As of yesterday, January 13th, I’ve trialed 18 new-to-me recipes this year! That doesn’t count the numerous, and I mean many, recipe re-tests to get things just right. In fact, these Triple Peanut Butter Cup Bars took me several tries. Every batch was delicious, but some were too crumbly, some a little too sweet, but these are just right for all of you pb-aholics out there. Oh, and yes, you can make them with almonds or even nut-free – options included!
365 Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge Update
These triple peanut butter cup bars are a success from my personal 365 New Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge for 2016. My goal is to trial at least 365 new-to-me recipes this year, and that doesn’t even count all of the retesting I am doing to perfect many of those dishes.
My New Dairy-Free Recipe Trials for January 7th through 13th:
- Banana Nut Bread Baked Oatmeal (a few trials and success!)
- Spanish Fried Rice with Bacon and Sweet Potatoes (yum!)
- Thai Turkey Salad (Sun Basket)
- Steak Chimichurri with Winter Greens Salad (Sun Basket)
- Coconut-Braised Cod with Broken Rice (Sun Basket)
- “Milk” Sausage Gravy (success!)
- Gluten-Free, Vegan Cream Biscuits (almost there – sharing this with the gravy next week!)
Just barely eeked in my one per day! I need to up my game in the weeks ahead as I have some travel sneaking up. The ones noted as “Sun Basket” are a prize I won for a healthy recipe / food delivery service (most of what we got was paleo!) where they send you the ingredients and a recipe to follow. It was fun to try out and got me to experiment with some new dinner recipes – man were those salads big!
These Peanut Butter Cup Bars are actually the result of several testing batches of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Granola Bars that I posted about last week in my 365 Recipe Post: Skinny Gluten Free Hamburger Buns. All rounds were delicious, but I wanted bars that were chewy, crispy, cohesive at room temperature and when chilled, loaded with peanut butter, and a little indulgent. I finally succeeded …
Special Diet Notes: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For peanut-free almond butter cup bars, substitute almond butter for the peanut butter and use sliced almonds in place of the peanuts.
For nut-free sun-butter cup bars, substitute sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter (most versions will make them a little sweeter) and use another 1/2 cup of the crispy rice cereal in place of the peanuts.
For less nutty peanut butter cup bars, swap a simple melted chocolate drizzle or glaze for the peanut butter-chocolate frosting. Optionally swap the peanuts with 1/2 cup of additional crispy rice cereal.
- ½ cup honey or agave nectar (for strict vegan)*
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter, divided**
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 ¼ cups cocoa (or plain) crispy rice cereal (I used One Degree Veganic Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps)
- ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 to 1 ½ cups quick oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- ¾ cup dairy-free, semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips)**
- Place the honey in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer and let bubble until it reaches about 245ºF (give or take 5 degrees), about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in ½ cup of the peanut butter and the coconut oil until smooth.
- Stir in the crispy rice cereal and the peanuts. Stir in 1 cup of the quick oats. Stir in additional, as needed - I usually end up using 1¼ cups, but you might want to pack in more. All bits should be nicely coated.
- Press the mixture firmly and evenly into a greased 8x8-inch dish (do not use coconut oil to grease it!). Place the dish in the refrigerator to cool.
- Place the chocolate chips and the remaining 3 tablespoons peanut butter in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave another 30 seconds on HIGH. Stir until smooth. If not fully melted, heat in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted.
- Remove the bars from the refrigerator and pour on as much of the chocolate-peanut butter mixture as you like. You may have extra.
- Place the dish back in the refrigerator to set up, about 20 minutes.
- Cut into squares or bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week (they will be softer but should be cohesive), in the refrigerator (my favorite, I like them chilled), or they can be frozen. If frozen, let warm up a few minutes before digging in - they get a little crispy!
**If you want just a thin coating of the chocolate-peanut butter topping, reduce the ingredient amounts in the topping to 2 tablespoons peanut butter and ½ cup chocolate chips.
I am starting the New Year with cutting WAY back on sugar…I am such an addict! My body hates the stuff though…..These look delish and I am thinking if I just use LESS melted chocolate and drizzle it over the top….that might work ?
I think so 🙂
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Do you have any suggestions for things that can be subbed for the coconut oil? We unfortunately have an allergy in our house. I’m super excited to try this and share with all of my peanut/pb addicts! Thanks in advance!
The coconut oil just helps them firm up a bit more when chilled. You can use palm oil or add more peanut butter (they’ll just be a little softer).
Wow, you are recipe testing machine!! These bars look phenomenal, my family and I would devour them! All of your recent trials sound amazing but that Coconut-Braised Cod with Broken Rice really caught my eye 🙂
Thanks Sonali! The cod was a tasty concept and I loved the flavor, but I think the fish we received had been previously frozen (so gummy!) and the recipe was a little “chef written” in terms of missing some details (made on the fly), but I loved the idea and will certainly be trialing again. Happy to share the recipe with you!
These look absolutely amazing! So much better than the traditional peanut butter desserts!
Thank you Chrissa!
Oh my word. These look amazing! I think I may make these this weekend!!
Those look delicious and sound kid-friendly, too! 🙂
Super kid-friendly! But we adults love them too 🙂
I am one of those PB fanatics! You are making me want to eat these for breakfast 🙂
My husband has been devouring them for breakfast! I froze some that he doesn’t know about for myself.
These look so good, and I really appreciate all the testing you put into the recipe. Can’t wait to try them.
Yum! Peanut butter and chocolate are the best combination! I definitely want to try these!
Oh I can’t wait to try that cereal! I have never heard of them but with my diet those are perfect! Peanut butter bars are the bomb and never last long in my house!
It is a fantastic brand of cereal Jennifer. They have lots of varieties – we’ve tried them all. Tasty and wonderfully nutritious, especially for cereal!
Congrats!!! I can’t wait to see the biscuits and gravy recipe! And thai turkey salad….YUM.
These also look so good! I wish I didn’t live alone. I would eat the entire pan. I have no self control with peanut butter. 😀
Neither do I! I think you’re going to love the gravy recipe Katie, right up your alley.
Can I come to your house and help you “dispose” of any recipe tests that aren’t quite right? I would be really good at it, I’m sure! And if you want to keep trying to perfect this one, I’m your gal. LOL
Haha, that would be nice! My husband loves them but then curses me for all of the sweets he can’t resist!
These bars look delicious! Love that layer of chocolate fudge on top. Can’t wait to see some of the recipes for the recipes you tested this week – the coconut braised cod sounds especially delish!
Thank you Jessica! The cod food / recipe was from Sun Basket and truth be told, the recipe didn’t work out super well. I think it was written by a chef – haha. That said, I loved the flavors and it has made me want to trial and perfect it! Garam masala with white fish was surprisingly amazing.
Oh, how interesting! I really hate when I spend the time trying a recipe that’s published and it doesn’t work. They should hire one of us instead!!
I’d lick the screen if I could!!! Triple PB…drool!! And these don’t look nearly as hard as i thought!
Maybe I should just send you a batch before things get messy 🙂
Ummm don’t tease.
Wow, you are on a roll! I wish I could say I was even half as prolific in the kitchen lately… Or even a quarter, at that. These bars look like real winners, too!
Ah, but the stuff you turn out is mind-boggling Hannah! I’m a simple comfort food gal 🙂
wow, 365 new recipes that is quite ambitious!! but these bars look SO worth the trial and error; it’s hard to beat peanut butter and chocolate
Thanks Heather, they really were and I was so determined!
Anything with peanut butter floats my boat. I’m just in love with this recipe, Alisa. I have to try these.
I’m with you Florian – I didn’t like peanut butter as a kid, but as an adult, I can’t get enough!