Peanut butter is my go-to ingredient for protein snacks! So many of you have let me know that you use it as much as I do and told me about the different flavor combinations you put together to make your own delicious treats. I decided the work off some of my previous recipes like this one, this one, and this one, and make another delicious, easy snack that has different flavors, textures, and the right amount of savory-saltiness to taste great but not add a lot of extra sodium. These bars are perfect as a snack, a power or energy boost, a great dessert to share, or even as a quick on-the-go meal. Even better, these bars can be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months or stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or a week.
The crust is so simple to make with mini pretzels or use sticks or rods. Allow the parchment paper to overhang the edges so you can easily lift out the cooled, baked product so it can be cut into small or large squares (or any shape you wish- try triangles or circles too). These bars are dense so using a serrated knife to cut them is best. Like my other recipes, these bars can be changed up simply by adding dried fruit, different chocolate or using different peanut butters or brands of peanut butter. This recipe easily doubles–and these bars do not last long, especially at a party. They’re perfect to bring as a gift or to any gathering.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
Makes 16 large or 25 small squares
- 3 cups mini pretzels (unsalted best)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, divided
- ¼ cup peanut butter (smooth or creamy works best)
- ¾ cup peanut butter chips
- 1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish with vegetable spray. Line the sides and bottom of the baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the edges of the paper to overhang.
- Prepare the crust: Add pretzels to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they become fine crumbs (or use a re-sealable plastic bag and crush the pretzels with a rolling pin or heavy can until crumbled). Add in the butter and sugar and pulse until combined (or add the crumbs to a bowl and stir until combined).
- Press the pretzel mix into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Press firmly, using your fingers or the back of a measuring cup, so the crumbs get compacted into the bottom and corners of the baking dish.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine half the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Microwave on high 20 to 30 seconds (or more if needed), stirring often until mixture is smooth.
- Spread half the coconut flakes onto the cooled pretzel crust, followed by half the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips if using.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top then repeat with layers of coconut, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips if using.
- Drizzle the remaining condensed milk across the top.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, use the parchment paper to lift the cooled mixture out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut the mixture into small or large bars.
- Store in an air-tight container for 5 to 7 days or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Freeze bars up to 2 months.
Featured photo by Silviu Beniamin Tofan