These no-bake peanut butter cookie bars are my favorite treat! A fudgy cacao topping covers a decadent peanut butter chocolate chip layer.
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!
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.
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…
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 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!
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!
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:
- Homemade Brownies
- Oatmeal Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No Bake Cookies
- Best Peanut Butter Cookies
- Easy Sugar Cookies
- Or any of these 30 Best Vegan Dessert Recipes!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 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
- 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
- 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!
Was excited to make this – followers recipe to the letter. The peanut butter layer turned out great. The cacao layer was awful! But the time I processed it to have it smooth, the oil had come out of the walnuts and made the mix extremely oily and overpowering walnut flavour. I put it on top still and soaked up a TON of oil with paper towel before putting in freezer/fridge and hoped it would be better once chilled but it wasn’t.. Won’t be making again, or will have to figure out something else for the top layer.
Hi Sarah, how disappointing! We haven’t had this issue making this recipe, but thanks for letting us know how it went for you.
For anyone wondering if this can be made with oat flour, I just made them and it was a success! Oat flour is also safe to eat raw, but if you’re worried you can freeze them for longer.
Super rich but I expected that and cut them into very small squares. Goes very nicely with black coffee.
Love this site and these were yummy but we thought they were just a bit dry. I used a creamy high quality peanut butter but looking at the photos the peanut butter used looks more runny in texture. Also I noticed the link to the almond flour brings up “Almond Flour Yellow Cake Mix”? Is that what you used? I used Bobs Red Mill super fine natural almond flour so that could be the issue as well. Next time would use a bit less flour or add a bit of water to compensate. Just an observation in case you’re using peanut butter with a similar texture or a similar almond flour.
Hi Shelly, the cake mix link is an error – the brand must have changed their link since this recipe has been up. I used just regular almond flour. The peanut butter is very smooth – if yours is less smooth it’s ok to add a bit more water.
I love these bars- a good balance of all of the flavors! The fact that they’re freezable makes this recipe a keeper. A dessert for sure but also one that you can have around for awhile.
Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you’ve loved them!
Love and Lemons recipes never disappoint! These were perfect. I used a heavy duty blender for the cacao layer instead of a food processor and it worked just fine.
I made these extremely delicious bars for an afternoon get together. My non vegan friends raved. They’re incredible.
Do you happen to have a calorie count? Thank you!
Hi Deb, I’m so glad they were a hit! I don’t count calories, but you could plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.
This looks absolutely delicious! I don’t have a food processor, but I do have a a heavy duty blender, would that work for the top layer??
I think it’ll be too thick and sticky for a blender.
Has anyone ever substituted almond butter instead of peanut butter?
Hi Rhona, it’ll be thicker, you may need to add a little water if it’s too dry and not coming together.
Yes, I have and they are very good
How long would the chocolate chip layer stay good if refrigerated?
Hi Suneri, I’d keep this in the fridge for up to about 5 days. Hope that helps!
Can one use date syrup instead and how much? Thanks! K.L.
Does the coconut oil impart a flavor in this recipe? Sometimes it can bother my tastebuds even if subtle. Is there an acceptable substitute? Thanks!
If you use refined coconut oil, it has less of a flavor than unrefined. There could still be a subtle flavor – I personally like it, so it’s not that noticeable to me.