These No-Bake Bars Are the Next Best Thing to a Peanut Butter Cup

Despite the fact that I’ve been keeping my family knee-deep in snickerdoodle cake and shortbread, everyone’s been craving peanut butter cups.

To make it, heat 3 tablespoons butter in a pot or skillet, letting the butter melt and bubble and turn brown. It will smell nutty. Add 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, or use almond or another nut butter) and turn off the heat. If the nut butter you use is unsalted, add a pinch of salt. Stir it all around until the peanut butter melts, then stir in ½ cup of something to bind it together. Graham cracker crumbs are traditional. I used almond flour, which worked really well, and I’ve seen recipes that call for coconut flour or shredded coconut. If you’ve got some cookies around you can bear to part with, you could grind them up and throw them in. I’ll bet gingersnaps would be divine.

Now sweeten the mix with confectioners’ sugar to taste. For me, that meant a cup, but taste as you go and stop when you think you can’t stop nibbling.

Spread the mixture into a parchment- or foil-lined 8-by-8-inch pan, but, really, any pan will work. You could even pop some liners into a mini-muffin tin and divide the peanut butter mixture among them for homemade peanut butter cups.

To make the topping put 6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate into a small pot or microwaveable bowl. I used extra bitter (70 percent) to balance the sugar in the peanut butter mixture, but use what you’ve got. Add ½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter and melt the chocolate either on the stovetop on low heat, stirring constantly, or in the microwave in 20-second bursts, stirring in after each one.

Spread the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you like, or shredded coconut or sliced almonds or chopped honey-roasted peanuts. Crushed pretzels would have been my choice if we had them, but, since we didn’t, I left the chocolate alone.

Refrigerate until the peanut butter and chocolate layers are set, about an hour or so. (And store them in the fridge after cutting; they’ll melt in a warm room.)

You can cut these into bars or squares with a knife, or use cookie cutters to make cute shapes if you need a project for the kids. Or even the adults, because this kind of thing never gets old.

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