Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

A decadent fudge filling sandwiched between soft peanut butter cookie dough makes these easy peanut butter fudge bars absolutely irresistible!

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

I feel like more desserts would go far in life if they channeled the make-me-love-you features of these peanut butter fudge bars.

First, easy. 

Sometimes layered bar desserts like these can seem intimidating because, well, layers. But these dreamy peanut butter bars couldn’t be easier.

Soft and buttery peanut butter cookie dough is mixed together in one bowl. And a super simple fudge filling is melted in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Press, spread, crumble, bake. DONE!

Second, delicious. 

The key to these bars is to NOT overbake them. In fact, they are divine just slightly underbaked.

The peanut butter cookie dough stays ultra-soft, and with that decadent fudge filling, each bite is reminiscent of a creamy peanut butter cup. Just in bar form.

The yum factor is really high on these babies.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Third, crowd-pleaser. 

You’ll notice from the recipe that this recipe makes a lot of bars! The peanut butter cookie dough and fudge layers fill up a half sheet pan (11X17-inch or so size pan).

Alternately, you can bake the full batch of bars in two 9X13-inch pans. Just divide everything evenly among the pans!

However, I get that some of you may not have a need to make a bazillion peanut butter fudge bars. Maybe you don’t want that many temptations staring you in the face? I get it.

So unless you have somewhere to bring them (hello, 4th of July weekend!) or a small country to help you devour them, you can definitely halve the recipe and bake in a single 9X13-inch pan.

Playing the devil’s advocate here, I always make a full batch because the baked bars freeze amazingly well. And you just never know when you’re going to need a stash of peanut buttery fudge bars to get you through the day.

Amen and amen.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

My friend, Mel (yep, great name), sent me this recipe. She’s also the giver of other popular recipes such as this Amazing Key Lime Cheesecake and this Sweet Baked Ham.

If you’ve made either, you’ll know her taste in food is impeccable, and these easy peanut butter fudge bars are no exception.

I took her recipe and basically kept it the same save for increasing the peanut butter cookie dough by another half to make that bottom layer just a little more substantial.

You could keep the layers thin like Mel does – just remember: DON’T OVERBAKE! That really is they key to these dreamy little bars.

I’ve made these many times in the last few months (including making 150 of them for a temple construction lunch) and have passed the recipe on to friends who have tasted, swooned, and subsequently requested the details.

I love that they are so simple – there’s nothing fussy about them! And the delicious combo of peanut butter and chocolate makes you (ok, me) unable to resist the delicious/dangerous treats.

Life is infinitely better when you have a couple simple bar desserts like these peanut butter fudge bars in your back pocket to make in a pinch!

And I promise, they’ll make you look like a rock star.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

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Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

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Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (13.5 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 cups (22.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Fudge:

  • 1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet (11X17-inches) with nonstick cooking spray (see note for other pan size variations).
  2. For the peanut butter cookie dough, in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for another 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until no dry streaks remain.
  4. Reserve about 2 1/2 cups of the dough (20-25 ounces) and set aside. Press the rest of the cookie dough in the bottom and into the corners of the prepared pan.
  5. For the fudge, in a microwave-safe bowl (or in a saucepan on the stove), combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt, chocolate chips and vanilla. Cook for 1-minute increments, stirring in between (or on medium-low heat on the stovetop), until the mixture is melted and creamy; don’t overheat or let it burn!
  6. Pour the fudge filling over the cookie dough layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula or knife.
  7. Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top in small pieces (it won’t cover the top completely-  that’s ok).
  8. Bake the bars for 15 minutes – don’t overbake! The cookie dough should be soft; resist the temptation to let them cook until browned. Let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving. The bars can be cut and stored in the refrigerator, well-covered, for several days or frozen for several months.

Notes:

This recipe can be made in one large sheet pan (11X17-inch) or two 9X13-inch pans OR it can be halved for a single 9X13-inch pan. 

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Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe by way of my friend Mel B.

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

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