Peanut butter lovers… I’ve got a treat for you.
This recipe combines the irresistible flavors of peanut butter, chocolate, and a secret ingredient – desiccated coconut!
It’s perfect for anyone craving a rich and satisfying dessert. But be warned, it’s very rich, so you’ll need a glass of milk to help wash it down.
I won’t be held responsible for what happens if you don’t follow my advice!
Psst… you can call them slices or bars – they’re both the same thing!
Why you’ll love these peanut butter slices
- Who doesn’t love a mixture of peanut butter and (3 types!) of chocolate
- The crumbly short-bread like texture
- The ‘secret’ desiccated coconut adds a delicious creaminess
- They’re quick to make
- And freezer friendly, so you can make a big batch
- They’re guaranteed to make people smile
- You can make cool patterns with the chocolate swirls
Here are the key ingredients you need to make these peanut butter slices come to life.
- Unsalted butter: A key component in the base, it helps create that crumbly, shortbread-like texture. Salted butter is okay too, but expect a more savory falvor.
- Smooth peanut butter: The star of the show, it features in both the base and the topping for an extra peanut buttery punch.
- Plain flour: Sifted, this helps hold the base together and provides structure to the slice. You need to bake the bars to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar is my favorite type of sugar because it has a rich, caramel-like flavor. But you can use white sugar too.
- Desiccated coconut: A little twist in the recipe that brings some creaminess and tropical flair.
- Egg: You need this to help bind the base!
- Dark chocolate: The most prominent chocolate flavor, dark chocolate’s slightly bitter flavor helps balance out the sweetness from the base. Use good quality chocolate.
- White and milk chocolate: For drizzling on top and making you dessert look pretty!
Step 1: Preheat and prepare the baking pan
Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Line a 20 x 30cm lamington pan with baking paper, leaving a slight overhang on all sides for easy removal later.
Psst… I create a cross with the baking paper to make sure of maximum coverage.
Step 2: Create the peanut butter base
Combine unsalted butter and smooth peanut butter in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring for 1-2 minutes until melted.
In a large bowl, mix the sifted plain flour, brown sugar, desiccated coconut, beaten egg, and the melted butter mixture.
Mix until there are no flour streaks left, then stop mixing because you don’t want to overwork the flour.
Press this mixture into the base of your prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 10-20 minutes or until golden. Then allow the base to cool for 10 minutes while you prep the chocolate topping.
Step 3: Make the chocolate layer
Melt chopped dark chocolate in a double boiler.
Pro tip: to make a double boiler, set a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Stir until the chocolate is smooth and fully melted.
Psst… you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave using short bursts of 10-20 seconds and stirring in each break. But be very careful not to burn the chocolate.
Pour the melted dark chocolate over the cooled peanut butter base, spreading it evenly and smoothing it with the back of a spoon.
Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until set.
Step 4: Add the drizzle
Melt the chopped white and milk chocolates in separate heatproof bowls, using the same method as in step 3.
Whisk an extra spoon of peanut butter into the melted white chocolate until smooth.
Now the fun bit!
Drizzle your slice with the melted milk chocolate, followed by the peanut butter-white chocolate mixture in any pattern you want.
Set in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
Step 5: Cut and serve
Using the overhanging baking paper, lift the slice out of the pan and cut it into 12 squares.
Enjoy with a glass of milk on the side!
What peanut butter should I use?
For this recipe, it’s best to use smooth and creamy peanut butter.
This will ensure the base has an even, creamy texture. Sadly, natural peanut butter doesn’t work that well in this recipe because the natural oils are too prone to separating, which can lead to the bars not setting properly.
Try brands like Bega in Australia or Skippy or Jif in America.
How to cut peanut butter bars
First, you need to make sure the bars are completely set. This will ensure you get clean slices.
You don’t want the chocolate to be too cold or it might crack (disaster!).
Before cutting the slices, take them out of the fridge and let the chocolate come up to room temperature.
And you can go even further by running your knife under hot water to warm it. The warm metal will glide through the chocolate easier (remember to wipe the knife dry, though!).
When it comes to the actual cutting, you need to be gentle but firm. And wipe the knife clean between each cut.
Then use a spatula to separate the slices before serving them.
How to make this recipe no-bake
Sometimes you don’t want to be faffing around with the oven. And luckily, you can easily adapt this recipe to make it no bake!
The texture won’t be as crumbly as biscuit-like, instead becoming softer.
But it’ll still be delicious.
Here’s how to make a no-bake base:
Combine 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers or digestive biscuits with 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter and 1 cup smooth peanut butter. Add sugar to taste.
Press this mixture into the bottom of a parchment-lined baking tray, and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to set.
While you’re here, check out my no-bake peanut butter cookies. They’re so simple and delicious!
Variations and substitutions
Another great thing about these bars is that you can easily modify them to suit different tastes and diets.
- Nut-free: Replace peanut butter with sunflower seed butter, tahini, or cookie butter for a nut-free alternative.
- Gluten-free: Swap out the plain flour for a gluten-free flour blend.
- Vegan: Use vegan butter or coconut oil in place of the unsalted butter, and applesauce instead of the egg. Also, make sure your chocolates are vegan-friendly.
- Use a different nut butter: For a twist on the flavor, try using almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.
- Add-ins: Customize the base by mixing in some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or even chocolate chips for added texture and flavor.
- Toppings: Get creative with the toppings by adding crushed cookies, toffee bits, or even a sprinkle of sea salt to enhance the flavors.
Here’s an extremely fancy no-bake version. They look incredible!
Can I use a different size pan?
Yes, you can use a different size pan for this recipe. But you’ll need to adjust the recipe’s baking time accordingly.
Here are some tips for using alternative pan sizes:
- Smaller pan: If you use a smaller pan, the layers will be thicker. So you may need to add a few extra minutes of baking time to ensure the base is cooked through. The chilling time for the chocolate layers may also be slightly longer.
- Larger pan: For a larger pan, such as a 9×13-inch rectangular pan, you’ll need to double the recipe to ensure the layers are thick enough. Keep an eye on the base as it’s baking, because it might cook quicker due to the increased surface area.
- Different shapes: You can also use round pans. Just try to keep the surface area similar to the original pan size (20 x 30cm) to maintain the intended thickness of the layers.
To store these peanut butter slices, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Separate layers with parchment or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together.
I don’t recommend keeping them at room temperature for prolonged periods of time because the chocolate can melt. But if you live in a cool climate, it might be okay.
The slices also freeze really well. Separate slices with parchment paper and wrap them in foil or plastic wrap. Then place them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. They naturally freeze well, as peanut butter freezes well, alongside the rest of the ingredients.
To serve frozen slices, remove the desired number of slices from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften the chocolate and peanut butter.
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Slice
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 1 cup 280g smooth peanut butter, plus 2 tbs extra to drizzle
- 11/2 cups 225g plain flour, sifted
- 3/4 firmly packed cup 165g brown sugar
- 1 cup 90g desiccated coconut
- 1 egg beaten
- 250 g good-quality dark chocolate chopped
- 50 g white chocolate chopped
- 50 g milk chocolate chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 x 30cm lamington pan with baking paper, leaving 4cm overhanging on all sides.
- Combine the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until melted. Place the flour in a large bowl with the sugar, coconut, egg and butter mixture and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the base of the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 10 minutes until golden (I had to bake for 10 minutes longer). Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth, then pour over the base and chill for 30 minutes until set.
- Melt the white and milk chocolates in separate bowls as above. Whisk the extra 2 tbs peanut butter into the white chocolate until smooth. Drizzle slice with melted milk chocolate, followed by the white chocolate mixture. Chill briefly until set. Using the paper, lift the slice out of the pan and cut into 12 squares.