Sometimes two things just belong together, like chips and salsa, cookies and milk, pancakes and syrup, or bacon and eggs. Peanut butter and chocolate are another pair that is a match made in heaven! Like seriously…HEAVEN!! These Peanut Butter Bars are the ultimate combo of chocolate and peanut butter!
You all know how much we love peanut butter with a love that goes deeper than that little jar of creamy or crunchy nut bliss. If you haven’t heard our peanut butter story, you can read it here. We really do believe that peanut butter makes almost everything better.
Combine it with chocolate and the world is a happier and sweeter place!
I got this recipe from my dear friend, Kara. She made them for a baby shower that I attended and I knew immediately that the recipe had to be mine. They are devoured every time I take them anywhere now. SO. GOOD!!
Whenever I am at a party or gathering of some kind where there are desserts, I am drawn to dessert bars especially when they appear to include peanut butter and/or chocolate in any form. I’m like a moth to a flame. The new term should be like a Carrian to a dessert bar…seriously!
There are two ingredients in these bars that make them different than most peanut bars out there. First, we use margarine. I know all you baking purists out there are going to start getting hives when you read this recipe and want to swap the margarine for butter or shortening. Trust me on this one! Margarine is just the only way to go here!
Second, the oatmeal gives these bars the best texture and deep full flavor. Plus, oatmeal is nothing but good for you! It helps with weight loss, reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels, and is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. These bars are practically healthy with all that oatmeal in it. Okay, not really at all, but a girl can dream!
Margarine makes another appearance in the frosting, so you’re going to have to trust me again on this one. It just works! This is a creamy and rich chocolate frosting that you will just want to lather all over everything. You will definitely be licking the spatula on this one!
The frosting calls for 1/4 cup of scant cocoa. In baking a scant cup means that you don’t pack it in the cup and you don’t even fill the cup completely to the top.
What is Margarine?
Margarine is a substitute for butter that is made from vegetable oils or animal fats. It is a spread that can be used for flavoring, baking and cooking. It was first created in 1869 in France by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès who had been challenged by Emperor Napoleon III to create a substitute for butter out of beef tallow for the armed forces and lower classes. We don’t use it often in our house, but certain recipes just need margarine! Like our famous caramel brownies from scratch!
Best Spatula Ever
See that little spatula in the picture below? It is one of my favorite kitchen tools because it is the perfect size. It cuts the dessert bars or lasagna or casseroles that are just the right size for a serving. I just love it! We have a phenomenal kitchen store here in Utah called Orson Gygi. I could spend days and thousands of dollars there easily. That is where I got my perfect little spatula. Here is a very similar one. It should be in every kitchen!
If you want to be the most popular person at your next neighborhood gathering or family potluck, make these peanut butter bars! They are just what peanut butter and chocolate should be!
Bar Dessert RECIPES
Looking for more bar dessert recipes? Try our Flourless Monster Cookie Bars, Maple Pecan Pie Bars, Peach Oatmeal Bars, Raspberry Lemon Bars, Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bars, Classic Lemon Bars, Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bars, Sugar Cookie Bars, or our No Bake S’mores Bars!
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Peanut Butter Bars
- 3/4 Cup White Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cups Margarine *see note
- 3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
- 1 Egg, Large
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Oats
- 3/4 Cups Margarine, room temperature
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa, Scant
- 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, plus 1/3 Cup
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cream sugar, margarine, and eggs until well blended
- Add vanilla peanut butter, mix well.
- Stir in dry ingredients, including oats.
- Spread into the prepared 9x13 pan and bake for 22 minutes.
- Cool for 30 minutes then spread with chocolate frosting. (recipe below)
For the Frosting
- Mix powdered sugar, cocoa and margarine in a mixer.
- Add vanilla and milk, mix until creamy.
Mixing these up right now and just realized I don’t know which kind of oats are best… please?
SOOOO glad I finally remembered what I had gotten margarine for – your bars! Can’t wait to indulge!!
Still tryn to fig this out! Can’t search for which kind of oats other creators use right now, so your feedback would be primo!
PS in case it matters and I haven’t said another time/place; your work is my ABSOLUTE fave!!
Hey Jess! It doesn’t matter which kind you use. I like old fashioned oats because they hold their shape a little better and give the bars a good texture. Quick oats work great too. They just blend into the base a little more and have less texture. I hope this helps! Enjoy!!
Ah yes, you are awesome! Ok great, so more of a preference thing. Thank you!
Enjoy! We would love to hear what you think!
When I add the milk to the frosting it doesn’t look smooth, the margarine looks like it’s coagulated or something. Any suggestion on how to get that smooth texture? I’m using cold ingredients.
Hi Marissa! Was your margarine cold when you added it? It should be room temperature. I’ll clarify that in the instructions. That should help the frosting be nice and smooth!
Does it matter what kind of oats to use – quickcooking or old fashioned? Thank you!
Hey there Janet, did you ever find out which kind of oats are best by chance?
I’m so excited to try these peanuts butter bars! Do you know how long to bake in a jelly roll pan. Thanks!
Hi Wendy! It shouldn’t take much longer. I would start with the 22 minutes and then check it. It might just need another 3-5 minutes if it isn’t already done.
You are so right, chocolate and peanut butter do go together so well! I am going to make these in the coming weekend and report back, I hope they taste as good as yours look.
They are a match made in heaven!! Enjoy!
Funny thing is, this is the recipe I’ve used for years… except I DO use butter, and trust me, it’s delicious! The other difference is that I use this very amount in a jelly roll pan (not doubled), but I only bake it for about 15 minutes. So it’s a thinner bar, but an excellent frosting-to-cookie ratio!
Glad to hear it works for butter. Thanks!
No need to publish this…
These look amazing, but I am actually writing about an email I got a couple days ago from you guys, with a tease for “How to make the BEST French Toast”, but when I eagerly followed the link, it came up with a 404 Error – page not found. I did a search for “Best French Toast” – zippo. Are you planning to post that recipe?
Hi Laura! Yes, I’m so sorry about that! The newsletter accidentally got sent out before we were ready to post the recipe. It is scheduled to go live on the blog in a few weeks. Stay tuned! And thank you for your support!
I have literally scrolled up and down this page about a dozen times. Why can’t I see the actual recipe??
Oops! We are in the middle of updating all our recipes to a new format so this one must have gotten lost in the shuffle. We will get that fixed ASAP! In the meantime, here are the details:
3/4 Cup white sugar
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cups Margarine *see note
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Large Egg
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Oats
For the Frosting
3/4 Cups Margarine
1/4 Cup Scant Cocoa
1 1/2 Cups plus
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Cup Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9×13 pan by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
Cream sugar, margarine, and eggs until well blended
Add vanilla peanut butter, mix well.
Stir in dry ingredients, including oats.
Spread into the prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 22 minutes.
Cool for 30 minutes then spread with chocolate frosting.
For the Frosting
Mix powdered sugar, cocoa and margarine in a mixer.
Add vanilla and milk, mix until creamy.
This is HALF of Kara’s recipe, but it should be doubled to go in a jelly roll pan.
No, really, it’s margarine. I know, butter or shortening are what you may be tempted to use, but I agree with my friend, Kara, it just works!
These were SO GOOD! I think I’ll only use 1 tsp of baking soda next time.That would be my only tweak, my family lived them;)
Thanks so much Jen!
I have a question about the frosting for these bars. Assuming the lower case letter “t” means teaspoon, we should add only two teaspoons of cocoa, butter and milk? My instincts tell me the amounts for those ingredients should be Tablespoons. Please clarify. Looking forward to making these on Sunday. Thank you.
Thanks for writing Irene! I’ve updated the recipe so it reflects the proper measurements using the whole word. 🙂
Thanks for the shout out Carrian! Glad you liked the cookies.
why are you always trying to make me fat?
These look delicious- definitely my type of dessert! I love pb & chocolate.