It’s holiday potluck time in the office. My husband generally tends to sign up for plastic forks, plates or a bag of chips to contribute to his department’s gathering. I know he’s trying to save me the trouble, but I do love to bake so I finally suggested that I could make something this time. That’s when I dreamed up the peanut butter wonder bars.
Normally I try to stick to gluten-free treats, but these do have gluten in them as they include graham crackers. You can easily make them gluten-free if you replace them with a gluten-free treat (I would probably suggest something along the lines of a gluten-free shortbread cookie or biscuit).
The nice thing about these is that there is no baking required. You do have to allow time for the bars to chill and solidify ,however, so it’s not as quick of a process as it sounds. The making of the bars is actually quite simple and there are not many ingredients.
As you’ll notice, these are not easy to cut into squares and the lines are slightly jagged, as they’re a little tough to cut given the solid nature of the chocolate. They may be a little easier to make with mini M&M’s as well, if you want to give that a try. I put them in the refrigerator uncovered for a few hours, but it may also be easier if you cover them up and only put them in for about one hour.
Bottom layer ingredients:
- 2 cups ground graham crackers
- 4 tbsp melted, unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Top layer ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- M&M’s (mine are holiday themed)
- In a food processor, grind up your graham crackers until they’re a very fine crumb. Add them to your mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar and melted butter and mix a little bit.
- Add the peanut butter and continue to stir by hand until it appears to be well combined. It will still look a little crumbly, but will solidify once you press it into the pan.
- Put a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a 9×9 brownie pan, with the sides long and exposed so that you can easily remove it once it’s set.
- Put the mixture into the pan and, with the back of a spoon, press the graham mixture down firmly into all corners.
- Put the semisweet chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Take out and stir.
- Add the tbsp of peanut butter and heat for another 30 seconds. Take out and stir again and ensure it is all melted.
- Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the graham crust and spread out evenly in the pan.
- Sprinkle M&M’s on top of the chocolate.
- Cover and put into the refrigerator for about an hour, or until it appears to have set and solidified.
- Cut into squares. Since mine was very solid, I had to make small incisions all along the line that I wanted to cut. The bars mostly broke apart where they felt like it. They will taste just as good. 🙂