There are a lot of parties and gatherings this time of year and I don't usually like to arrive empty handed. That said, I don't always have a ton of time to bake something to bring. These no bake peanut butter squares are a great solution. They can be put together in about 15 minutes with ingredients you probably have in your pantry (though they do need a few hours to set and firm up in the fridge so you still have to plan ahead) and who doesn't love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter?
My friend Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs suggested making these the other day and I'm so glad I decided to bake along with her! I made 1/2 of the recipe using a loaf pan instead of a 9" pan and it worked perfectly. I shared a few with my mailman, I had one and Shane's also eaten his fair share - the squares received rave reviews from all of us! The chocolate layer sets up beautifully and stays firm even after a bit of time out of the fridge. The peanut butter layer will soften a bit if the squares are left out, but it's still delicious. The graham cracker crumbs added just the right bit of texture to the peanut butter layer for me but if you wanted even more crunch you could add peanuts. The original recipe called for 1 cup of chopped peanuts to be added along with the graham cracker crumbs, but I omitted them so Shane would eat these.
No Bake Peanut Butter Squares
from Betty Crocker
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil (leaving an overhang on opposite sides) and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, 1 cup of peanut butter and the vanilla using a hand mixer. (You could probably do this by hand as well - it would just take a bit longer.) Once combined, switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the graham cracker crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Place the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring after each 30 second interval, until fully melted and smooth. I had to microwave the chocolate/peanut butter mixture for 2 minutes to completely melt it but microwaves vary so yours might take more or less time. (You could also melt the chocolate and peanut butter using a double boiler.) Pour the mixture over the peanut butter layer and spread it evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the chocolate is set.
Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan. Remove the foil from the bars and cut into individual squares. Return the squares to the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 hours, or until firm. Store the squares in the refrigerator.