Trey is very interested in helping me in the kitchen these days. Partially because he is interested in cooking and partially because he wants to be on this website. He says things like “Oh do you want to take a picture of me for your website”? I may be creating a monster. I wish I could say I was one of those great parents who always loves to have their kids with them in the kitchen. The truth is I love to be in the kitchen alone. I find cooking by myself really relaxing, and cooking with anyone else really annoying. Parent of the year! I have been making an effort to find and create recipes that Trey can easily cook with me. I saw an episode of Pioneer Woman where she made No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars, and they looked both delicious and easy. I veganized her recipe and it turned out to be my new favorite dessert. This recipe is so easy and so tasty. Trey helped me make them and he was also pleased with the results. Try making these No-Bake Bars next time you need to make a quick and easy dessert, with or without a little helper.
The first step in making the bars is to cream together softened Earth Balance and peanut butter. We used a stand mixer when I made these with Trey. The next time I made them I mixed everything by hand and it worked just as well. Trey loved crushing the cookies in preparation for adding them to the bowl. I used Trader Joe’s Cat Cookies that I had on hand, but any vanilla flavored vegan cookie would work here. I poured 1.5 cups of Cat Cookies into a plastic bag and let Trey whack the cookies with the rolling pin. He thought it was awesome.
You can use whatever peanut butter you have on hand for both the base and the frosting. I used the freshly ground peanut butter from Whole Foods (the kind that is just peanuts) and it was delicious. Some recipes call for peanut butter that is mixed with extra oil to make it super creamy. I didn’t find that necessary here.
For the frosting you can make it in a double boiler or in the microwave. I took the easy way out and made it in the microwave. When using the microwave to melt chocolate I use 30 second intervals. I use a large microwave-safe bowl and run the microwave for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds I stir the chocolate around then put the bowl back in for another 30 seconds. Then I stir again. At this point it may be completely melted, but sometimes it needs another 30 seconds. Stirring after every interval prevents the chocolate from scorching on the bottom. For this frosting I used the interval method and had both the chocolate chips and the peanut butter in the bowl. Trey loved spreading the frosting on top…and licking the spatula afterwards!
Let the bars set in the refrigerator for at least an hour before slicing. I love having an easy, no-bake recipe like this in my back pocket. I’ll be using it for kids parties and BBQs this summer.
- ½ Cup Earth Balance, softened
- ½ Cup Peanut Butter
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1½ Cups Vegan Vanilla Cookies, crushed
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- ¼ Cup Peanut Butter
- Base: Cream together Earth Balance and peanut butter. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add in cookie crumbs and chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. Add mixture to a greased 8x8 pan. Press mixture into pan until flat. Set aside.
- Frosting: Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler or in the microwave. In the microwave - heat chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval until completely melted. In double boiler - heat chocolate chips and peanut butter until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir to create a uniform frosting.
- Spread frosting on top of batter in 8x8 container. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut and serve. Store in refrigerator.