You know, because we don’t have enough peanut butter on this site. Or chocolate. Or cookies. I can almost guarantee once you make these for the first time you will become addicted and have to make them all the time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it makes a ton (they’re baked in a large sheet pan). That can be both dangerous and helpful. Mostly helpful. If I have to feed a crowd, this is my go-to. They honestly are SO fast. The dough comes together in about 5 minutes and they only bake for about 10. And then you can feed a gazillion (okay slight exaggeration) people when you’re done and they will all love you. I originally got this recipe from two friends (thanks Carolyn and Alisa!) and it seems to be one of those recipes that just ‘goes around’. Apparently this was a common treat in school lunches back in the day and I’m starting to feel majorly ripped off that all I got was soggy pizza. If anyone knows the original source, I’d love to know, but it seems to just be traced back to either everyone’s grandma or everyone’s lunch ladies! Let us cook.
These start off like most good things do: with butter and sugar.
In goes yummy nummy peanut butter. Smooth or chunkified, totally up to you.
Then some eggs
Then toss in the dry ingredients
You should have a nice soft dough at this point; a little softer than a normal cookie dough. Definitely take a big ol’ bite of that.
And then add some oats.
That’s it for the dough- just press it into a big rimmed cookie sheet. (By the way, have I ever told you how much I love these pans?? They come with lids. Brilliant. Makes baking stuff like this and then storing or transporting sooo easy. Love love love them.) I usually line mine with foil because I have a thing for covering pans in foil. If I can avoid washing a pan, I’m all for it. Pop that pan in the oven to bake- they only take about 10 minutes.
While those are in the oven, rinse out your bowl real quick and whip up the frosting. Oh my gosh this frosting is so good. It’s melty and buttery and chocolatey and so many other good words I can’t think of right now.
You’ll want to put the frosting on when the bars are still warm, and just after the frosting itself is done. Otherwise it stiffens up and becomes hard to spread.
Mmmm…giant pan of soft cookie…
This next photo is borderline ridiculousness. Dumping melted peanut butter on top of a giant peanut butter cookie and below a layer of ooey gooey chocolate frosting is completely unnecessary. It’s also very delicious.
You can skip this step, or embrace it, depending on how wild you’re feeling that day.
Then pour on that frosting, or rather “plop” on the frosting. Like I said, do it right after you make it and while the bars are still warm so it spreads on easily and doesn’t break your cookie.
Since I took forever taking pictures my frosting isn’t as smooth and glossy as it will look for you. Yours will be beautiful, I promise. I also picked up some of those peanuts from below. It’s all good.
That’s all there is to it, well except for the eating part which is the most important. Once the bars are cool, they are super soft cookie squares with chocolate that melts in your mouth.
You can also eat these slightly warm, and they’re amaaazing. They’re so soft and the chocolate frosting is more like melted chocolate fudge so you’ll want to grab a fork.
These have so much flavor and richness that they also work great with a scoop of ice cream, and heck, throw some hot fudge on there too just for good measure. In fact, this is how we eat them most often at our house. Because a scoop of ice cream makes just about everything better.
Chocolate-Frosted Peanut Butter Bars
Compliments of Lunch Ladies and Grandmothers Everywhere
1 cup real butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups quick oats
optional: an extra 3/4 cup peanut butter, see notes in recipe below
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet (standard half-sheet pan) lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and beat between each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and add mixture to dough. Beat to combine. Add oats and mix until incorporated. Press dough into prepared pan into a flat layer. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, but up to 15-20. I’ve noticed that baking time can greatly differ depending on elevation, product brands (especially the peanut butter) etc. The center should be puffed and set, but still soft. The one thing you don’t want to do is overbake them. So just keep an eye on them.
While crust is baking, prepare frosting. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add butter (make sure it’s soft!), boiling water, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and glossy.
When cookie crust is done baking, if desired drizzle about 3/4 cups melted (just nuke it in the microwave) peanut butter on top and then spread on frosting. Let cool (or leave slightly warm) and cut into squares to serve. If also desired (and what’s not to be desired here?) serve with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. Moan while eating.