Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars have a rich, thick, crumbly base with a tasty peanut butter chocolate icing. If you love peanut butter and chocolate, then you have to try this easy recipe!
One bite and you’ll be hooked! These Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars are a simple and delicious treat highlighting those peanut butter and chocolate flavors you love. Plus, the crumbly shortbread adds an incredible texture.
For another tasty bar with a shortbread crust, be sure to check out these Pineapple Bars, Cranberry Shortbread Bars, or these highly addictive Salted Chocolate Caramel Squares. Or just make traditional Shortbread Cookie Bars! And, if you love crunchy cookies, don’t miss these Pumpkin Biscotti that are great for dunking. Chocolate Peanut Butter fans need to try these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars!
Why this recipe is the best!
If you love shortbread, this recipe takes it to a whole new level! Rich and slightly crumbly, the peanut butter flavor makes these bars extra special.
The bottom layer of these bars are a delicious and simple shortbread. If you’ve never had shortbread before, it’s a dense and sweet biscuit that is traditionally made with just butter, sugar, and flour.
Here, there is peanut butter added to the shortbread to give it a deliciously nutty flavor. Baked in the square baking pan, this is a simple and tasty way to make shortbread.
What really makes these bars special is the delicious chocolate peanut butter icing. The peanut butter and chocolate pair perfectly together. Plus, it adds a sweet flavor to a simple bar.
The ingredients for Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars are simple: flour, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, butter, vanilla, and chocolate chips.
- Peanut Butter: The type of peanut butter you use in here depends on your preference. Smooth peanut butter will give a silky finish on the topping, while crunchy will give you lumps.
- Butter: Always bake with room temperature unsalted butter unless the recipe indicates differently.
- Chocolate Chips: The icing on these bars really bring out the sweet peanut butter flavor. You can use either semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips depending on your preference. White chocolate would also be a good substitute here.
Read on to see how easy these bars are to make!
How to Make Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars
These bars are super easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool and the icing to harden, so you can cut them up!
To start, grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Then, line the pan with parchment paper. You don’t have to line it, but it will make removing the bars and cutting them so much easier.
Step 1: In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. The mixture should be smooth and fluffy.
Step 2: Add in the flour and mix until just combined.
Step 3: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to get all of the dough off the sides of the bowl.
Step 4: Press the shortbread dough into the pan using either a rubber spatula or your hands. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the shortbread just starts to get golden in color.
Once the shortbread is done, remove from oven and let sit until cool. You can speed up this process by placing it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to let it cool at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before chilling it.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
This delicious icing couldn’t be easier to make! Literally just two ingredients. you can make this once the shortbread has chilled.
Step 1: In a microwave safe bowl, combine the half cup of peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Step 2: Microwave the chocolate chips and peanut butter until melted. To do so, microwave on half power (50%) stopping to stir every 30 seconds until the mixture is melted.
Step 3: Spread the chocolate peanut butter icing over top the squares. Use a knife or spatula to spread it evenly.
Step 4: Sprinkle on chopped peanuts. This is an optional topping but adds a pretty and crunchy finish to the bars.
You want to make sure the icing is completely set before slicing the bars. You can refrigerate the bars to speed up the process.
When the bars are set, lift them out of the pan using the parchment and cut into squares. You make the squares as large or small as you like.
Store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
These crumbly and sweet bars are easy to make and always a hit! Here are my tips and tricks to make the best Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars every time!
- Use a handheld mixer to mix the shortbread so that the ingredients combine evenly.
- Line the pan with parchment paper so you can easily remove the squares before cutting them.
- Make sure the bars are well chilled before cutting them.
- Store the bars in the refrigerator the icing stays chilled.
- Shortbread has the tendency to be crumbly. The more chilled the bars are, they better the shortbread will stay together.
Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit made with one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Shortbread has a crunch, sweet, and crumbly texture. These Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars are similar in texture to traditional shortbread but have a different variation of ingredients included giving them a more sturdy and flavorful finish.
You may have noticed that shortbread doesn’t contain any leavening agent such as baking soda or baking powder. This helps to give the bar more of a dense and crumbly finish.
The best way to keep baked good fresh is by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Place your cut bars in a container and then use a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cover the layer and add more bars on top. Alternatively, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
More Peanut Butter and Chocolate Recipes!
If you’re crazy for peanut butter and chocolate like I am, be sure to try these fan-favorite recipes!
Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars
- 9 x 9 inch baking pan
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour (240 grams)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup peanut butter
- crushed peanuts for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment; set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat together the brown sugar, butter, ¼ cup peanut butter, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add in the flour and mix until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it into the pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the shortbread just starts to brown. Place on cooling rack and let cool completely before adding icing.
- To make the icing, combine the chocolate chips and ½ cup of peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at half power (50%) stopping to stir every 30 seconds, just until the mixture is melted. Spread the icing on the cooled bars and top with crushed peanuts if using. Let the icing harden completely before removing the bars from the pan and cutting into squares.
- This is a shortbread bar, so the base will not be super sweet and will be slightly crumbly.
- Make sure you are using room temperature butter and peanut butter so that everything gets incorporated smoothly.
- You can use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter depending on your preference.
- Make sure the icing is completely cooled before cutting these into squares. You may want to refrigerate for a couple of hours before cutting.
- Store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Can also be frozen for up to a month.