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!
I made these yesterday for my son and his new university flat mates as one girl is vegan. I have never made anything vegan before and was sceptical. They are absolutely amazing! They are, however, very sickly as my husband found out when trying to eat 4 in one sitting. Thank you for the recipe. I will be making them again.
Hi Lisa, I’m so glad everyone loved them!
Wow!! I have just finished making our second batch of these delicious treats.
These taste so good, it’s hard to believe they are healthy. Thank you for sharing. 10/10
Forgot to rate it.
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.
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!
Can I switch walnuts for another nut like almonds or cashews?
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.
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!
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.
This really looks so good, I am so excited to make this healthy cookie that I can eat guilt-free with my morning coffee
Can I use applesauce instead of coconut oil?
Hi Anne, I haven’t tried that.
This is the best recipe ever !
Can I make this with oat flour or wheat flour since I don’t have almond flour?
Can’t wait to make it!
Hi Hiya, I’m sorry, the no-bake mixture won’t work the same with wheat flour. You might like these vegan chocolate chip cookies instead: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-chocolate-chip-cookies/
Hi…this looks delicious.!! Can you use dried apricots instead of dates? Anyone tried any other substitute?
Hi Sam, dried apricots aren’t as big and sticky, so I’d stick with dried dates (for structure) for this one.
WOW these are SOOO good. Probably the best recipe in the blog. I didn’t have maca powder, and they were still great!
Yay, I’m so glad you loved them!
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.
thanks for the tip! I’m glad you enjoyed these.
Love your recipes, would be great if you could put the grams measurements as well.
I’m excited to try this recipe! If I’m allergic to nuts (not peanuts), do you have a recommended substitute for the walnuts?
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!
This recipe was delicious! Thank you
What can I sub almond flour with? It’s not something most people have lying around so a more accessible flour would be good.
Hi Maria, I haven’t tested this recipe with another type of flour, but both of these awesome cookie recipes use regular flour. I’d give one of these a try instead: