My vintage inspiration for these Classic Peanut Butter Bars came from my grandmother’s wooden box of hand-typed recipes. When we were kids, my grandmother would have several family parties, and she would typically have these yummy treats. These Classic Peanut Butter Bars are a homemade, no-bake confection with a layer of creamy, sweet peanut butter topped with chocolate. This recipe is also known by other names such as: “peanut butter buckeye bars”, “lunch-lady peanut butter bars,” or “no-bake peanut butter bars.”
Baker’s tips for Classic Peanut Butter Bars:
Crush your own whole graham crackers:
Crush your own graham crackers fresh instead of buying them in a pre-ground box. I use the Nabisco brand which doesn’t have as many chemicals, artificial flavoring, or high fructose corn syrup as some other leading brands.
Tips for the chocolate:
The recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips, but depending on how you sweet or dark you like your chocolate you can use milk or dark chocolate chips here too. I personally like the flavor of dark chocolate, so I use a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. For the best flavor, only use chocolate chips that do not contain artificial ingredients. My favorite brand to use is Ghirardelli . The easiest way to melt chocolate chips is in the microwave by placing half of the chocolate into a glass bowl and microwave for 30-seconds. Then add an additional half of the chocolate and continue to melt in 30-second increments until it is all melted and smooth.
Use high-quality peanut butter, or grind your own:
I’ve modified the vintage recipe to use a combination of chunky and creamy peanut butter to give a little more texture into the base. Be sure to use an-all natural peanut butter that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. You can easily make your own homemade peanut butter from fresh roasted, salted peanuts in which you just place in food processor and blend until creamy.
Use good vanilla to enhance the flavor:
Always use good quality all-natural, pure vanilla extract in your baking. If you purchase vanilla, be sure it only contains vanilla beans and alcohol. I make my own vanilla, which is super simple to make: Take 8 oz. of bourbon and add 5-7 vanilla beans that are spilt down the middle and let it sit for 3-6 months. As you use it replace the bourbon and add more beans. Store in dark, cool place and it can last many years. I prefer to use bourbon but you can also use vodka.
pan size determines bar size:
I like to use a glass 9×13 pan for these bars so I can see the layers, however, if you prefer thicker bars, use a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan.
Try my other bar recipe: Vintage Payday Cookie Bars
Classic Peanut Butter Bars
- 2 c. graham crackers crushed fine
- 2 1/3 c. confectioners sugar
- 1 c. unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Chocolate top layer
- 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Grease 9×13 pan or quarter sheet pan.
- In a food processor, crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add melted butter, confectioners sugar, peanut butter, salt and vanilla. Place mixture in bottom of pan.
- Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together and spread over the base layer.
- Refrigerate 1 hour and cut into bars. These are best kept in refrigerator.