Sticky Peanut Cookie Bars

Alright, all of you peanut butter and chocolate fans-watch out! I have a recipe that is going to knock your socks off and have you running into the kitchen to whip up a batch of these cookie bars. A buttery salted peanut shortbread covered by a thick layer of bittersweet chocolate and topped with caramel candied peanuts-does it get any better than that? Not for a peanut butter and chocolate fan like me! 🙂 The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the chocolate to set! If you have never made your own caramel before it is super easy. The most important thing to remember is not to stir the sugar-water mixture while cooking, you only want to gently swirl the pan. If you stir the mixture, the sugar will recrystallize and you will have a mess. Trust me on this one, I have ruined many batches of caramel by accidentally stirring it.

One Year Ago: Butterfinger Blondies 

Sticky Peanut Cookie Bars

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For the Shortbread:

  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small chunks

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 6 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

  • 1 1/2 cups salted roasted peanuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8-inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Place another piece of parchment paper in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan). Butter the parchment.
  2. To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse peanuts, flour, and sugar to combine. Remove cover of food processor and sprinkle the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with 12 1-second pulses, until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle chopped chocolate over the crust and transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the topping. Once the chocolate has melted, use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the crust.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil swirling the pan gently(do not stir), until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until it is a caramel color, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and carefully stir in cream and vanilla extract. Stir peanuts into caramel mixture and immediately pour over the chocolate base. Sprinkle salt over peanut bars and allow to finish cooling. Cut into rectangles and serve.

Yields: 16 squares
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes

Source: adapted from Chow

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15 Responses to Sticky Peanut Cookie Bars

  1. Karen says:

    These look positively addictive! All my favourites in one pan. Thanks (a lot)!

  2. I love chocolate and peanuts together, these look awesome!
    great photos!

  3. The chockfull of peanuts on top looks incredible!

  4. twinkleteacher says:

    Homemade treats make me happy! And I’m all about the happy. Look for twinkles, follow the winks, find your happy. 😉

  5. Love this. Just need to be modified for a boyfriend with peanut allergies… sigh… would probably be amazing with cashews

  6. Michael Ann says:

    These look incredible. I didn’t think anyone could create any more pb and chocolate combos that would be worth trying. I have several recipes I already love. But you’ve done it again! I will be trying this for sure!

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m in favor of anything with peanuts & chocolate, Christina, and these look oh, so, very good!

  8. KeepItSweet says:

    I don’t think I’d be able to wait for the chocolate to set at all!

  9. yeah it’s like turtle meets shortbread. Fantastic. I’d like some of these sent to … Hamburg Germany! I’ll pour my milk.

  10. Karista says:

    Oh Yum! You always have the most mouthwatering treats on your blog! My go to for all desserts!

  11. Kristina says:

    Theres no way I’d wait for the chocolate to set! These look awesome! I’ve never made sticky peanut bars, its sounds too good!

  12. spiffycookie says:

    Wow those look good! What a great idea.

  13. sweetcraving says:

    ohhhh myyyy, that is literally 3 of my favourites all crammed together. Cant resist peanuts, definately favouriting this for a midnight snack! 🙂

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