Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (as seen on Al Roker’s show!)

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars in The Cake Mix Doctor were an instant hit. We baked those bars on press stops and for book signings from coast to coast, and they remain a countrywide favorite. When I tried the recipe with chunky peanut butter, I found the bars had just the right amount of crunch. The original recipe called for pecans as well, but I omitted them here. Another winner!

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (as seen on Al Roker’s show!)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 48
Ingredients
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 package (12 ounces; 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed, or sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Set aside an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
  2. Place the cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The mixture will be thick. Reserve 1½ cups for the topping. Transfer the remaining crust mixture to the pan. Using your fingertips, press the crust evenly over the bottom of the pan so that it reaches all sides. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir and cook until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coconut and vanilla until well distributed. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust, and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula so that it reaches the sides of the pan. Using your fingertips, crumble the reserved crust and scatter it evenly over the chocolate. Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake the cake until it is light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Cut the cake into 48 bars. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and serve.
  6. Store these bars, covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or freeze them, unwrapped in aluminum foil, for up to six months. Thaw the bars overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
 

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