I can’t even think about what my childhood would have been like without peanut butter bars. They were at every bake sale, every sleepover, every cookout. For some reason, I equate peanut butter bars with childhood. In fact, the last time I had a peanut butter bar was definitely sometime during my childhood. I haven’t ever seen dairy-free peanut butter bars in stores and I have never tried to make them myself.
Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about peanut butter bars in a really long time, but I was trying to decide what to bake over the weekend and it just came to me. It seemed like the perfect thing to make dairy-free, and as a bonus, I made this recipe vegan. The recipe is really easy and the bars came out wonderfully. The simple, no-bake directions are below:
- 1 ¼ cups vegan graham cracker crumbs (believe it or not, Nabisco original graham crackers are on the “accidentally vegan” list
- 1 ¼ cup vegan powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 stick Earth Balance buttery sticks (½ cup)
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 bag vegan chocolate chips (12 oz)
- 1 tbsp earth balance to melt w/the chocolate
First, we have to make those graham crackers into crumbs. It took us about one pack’s worth of graham crackers to make 1 ¼ cups. Break the crackers into chunks and run in the food processor until they become fine crumbs.
Next, pour in the powdered sugar. Pulse together so that they’re combined. Add in the agave nectar, melted Earth Balance, and chunky peanut butter next. When you mix these together in the food processor, they should come out as a dough that’s a little bit on the dry side.
Grab a 9×9 baking pan (or a similar size) and line with aluminum foil. You may want to spray to make sure it comes off clean, but with the oil in the peanut butter there should be no problem. Pour dough-like mixture into this pan and pack it down. Get it as flat as you can, using a smaller rolling pin or rolling a glass over it.
Now for the best part of the bars; the chocolate! This method for melting chocolate is pretty fun and really easy. Take a small saucepan and bring some water to a simmer. It doesn’t have to get too hot. Then take a metal bowl and place over the pot. Make sure the bowl is bigger than the pot so that it can sit on top without falling in. Pour in the chocolate chips and the last tbsp. of Earth Balance. Mix together until well melted. Make sure the bowl doesn’t get too hot so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the bars and smooth. I used a spatula to smooth and make a small bit of a swirl in the chocolate.
This part is probably the hardest. You have to wait a bit to eat these bars. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour before you cut and eat them so the chocolate can solidify.
A couple tips once you get around to cutting these:
- We found that using a serrated edge worked best.
- To keep the chocolate from splintering, take on small sections and go slowly.
- Letting the bars sit out for a bit at room temperature can also increase the ease of cutting the bars cleanly.
As you can see, mine didn’t come out picture perfect, but it sure didn’t change the taste. These tasted like they came straight out of my childhood.
What nostalgic meals would you like to make, but maybe you’re not sure how to make them dairy-free? Email them to me and I will work on a solution!