Chocolate-Cream Cheese-Peanut Butter Bars

Hey, guess what: I'm alive! I know it has been hard to tell based on my posting frequency, but I'm hoping this recipe will make up for it. This is a peanut butter cookie bar base with a lay of chocolate, followed by a layer of cream cheese and peanut butter, topped with more crumbled peanut butter cookies. Yeah, I know, you still love me.

Look at all that deliciousness. When you start with this is is hard to go wrong. This recipe is another Cory requested one. Can you tell what some of his favorite things are?
This is the filling: cream cheese, peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and cream. So we're going with super healthy! I wish that I could say these were so rich I only had a small one but I think I had six. Not small ones. I had trouble not eating this with a spoon.
Just the peanut butter cookie with chocolate looks pretty delicious, but why stop there. Go big or go home, right?
The original recipe called for using a peanut butter cookie mix (Betty Crocker's obviously, since that was where the recipe was from). I don't think making the cookies from scratch is really much more difficult. These whip up so quickly and of course I think from scratch is always better.
We used Adam's natural peanut butter which is just ground up peanuts, no extra stuff. I have heard that other peanut butters (such as Skippy or Jif) make better peanut butter cookies with their added sugar, salt and hydrogenated oils. However, I was super happy with the cookies and I had trouble reserving these six for the topping. We also used chunky peanut butter, which is always better than creamy peanut butter. I recommend making the cookies pretty crispy so they crumble up easy; I made them more crispy than I would want if I were eating them on their own.

Chocolate-Cream Cheese-Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1. For the cookies: Beat the butter until creamy, 2 minutes. Add the sugars, beat for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar butter mixture.
2. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
3.  Shape 6 1-inch balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to flatten cookies in a crisscross pattern.
4. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray and press remaining dough in to it.
5. Bake cookies and base in a  350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Reserve cookies for topping.
6. For the filling: In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and stirred smooth. Spread evenly over bars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
7. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and whipping cream with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread over chocolate layer.
8. Crush reserved cookies; sprinkle over cream cheese layer. Press in lightly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Cookie recipe from Simply Recipes

Bar recipe from Betty Crocker

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