Ah, summer… try as you will to make it as hot and unbearable in my kitchen as you can, your efforts are futile. I have defeated your forces once again and prevailed to share a delicious snack with the world.
A little dramatic? Yes, but I’m on a sugar buzz, so cut me some slack.
This recipe is from Betty Crocker and I am not ashamed to admit, uses some help from the store. The bar’s base and crumble topping are made with Betty Crocker’s Peanut Butter Cookie Mix. Taste Tester walked into the kitchen as they were being made and chastised me a little for using a mix. But one bite of the finished bars shut him right up.
You wouldn’t have a clue that this recipe was made with a short cut. It’s a truly great bar that makes for a refreshing summer treat, since they are kept cold in the fridge. With a thick peanut butter cookie base, peanut butter cookies crumbled over the top AND peanut butter mixed into the cream cheese layer, these are super peanut buttery. The cream cheese layer is sort of a cross between cream cheese icing and cheesecake. It’s not light enough to be a frosting, but not baked or thick enough to be a cheesecake.
My only recommendation is that you let the cream cheese get just soft enough that it’s mixable. I think mine got a little too soft (due to the aforementioned hellish temperatures in my kitchen) and therefore the cream cheese layer stayed very soft even after the bars had been refrigerated for hours. If the same thing happens to your bars, I’d recommend taking them out of the fridge just before serving, instead of letting them sit out. I was a bit nervous that they’d totally melt on the hour and a half bus / subway ride to work, but they actually made it without getting sloppy and melted as I feared they might.
Get in your kitchen and make these Chocolate Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Bars. In my opinion the original recipe was a little lacking in the chocolate department, with just that one layer of chocolate in the middle. So I scattered 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips over the tops of the bars. I also followed the baking times from the cookie mix package instead of the recipe since they were slightly different.