For years when my kids were at home, I kept peanut butter cookie dough (either homemade or logs of store bought) in my freezer, along with some candies, to make these bars in a matter of a few minutes. Everybody loved them. The sugar-free version can be just as popular with your crew!
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- COOKIE BAR LAYER:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- ⅓ cup plus 1 TBSP Pyure (or Gentle Sweet or Homemade Pyure or other stevia blend) Or use ¾ cup of a cup-for-cup sugar sub
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- GANACHE TOPPING LAYER:
- 1 cup peanut butter, melted and loosened but not too hot
- 1½ cups sugar-free chocolate chips (almost one bag of Lily’s chocolate chips)
- CANDY TOPPING:
- The equivalent of 4 to 6 fun sized candy bars. You can use any of these sugar-free recipes---found in my cookbook, Sugar-Free, Flour Free
- Homemade Take Five Bars crushed with extra nuts OR
- Pay Day Drops crushed with chocolate chips (resulting in a Baby Ruth candy of sorts) OR
- Homemade White Chocolate Drops crushed with chocolate chips and nuts OR
- White Chocolate Cereal Mix crushed finely OR
- No Bake PB Bars or Buckeyes crushed OR
- Sugar-free candy bars with almonds, toffee, etc.—sort of sugar-free versions of Hersheys With Almonds, Heath, or Reese’s Cups
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Stir together all cookie bar base ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended.
- Line 8” x 8 “ baking pan with parchment that comes up the sides some. Spray parchment with cooking spray.
- Press cookie dough into parchment until even.
- Bake at 350° convection for 10 to 12 minutes (12 to 15 minutes regular oven) until puffed and lightly browned.
- Cool for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Prepare candy topping by placing all of your candy in a zipper type bag and crush with a mallet until crushed but not powdered.
- Prepare Chocolate Ganache: Melt chocolate chips slowly in microwave or double boiler. (Follow Chocolate Melting Instructions on page 99.) Stir loose (but not hot) peanut butter into the melted chocolate chips.
- Spread the ganache over the almost-cooled bars.
- Sprinkle crushed candy evenly over the ganache while it is still warm/soft.
- Allow to cool on counter or in refrigerator until ganache is firm but still somewhat soft.
- Cut into bars and serve or freeze.
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Very Low Carb (VLC): This is low carb yum—but once again, it is extremely calorie dense.
Family-Friendly (FF): Kids love these bars. The dilution factor (see post at the blog) plays an important role in how well these bars are received. There are many familiar flavors (i.e. peanut butter, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.).
Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): For the final product that these are, this is an SBS’s delight. Not that much time yet an incredible impressive healthy treat. You can always buy the candy topping if desired (rather than making one that is listed). There’s a reason that I called the sugar-filled ones my “Ten Minute Hospitality Solution” on my parenting blog! These are actually more attractive and yummier with sugar-free “Heath” and “M and M’s” if you don’t mind less-than-perfect ingredients in your topping!
Homemade Hannah (HH): HH’s might enjoy making your own candy for the topping. I recommend not using straight up chocolate candy for the crushed candy topping. For one thing, it does not crush easily. Also, it is chocolate on chocolate. Using a toffee candy, peanut butter candy, and/or nuts with your chocolate will give it more tastes. When I used to make this sugar-full, I often used Heath bars and Peanut M and M’s.
Freezer Cooking (FC): These do freeze well—either cut into bars and flash frozen or in the baking pan and cut after defrosting. You can also just freeze the bars after baking and do the topping ingredients at serving time.
Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): Definitely an S—with no way to make it an E. But it is also calorie dense, so I would limit it to one a day!
Sugar Free (SF): Can definitely be totally sugar-free, depending on the candies you choose, etc.
Gluten-Free (GF): Yes—again, based on the candies you choose.