Yum! Easy and delicious vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars! I don’t mean to yell at the beginning of every post, I just get super excited when I really love a new recipe. We are a sweets-loving household, well two out of three of the residents love sweets. The other member is team savory, but he doesn’t complain one bit when I test sweets. Especially if it contains peanut butter.
So the plan for these peanut butter cookie bars was a soft gooey cookie, not hard and crunchy. They are slightly underbaked to keep that gooeyness, then when they cool the peanut butter will firm back up so the bars aren’t crumbly. They will fall apart if you cut them while they’re still hot. Let them cool completely for the peanut butter to firm back up.
How to Make Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
Tips For Using Natural Peanut Butter
I use natural peanut butter for this recipe, the kind you need to stir. If you’re lucky you might be able to find a jar that’s just peanuts ground up, no other ingredients. If not your second best shot is peanuts and salt being the only two ingredients. Smucker’s brand can be found at a lot of stores and makes a creamy natural peanut butter that’s just peanuts and salt. As a note, if you substitute with regular peanut butter (not natural), you may get different results since they usually contain oils and sweeteners.
Also even after stirring natural peanut butter, the contents on the bottom of the jar can be drier because the oil separates and moves to the top. Just a reminder in case you are using peanut butter from the bottom of the jar and it’s dry. After combining all of the wet ingredients for this recipe, the dough should be thick like cookie dough, very moldable and not crumbly. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon more of plant-based milk.
How to Test if the Cookie Bars are Done
Normally I use the toothpick method or lightly press the top of baked goodies to see if they’re done. For these cookie bars, I want the center to be soft so we don’t bake them all the way like a cake. Lightly press your finger on the top of the cookie bars (careful they’re hot). We want the bars to spring back slightly but not all the way, if it doesn’t spring back at all then bake for 1-2 more minutes.
I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Peanut butter cookie bars are soft, chewy, and vegan. They’re made with whole-wheat flour, oil-free, and easy to make.
- Preheat oven to 350 F(180 C).
- Cream together the peanut butter and sugar with the back of a fork until no longer grainy.
- Then add the plant-based milk and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Smashing large clumps with the back of the fork on the side of the bowl works well. A few tiny lumps are fine.
- In a large bowl whisk together the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix together. The dough will be thick like cookie dough. You may need to get your hands in there to thoroughly mix the dough together.
- Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Press the cookie dough into the dish and spread out to the corners. Use a silicone spatula to help spread the dough out or lightly wet your hands so they don’t stick to the dough and use your fingers to spread the dough out so it reaches the corners of the pan.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes. I don’t cook them until they’re fully baked so they’ll be a little chewy in the middle. To test lightly press the top of the cookie dough (careful it’s hot), if your fingerprint stays, cook for another 1-2 minutes. The top should spring back slightly.
- The cookie bars need to cool completely to set, if you cut the bars while they’re too warm they’ll crumble. I let them cool for around 15 minutes in the dish, then lift them out with the sides of the parchment paper to a cooling rack for another 25-30 minutes.
- Store in the refrigerator and they’ll firm up more.
Notes: I use natural peanut butter, the kind you need to stir. If you substitute with a different type of peanut butter (not the ones that contain just peanuts and salt) you may get different results since those peanut butters contain oils and sweeteners.
If your peanut butter is too dry then your cookie dough will be way too dry, add a tablespoon more of plant-based milk.
Pure cane sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar. Not all brands of granulated sugar are vegan, look for brands that are bone-char free or the vegan label.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: whole-wheat cookie bars, oil-free cookie bars, vegan cookie bars