Makes About 20 Bars


These peanut butter bars are an old school cafeteria recipe. They date from back when the lunch ladies would come in at the break of dawn and set to making the day’s meals from scratch. These lunch ladies were our mothers away from home, always there to make sure we got enough to eat and to offer a kind smile and hug whenever we needed it—and, boy, was their food ever good! Peanut butter treats were usually in abundance in those days since peanut butter was a government commodity, provided in large quantities to lunchrooms. This is a great recipe that requires no baking and tastes the way a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup aspires to. I usually make the batter in the microwave, but I’ve given you stovetop directions (see Stovetop Variation), too.



½ cup (1 stick) butter

½ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups crunchy or smooth commercial peanut butter

2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips



  1. Place the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100 percent power until the butter and peanut butter have melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Use a large spoon to stir the butter mixture until it forms a ball of dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Pat the dough into an ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
  3. Pour the chocolate chips into another microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 100 percent power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Spoon the melted chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula.
  4. Allow the peanut butter bars to cool completely at room temperature until the chocolate hardens, 30 to 45 minutes, or place them in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Cut into 20 squares. The bars will keep for several days when stored at room temperature in a sealed container.


Stovetop Variation

In step 1, place the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter and peanut butter have melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Proceed with step 2 as directed. In step 3, melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Complete the recipe as written.

by joyfulneedles on ‎09-15-2013 01:43 PM

I had forgotten about commodities, especially peanutbutter.  Thanks for the recipe, I will try it out for my knitting group.  I don't like to pre-order, but will watch for the book later this year.