Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Bars are the softest cookie bars with a fudgy concoction sandwiched between layers of peanut butter dough. So easy, these bars are the perfect cure for an afternoon sweet tooth.
It's amazing how food can stir up long-forgotten memories and evoke strong emotions. A smell can stop you in your tracks. A picture of an old family-favorite recipe can turn those memories vivid again.
I recently came across an old family recipe card and was instantly transported back to my childhood. The recipe card is yellow with age and is marked with many splatters and smudges...battle scars of a well-used recipe. I could practically smell and taste these bars... Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter bars. I vividly remember the texture and the rich peanut butter flavor. These were definitely a family favorite and my mom made them often.
Making Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Bars
I knew I needed to make these bars immediately. The dough and filling come together easily and as they bake, the peanut butter aroma fills the kitchen. The bars are so moist and rich with peanut butter and fudge flavors.
I did, however, tweak the recipe slightly. The original recipe calls for Oleo, or margarine as it is more commonly called these days. My mom frequently baked with margarine and shortening. Maybe it was a '70's thing. But, I opted for butter in place of the Oleo in this recipe.
Secondly, the original recipe calls for Coconut Pecan frosting mix (as an optional add-in for the filling). I don't even know if frosting mix is still available these days (and I didn't search for it), but I chose to omit the coconut-pecan aspect altogether. I remember these bars for their rich peanut butter and chocolate flavor and that is what I was craving now. And lastly, I increased the amount of chocolate chips from 1 cup to an entire bag. More chocolate always wins out, right?
The result? Rich, moist bars with a fudgy center that cry out to be consumed with a large glass of milk. Exactly how I remember eating them as an afterschool snack all those years ago. A scrumptious treat!
These bars are so easy to make and result in the most peanut butter-chocolatey deliciousness! The recipe makes a large 9x13 pan, so they are ideal for feeding a crowd or selling at bake sales.
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Fudge-Filled Peanut Butter Bars
- 1 box yellow cake mix (15-16 ounce box)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ½ cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 large eggs
- 11-12 ounces peanut butter and milk chocolate morsels (OR semi-sweet chocolate morsels)
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, peanut butter, eggs, and ½ cup melted butter. Stir until dough comes together. Press ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 cake pan. (Save the remaining dough to use as the topping.) Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Melt over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and combined. Spread mixture over the dough in pan. Crumble the remaining ⅓ dough over the top of the filling.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.