Simple and classic Peanut Butter Cookies made easy, in Peanut Butter Cookie Bar form! Filled with chocolate chips, these thick and soft bars are a crowd pleaser.
What in the world is a cookie bar?
I talked about these last week with my Mom and she was confused why I didn’t call them Peanut Butter Blondies, after all, isn’t that the same thing?
No, not quite. A Peanut Butter Blondie will be more ooey gooey like brownies, but without chocolate and with peanut butter instead.
A Peanut Butter Cookie Bar on the other hand has the same hold and texture of a cookie. They have more flour and are thicker. They’re literally a cookie, made in bar form. End pieces will be more crispy like the edges of a cookie, but middle pieces will be soft just like the inside of a cookie. Take your pick!
Forget all the cookie scooping, especially if you’re trying to make several different desserts for a party! Instead, spread your cookie dough in a pan and bake it. After cooling, you just remove the bars from the pan and cut them. Pretty easy, right? 🙂
When I was pregnant with my son I had a coworker who made peanut butter bars that she brought into work every once in a while. I LOVED them. She knew they were my favorite, so one time she brought me a whole pan for myself to take home (the sweetest!!).
I had to recreate my own version of those so I could have them whenever I wanted 🙂 so I took my Peanut Butter Cookies, made some little adjustments, and here you have these fabulous gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookie Bars.
Thick, soft, filled with peanut butter flavor and chocolate chips, these Peanut Butter Cookie Bars are a great party dessert!
Let’s get to a few details!
First, you can use either coconut oil or butter in these bars. I’ve lessened my dairy consumption recently so now I prefer coconut oil over butter almost all the time.. unless I’m making pie for a special occasion. Either one works great though, it’s whatever you prefer.
Now, about sugar: You can substitute brown sugar with coconut sugar, but I wouldn’t recommend changing the sugars anymore then that. If you try and change it anymore than that you could change the texture of these bars and that wouldn’t be good.
Next, PEANUT BUTTER, the star of the show. What kind do I recommend? I recommend a natural peanut butter. I prefer to use more natural peanut butters, and to me the less ingredients the better.
This Summer while I was at the Denver Zoo I heard about the deforestation that’s happening to produce more and more palm oil. One particular way for us to lessen our palm oil consumption (and deforestation) is with the food that we eat, like peanut butter! So now I’ve been enjoying this peanut butter. It’s my favorite natural peanut butter that I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried several!
And what about cornstarch? You can omit it if you want, it isn’t a must-have for these bars. It does tend to make the bars a little more tender though. Cornstarch is one of my secret ingredients for delicious cookies, and it’s one of my favorite tricks I keep up my sleeve!
The last and most important thing to talk about is how to tell when these bars are done in the oven.
It can be a little tricky to tell when a cookie bar is done, kind of like brownies.
You want to check these cookie bars at about 20 minutes, and shake the pan a bit. If you see a jiggle in the middle of the cookie bars then let them bake another couple minutes. You want no jiggle to the middle of the bars. The edges of the cookie bars should have also turned a nice golden cookie color. YUM.
If you need yet ANOTHER dessert during the Holiday season, and are a looking for something gluten-free, dairy-free, with classic flavors that everyone will love and is easy SUPER easy to make.. look no further. These Peanut Butter Cookie Bars are thick, soft, peanut butter-y and oh so delicious. 🙂
Just like brownies, you’ll love how you can pick an edge bar that’s more thick and chewy, or an inside bar that’s more soft and gooey.
Other party desserts I’d recommend would be my gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Gingerbread Cake for a fun Christmas party treat!
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (or butter)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips, dairy-free (optional)
To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, brown sugar, and white sugar and cream them together with a hand mixer for a couple minutes. Add your peanut butter and blend it in till it's smooth. Lastly, add your vanilla and egg and lightly blend them in.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add your gluten-free flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and stir them together.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and stir them together till well combined, forming a smooth cookie dough. Gently fold your chocolate chips into the batter.
Pour your batter into your pan and carefully spread it out and around your pan, till you have one even layer of dough across the bottom of your pan.
Bake in the oven for 20-24 minutes, or till the top is set, the edges are turning more gold, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Gently shake your pan to check if the center jiggles still or not (they're done when there's no jiggle).
Let cool, then remove from the pan and slice into 12 bars. Devour!
Stored in an airtight container these cookie bars will taste best within 4-5 days.
My mom made these for me so I can’t speak to the process or consistency like above… but the taste is dynamite! Love love love!
Chelsea Green says
Awesome, thanks Victoria!
Sue Ess says
Two stars because it was tasty.
HOWEVER, I’m sorry, but my experience was like Lauren’s, above. It was nowhere near pourable.
Also…and another blog warned against natural peanut butter, my favorite, because it would result in an”sandy” consistency. But, I tried it because you wrote that it worked. My results are very sandy. It won’t hold together, like a cookie. So, because it tastes good, I will scoop it into small bowls and top with a scoop of ice cream.
Do you think that we Oceanside folks needed an altitude adjustment?
Chelsea Green says
Hi Sue. I’m sorry these didn’t quite turn out for you as the right texture! I’ve made these with a natural peanut butter and they’ve been a bit more crumbly, but they should still hold together. And you shouldn’t need an altitude adjustment. I think I’ll be re-making these again soon, to be absolutely sure I have the recipe written correctly.
Lauren Barrett says
Mine came out as a thick dough…. there was no jiggle at all. I double checked that I didn’t misread or miss anything in the recipe and everything was done correctly. Is something missing from the recipe?
Chelsea Green says
Hi Lauren. The batter should be thick, but while they’re baking you should see a little movement if you shake your pan, before they have baked through entirely. I also double checked the recipe just to be sure and there is no missing ingredients. What type of peanut butter did you use? And what type of flour? And did you check the bars at 20 minutes first?
I made these last night and they were a hit. I made them dairy free using Earth Balance butter and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Excellent recipe! The only issue was the edges were really high and thick, while the middle looked sunken in. But didn’t affect the taste and was cooked well throughout. My first time making cookie bars. Thank you!! 🍪