! I followed the recipe but just left out the maca powder. It was so easy to make.
    A little tip that might help people with the consistency…I microwaved my peanut butter for about a minute before mixing it in with the other ingredients. That made it a little bit more runny. Thanks for a great recipe, I’ll definitely make it again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      thanks for the tip! I’m glad you enjoyed these.

  13. Laura
    06.11.2020

    Love your recipes, would be great if you could put the grams measurements as well.

  14. Alessandra
    05.18.2020

    I’m excited to try this recipe! If I’m allergic to nuts (not peanuts), do you have a recommended substitute for the walnuts?

  15. Rosemary
    04.26.2020

    Another note: for people looking to sub ingredients, you can’t sub regular flour or flours that need to be cooked since this is a no bake recipe. We ran out of almond flour and ground peanuts in the food processor and that worked fine (other nuts would too). But I wouldn’t try say chick pea flour for example.
    Also, we didn’t have coconut oil so we used organic shortening, also fine, and didn’t have dates but since it seems she’s trying to get both the binding and the sweetness from the date, you could use dried figs or raisins. Cherries might be too tart. My two cents!

  16. Rosemary
    04.26.2020

    This recipe was delicious! Thank you

  17. Maria
    04.24.2020

    What can I sub almond flour with? It’s not something most people have lying around so a more accessible flour would be good.
    Thanks!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.