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Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

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Chocolate peanut butter squares

When it comes to sweets, I’ve learned that you cannot make people much happier than when you combine chocolate and peanut butter. In fact, I don’t know anyone who can resist these indulgent little squares. With a chocolate cookie crust, rich and creamy peanut butter layer, and smooth-as-silk milk chocolate topping, they are simply to-die-for.

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They’re also pretty easy to make…

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You start with the crust: simply combine Nabisco chocolate wafers (which you can find in the cookie aisle at most grocery stores), butter, sugar and a bit of peanut butter in a food processor and blitz to blend. Press the fine crumbs into a pan and bake.

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Next, make the peanut butter filling by combining peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar, dark brown sugar and salt in a mixer.

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Melt the chocolate and cream gently in the microwave. When working with chocolate, always go easy on the heat so it doesn’t scorch.

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Finally, put it all together: spread a thin layer of chocolate over the cooled crust (this “glues” the peanut butter layer to the crust, otherwise it won’t stick); spread the peanut butter mixture into an even layer over top; then cover with the remaining chocolate.

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That’s all there is to it! These bars freeze beautifully so you can make them well in advance; simply defrost them in the refrigerator the day before you plan to serve them.

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Be sure to cut them into small fudge-like squares…they’re very rich. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Servings: 25 small squares

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 22 Nabisco Chocolate Wafers, finely crushed (or about 1-2/3 cups crumbs), from 1 box
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural "No Need to Stir")

For the Filling

  • 6 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups Confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
  • Pinch salt

For the Milk Chocolate Ganache Topping

  • 1 (11.5 ounce bag) milk chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli or similar quality)
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Make the crust: Combine the chocolate wafers, sugar, butter and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan (I spread it with my hands first, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out). Bake for 8 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.
  3. In the meantime, make the peanut butter filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at low speed until just combined (do not whip). Set the bowl in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache topping: Combine the milk chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave at medium power (50%) for 1 minute. Stir until the bowl no longer feels warm. Continue heating at 15-30 second intervals, stirring until chocolate is smooth and melted. Do not overheat.
  5. Put it all together: Spread about ¼ cup of the chocolate mixture evenly over the cooled crust; place the pan in the freezer until the chocolate is set, 5-10 minutes. Spread the peanut butter mixture into even layer over the chocolate (if it's firm, you can use your hands; if it's soft, use a butter knife or an offset spatula). Give the chocolate ganache a quick stir to smooth any lumps, then spread it evenly over top of the peanut butter layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 hour to set (or, if you're not in a hurry, you can just leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours). When firm, use a sharp knife to cut into squares (make them small as they are very rich!). Run an offset spatula underneath the bars to release the crust so it doesn't crumble. Keep refrigerated and serve cool.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: These can be frozen tightly covered for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Reviews & Comments

  • Yummy! These are a new favourite. Was great to add to the holiday dessert tray and I will definitely make these again soon. I love the slight crunchiness of the cookie crust bottom contrasting with the smooth and so delicious chocolate ganache topping. The peanut butter filling is perfect – not cloyingly sweet like the candy bar, but just right!

    • — Sandra H, Winnipeg, on January 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • When my husband gets to choose the dessert he almost always wants something with peanut butter. I found this recipe and read the reviews( I always do my research). This recipe turned out great! If you even remotely enjoy peanut butter cups you will love these bars…. they are the adult version of the popular candy! This site is quickly becoming one of my favorite resources!

    • — Laura Shelton on December 8, 2018
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  • Hi Jenn, I made this and they turned out pretty well! My only problem is that the sugar didn’t really dissolve in the peanut butter mix, so get this crunch crunch from the sugar crystals when eating it.. Do you have any suggestions for how to minimise that? Or is that just how this turns out?

    Thanks!

    • — Francisco on September 16, 2018
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    • Hi Francisco, Did you use confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) or granulated sugar for the filling?

      • — Jenn on September 16, 2018
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      • Thanks for the reply Jenn!

        I used icing sugar (I think that’s the Australian term for confectioner’s sugar!). The very white, powdery type

        • — Francisco Sadras on September 19, 2018
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        • Hmmm… that’s a head-scratcher, Francisco – the filling definitely shouldn’t be grainy as confectioners’ sugar isn’t grainy at all. Is there any chance that the texture you are referring to may have come from the crust (as that has a bit more texture)?

          • — Jenn on September 21, 2018
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          • No worries, they were still delicious!

            • — Francisco on September 28, 2018
  • Could these be frozen to keep longer?

    • — Amanda on July 17, 2018
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    • Definitely – they freeze beautifully!

      • — Jenn on July 18, 2018
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  • Made these for the Bachelor finale and they were a huge hit!

    • — Elly on March 6, 2018
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  • These are delicious – almost as delicious as your peanut butter torte! My crust was a little crumbly – I’m wondering if melting the butter – like in the torte – would keep the crust together more

    • — Julia Lopresti on March 3, 2018
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    • Hi Julia, Melting the butter wouldn’t make a difference. If you’re a fan of the peanut butter pie, you could get away with using that crust here.

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2018
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  • I rate these 5 stars. They are so yummy. My family loved them. I wouldn’t change a thing. Perfect as is.

    • — Jean on March 1, 2018
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  • THIS RECIPE IS DELICIOUS, AS ARE ALL OF YOUR RECIPES. HAVING SAID THAT, IT IS NOT A RECIPE FOR THE NON EXPERIENCED COOK. I BAKE A LOT, AND THIS WAS NOT A EASY RECIPE TO ASSEMBLE. IT TAKES BOTH SKILL AND TIME, BUT WAS DELICIOUS.

    • — PEGGGY EIFLER on February 12, 2018
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    • Hmmmm………I am not a baker, but I am a cook, so this makes me nervous since I don’t like to measure things (hence the reason I am not a baker!). I pretty much eye-ball my measurements and my food turns out (I have been cooking for a lot of years), but if this is for a ‘seasoned baker’ any hints since my family all loves peanut butter.

      • — goldee00 on October 29, 2018
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      • Hi, Maybe Peggy will weigh in too, but my suggestions would be just to read the recipe in its entirety before getting started and to measure the ingredients carefully (which is more important when it comes to baking). Hope you enjoy if you try them!

        • — Jenn on October 30, 2018
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  • These bars are amazing! I only wish I had read the recipe more thoroughly because they do take longer to make than I had anticipated. They are definitely worth the wait though!

    • — Carrie Funk on December 2, 2017
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  • rich smooth combo of chocolate and peanut butter. Decadent. I could not find chocolate wafer cookies but I used oreo thin cookies(chocolate) and they worked very well. Another winner.

    • — sheri roda on May 14, 2017
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  • Hi Jen! Love your site and your recipes as do all my guests and especially my husband!! Was thinking of bringing this neat sounding one for a crowd on Mother’s Day. Can I double it and put it in a 9×13 or 15×10? Thanks again for all you do!

    • — Diane on May 11, 2017
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    • Glad you like the recipes, Diane! These can definitely be doubled, but I think you’ll get better results with two 9-inch square pans. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2017
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  • My son is in the army and I’d like to bake and send these. How do you think they would be to package and send? What are your suggestions? Ty so much.

    • — Marlene Pezzuti on April 20, 2017
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    • I’m sure he loves receiving care packages from home! Unfortunately, I don’t think these will travel well as they should really be refrigerated after made. Perhaps you’d want to try these granola bars or rice krispies treats? They both travel nicely.

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2017
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  • After tasting these bars my husband is now saying that Jennifer is a genius! So, hubby, the young, gorgeous chef is sooo clever? 🙁 I made these bars in around ten minutes without a food processor and ‘she’ is the genius! You know what, just between you and me, I think she’s a genius too, because even though I made them super quick by hand I definitely could not have perfected the ingredients and their measurements without Jenn. Bottom line, mouthwatering, memorable, magnificent chocolate peanut butter bars! 🙂

    • — Sarah on March 21, 2017
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    • Tell your hubby thanks ;)!

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2017
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  • These are wonderfully decadent little bites!! I did change the way the cookie base was made. I used Mascarpone as I wanted a little less crumble in the crust (I also like the mouth feel and the taste against the sweetness.)

    • — Sandra Roberts on March 2, 2017
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  • Scrumptious and easy to make. My daughters favorite dessert. We decorate them with a mini chocolate peanut butter cup.

    • — Mike K. on February 15, 2017
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  • Oh man, these are soooo good! I made these for the holidays and they were gone before anything else. Love this recipe.

    • — Pat Kirby on February 15, 2017
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  • For the past 4 years, these have been my favorite treat to share at the holidays. I make 2 double batches and cut into very small squares, put in pretty boxes and give to my work colleagues as holiday gifts. They get rave reviews each year!

    • — Leslie Lloyd on December 1, 2016
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  • replacement for a mixer

    • — Randi on October 20, 2016
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    • Hi Randi, It may take a little “elbow grease” but I think you could mix those ingredients together by hand.

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2016
      • Reply
  • You definitely need to cut these bars into small bite-size pieces because they are SO rich. I couldn’t find the Nabisco chocolate wafers, so I just used Oreo Thins and the crust was just a little crumbly, but not too bad. I think if I make these again, I will leave the sugar out of the crust – it was a bit too sweet, but maybe that was because of the Oreos. I also think I’ll make the top chocolate layer a little thinner – it was just too much for me. I found them easier to cut after letting them sit out on the counter for an hour or so. Overall, great indulgent recipe!

    • — Erikka on October 10, 2016
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  • Can I use semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate?

    • — Stacy on July 9, 2016
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    • Yes Stacy, I think that would work. I’d love to know how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2016
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious, they are extremely rich so I’d cut into 3/4 bite sized pieces. Everyone loved them

    • — Sara on February 5, 2016
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  • Sadly these did not turn out well. The filling was too dry and the base too crumbly. Not sure what happened but followed directions. I think for the cost and effort they were not worth making.

  • I made these for one of our Christmas Eve desserts and everyone loved it. Definitely cut these into small squares as suggested. They are very rich but delicious. Very easy to make, the filling is perfect and I had no trouble with the crust holding together. The addition of peanut butter in the crust did the trick.

    • — Loretta G on December 24, 2015
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  • These are amazing- and you can cut into smaller pieces because they are so rich (and utterly delicious!). definitely stick with the chocolate wafer cookies, in my opinion!

    • — Anthea on October 29, 2015
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  • I’m not sure why but this just didn’t come together the way I hoped. I couldn’t find the chocolate wafers so I used chocolate grahams like someone else suggested. When I tried to spread the chocolate it kept lifting my cooled crust. I ended up dumping all the chocolate on – smoothing it out and PB on top.
    I don’t understand what I did wrong. Heated chocolate for 1 min as you said and kept stirring.

    Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • — Amy on July 13, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, It sounds like your crust didn’t set in the bottom of the pan, which makes sense — graham cracker crusts are very fragile. Try using oreos next time.

      • — Jenn on July 16, 2015
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  • My crew absolutely loved these bars! Soooo rich!

    • — Kelly on May 25, 2015
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  • I loved these bars! The ganache and peanut butter layers were absolutely decadent! I had some trouble with the crust, though. The 3 T of unsalted butter didn’t seem to be enough to hold the sugar and chocolate cookie crumb mixture together. I thought that maybe using the bottom of a glass to pack it into the pan and baking it would do the trick; but when I went to cut the bars, the crust was still crumbly. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Any advice?

    • — Cindy on January 4, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, I’m glad you enjoyed these but so sorry you had trouble with the crust. It’s a little crumbly by nature but you should still be able to cut it. That said, I don’t think you did anything wrong. A few others have said the same thing so I’m going to take the recipe down temporarily for some tweaking. I think adding a bit of melted chocolate or peanut butter to the crumbs will help bind the crumbs together and make the crust foolproof. Thank you for your feedback!

      • — Jenn on January 6, 2015
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      • Hi All, The recipe has been adjusted so the crust isn’t so crumbly. It’s a cookie crust, so it will always crumble a little bit but by adding a few tablespoons of peanut butter to the crust, I was able to make it hold together much better. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on February 1, 2015
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  • My daughter made these yesterday. I’m not sure if she did something wrong, but the chocolate wafer crust totally crumbled when I cut the squares, so there was essentially no crust. Still delicious though! I’m a sucker for PB and chocolate, so I’ll try making them next time. And there definitely will be a next time!

    • — Jessica Ford on July 3, 2014
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  • I will have to try this! Sounds so delicious! Thanks Christy 🙂

    • — Patti on April 19, 2014
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  • I would like to substitute almond butter for the pb. Any suggested modifications?

    • — Deborah on December 12, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Deborah, Should work fine. Please come back and let me know how they turn out.

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2013
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  • My daughter’s friends thought this was the best dessert they had ever eaten … they were in heaven! I made the chocolate early and then failed to reheat it and it was hard to get on the first layer; after the p-butter layer I reheated the chocolate and then it went on easily.

  • These things are irresistible. Cut them in smaller fudge squares and they still fly of the table. I’ve made them several times and like the other comments say, go for the OREOs. The graham crackers didn’t work out for me.

    • — Cameron on November 7, 2013
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  • These were really good but I couldn’t find the chocolate wafer cookies so I substituted chocolate graham cracker crumbs – there wasn’t enough butter I guess because the crust didn’t hold together at all. Next time I will use oreos for the crust if I can’t find the chocolate wafer cookies. They are very hard to find where I live.

    • — Nikki on April 12, 2013
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  • I used Oreo cookies instead of wafers turned out great.

    • — Ruth Ann on March 9, 2013
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  • If there is something better than chocolate and peanut butter, I’d like to know what it is…because this recipe is perfect. xoxo!

  • Delicious. I’ve made them three times… I keep trying to find people to make them for because they are dangerous things to have living at home.

    • — Lara on July 19, 2012
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  • I made these with gluten free chocolate cookies for my mother in law when she came to visit, as she does not eat wheat. Huge success. But I will agree they are very sweet and rich.

    • — Gamermom on June 20, 2012
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  • Just made these bad boys and wow you got two thumbs up from us! You have a new fan!!

    • — Maria P on June 8, 2012
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  • What substitute could be used for the wafers? I live in the UK and can’t find anything similar. I can find graham crackers tho. Would those work? Or digestive biscuits?

    • — Francine Bosco on May 22, 2012
    • Reply
    • Hi Francine, Some people have used Oreo cookies (without the filling) and it worked well. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2012
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  • I made these to bring in for an office luncheon the other day and they disappeared in minutes! I’ve already received requests to make them and bring them in again, this is definitely a keeper!

    • — Sally on May 18, 2012
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  • These were the most delectable desserts I have ever made for a party! Don’t forget to do two layers of ganache (unlike me, who forgot the first one. Still delicious, just messier!)

    • — Michelle on May 18, 2012
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  • Yummmmm yummm mmm…….mmmmm………..so good!!! Thank you for sharing.

  • These look wonderful!
    Can’t wait to make them!

    • — Claire on May 15, 2012
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  • This is one of my Christmas regulars now. If I want any for neighbors and friends-I have to hide them from my family! They are crazy about them!

    • — Marcia on May 15, 2012
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  • I had a problem with the bottom crust. I bought the Nabisco Famous chocolate wafers, but when I counted out 22 of them and put them through my food processor I only got about a cup. Your recipe said it should be about 1 2/3 cup. I was in a quandary. I know sometimes they change they size of cookies, so I thought I would be safer going with the 1 2/3 cups. Mistake. The crust was too thick and crumbled when I cut into the bars. I didn’t think I there was enough butter for that much crumbs but went with it anyway. Could you clarify please? One other thing. My ganache for the top was a bit greasy. I microwaved it very slowly with the cream and it didn’t seize, but it was greasy. Is that because of my chips? ( I didn’t Ghirardelli.) They still are delicious and I hope to get my questions answered so I can give them another try!

    • — Kim Nelson on March 19, 2012
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, Did you by chance pack the cookie crumbs into the measuring cup? That would explain the difference in measurement. 22 cookies is definitely the right amount if you try it again. Also, keep in mind that the crust is a bit crumbly by nature (all cookie crusts are) but you should be able to cut it without too much breakage. As for the chocolate ganache, I think your hunch is right. It’s important to use a good quality chocolate, especially when melting chocolate chips because there are additives. If you can’t find good quality chips, it’s best to use a baking bar instead. Hope all this helps. If you try it again, please let me know how it comes out.

      • — Jenn on March 20, 2012
      • Reply
  • Oh my, these are so YUMMY!! Everyone LOVED them!!

    • — Adrienne Peach on March 8, 2012
    • Reply
  • I entered this recipe in a Chocolate Contest held by my college HMR Club. I won second place!

    • — teresa swann on March 6, 2012
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  • these look really good! I think that my daughter would really like these!

    • — Angela on March 4, 2012
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  • Melting chocolate in the microwave is a lot easier because you don’t have to work over a double boiler. These bars look awesome – can’t wait to make them.

    • — Reed G on March 3, 2012
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  • I made these for Christmas and included them in my cookie tin. It got rave reviews. Thanks! Very easy to make too.

    • — Sri on March 3, 2012
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  • What is confectioner’s sugar? I’m in the UK so it may mean something completely different over here! Icing sugar?!

    • — Fern on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
    • Fern, It is the same as powdered sugar. Hope that helps.

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2012
      • Reply
  • These are rich and delicious for true chocolate lovers like my son who loves these!

    • — meredith Lovelss on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • Thanks, these were a HUGE holiday party hit!!

    • — Randi on March 1, 2012
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  • These are so easy and so delicious. I always make two recipes at a time. One to eat right away and one for the freezer. Although, sometimes the freezer batch never makes it to the freezer!

    • — Susan on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • These are incredible and easy. Always have a pan in my freezer!

    • — Kathy Kearney on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I just made these for a bunko party I’m hosting tomorrow night. They are delicious. I love your recipes and your balance of both healthful and indulgent, both of which I believe have a place in life.

    • — Courtney on February 13, 2012
    • Reply
  • Hi, any reason I couldn’t use a dark chocolate instead of a milk chocolate for the chocolate topping? I have a lot of really good dark chocolate and I am looking for some good easy recipes… Thanks in advance for your response.

    Leslie

    • — Leslie S. on August 4, 2011
    • Reply
  • Just finished making this, came out perfectl delicious! Thank you so much, I’m bringing them to my best friend’s house-warming party and I’m sure they’ll be a hit!

  • Really tasty and easy to make! Although.. I used vanilla wafers rather than chocolate cookies, I thought the ganache was chocolate enough. I also used 3 tbls brown sugar and 2 tbls white sugar for the peanut butter layer and it tasted great. I don’t think that much sugar is necessary. Cutting the squares small is very good advice!

    • — j on March 8, 2011
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  • These are really easy to make (and eat!) with kids. We didn’t have chocolate wafers in the house so used Oreos instead, no problem. The cookies disappeared in no time.

    • — Bonnie on February 7, 2011
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  • “These are the most fantastic cookie things.” This is what everyone I shared these with over the holidays kept saying. Thank you for sharing these. I can’t believe they are so easy to make.

    • — Kay Greenfield on January 27, 2011
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  • these look beautiful. my kids would be super happy if they found these sitting under our cake dome!

  • How many calories per square?

    • — Teri on December 14, 2010
    • Reply
  • I might seriously OD on these! My favorite combo…they look absolutely AMAZING!!

  • Irresistible? I would say so!!!!! yUM

  • These look insanely good!!!!

  • YOU… are brilliant 🙂

  • One of my all time favorite combinations. And the pictures bring out their decadecnce. Beautiful and delicious!

    • — Cassie on December 10, 2010
    • Reply
  • Peanut butter and chocolate is the best. Thanks for the recipe!

  • OMG those look so good! I’m going to buy a boatload of peanut butter and chocolate and sit in a stupor all weekend.

    Thanks for posting this recipe!

  • Those look so good! I may have to add them to my cookie collection.

  • Those look amazing! What a delightfully decadent dessert that is the perfect blend of the two best: chocolate and peanut butter. 🙂

    • Totes! Eye luv pb&choc! yeuh gurl!! LAWLZ

      • — Beverly Canush on March 14, 2012
      • Reply

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