Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars

This recipe is just plain "sinful".... LOL!.... but if you have a sweet tooth and a love for chocolate, this will curb that craving for a good long time.  

This was my inspiration for this recipe. I found this in an old Family Circle magazine. I told you I cut out everything.  I feel sorry for my kids when I go to that big kitchen in the sky.  They will have enough recipes to last a lifetime. The good thing is I'm a pretty organized lady.  All recipes are categorized in file folders in my desk, on my computer, in my email and I also have a Master Cook program on my computer. I guess they're not all in one place, but easy to access. 
Actually they will probably have a great time going through all of them.  Anyways, back to the recipe.  If you love chocolate and peanut butter and nuts and peanut butter cups and caramel sauce this one is for you.  It's pretty rich, so a little goes a long way. But for that special occasion, this one is a winner! 

Let's Make This Ooey Goey Dessert...
Here's what you will need to make this dessert:
  • graham cracker crumbs
  • sugar
  • butter
  • boxed brownie mix, )or you can use a cake mix in it's place using the same measurements for the brownie mix.)
  • oil
  • eggs
  • dry roasted peanuts
  • cream cheese (I was also out of cream cheese, so I substituted sour cream. If you use sour cream, eliminate the milk).
  • peanut butter
  • powdered sugar
  • milk
  • cream
  • corn syrup
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • miniature Reese's peanut butter cups for baking
  • caramel sauce (opt)...but I do recommend the caramel to finish off the dessert
I think I have already told you this dessert is pretty rich. The peanut butter filling lightens the dessert, but I recommend cutting them in about 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" pieces. Like I said before a little goes a long way.
First measure your graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter and mix until crumbly. Also chop up your peanuts and set aside.
Place the graham cracker mixture into a 9 inch square pan covered with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If using parchment, let the sides overhand a little. Press the graham cracker crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan making sure that it's nice and solid. Place in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Next mix the brownie mix with water, oil and eggs. I didn't have a brownie mix, so I used a chocolate cake mix with the same amount of ingredients that the brownie mix called for. It's nice to know that you can substitute with the same results. Add the chopped nuts into the batter.

Place the batter over the graham cracker crust and bake. Don't overbake the brownies. You want them chewy and not hard.
While the brownies are baking, mix together the cream cheese, softened, creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk. Mix until all combined.
Beat the whipped cream to soft peaks and fold into the peanut butter mixture. This will be the next layer of  yumminess in this recipe.

One all is combined and your brownies are cool, place the whipped peanut butter mixture onto the brownies and spread until evenly distributed.
Now it's time to make the ganache. Heat the whipped cream until just about boiling. Place the chocolate chips into a bowl and add the light corn syrup and cream to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes. Start mixing the chocolate chip mixture until smooth and shiny.
Once you smoothed all the ganache, put more chopped nuts and cut up miniature baking Reese's peanut butter cups. In the picture above I also put the caramel on the top. I recommend waiting on the caramel sauce until just before serving. 

Top each piece with some whipped topping and then put the caramel sauce on top of the whipped cream. It's a much better presentation. You could also top it with a miniature peanut butter cup or a cherry. That's it!. It's a real simple recipe with little baking. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars Recipe...

  • ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (18 ¼ ounce) boxes brownie mix
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • whipped cream, chopped peanuts, chocolate-peanut butter candies and caramel sauce, to garnish
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with foil, allowing sides to overhand; spray foil. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Mix in melted butter. Press crumb mixture into prepared pan. Bake until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Cool in wire rack.
    2. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cakelike brownies (adding 1/4 c. water, 1/3 c. oil and 3 eggs. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour batter into crust-lined pan. Return to 350 degree oven; bake until brownie is just set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
    3. With electric mixer in medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add peanut butter and confectioners' sugar; beat until just blended (it will look lumpy). Add milk; beat lightly to loosen mixture.  In separate bowl, whip 1 cup of the cream and gently fold into peanut butter mixture. Spread mousse evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 1 hour.
    4. Heat remaining 1/2 c. cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat; add corn syrup and chocolate chips.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth. Pour glaze over chilled mousse and spread to cover completely. Return to refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
    5. Run a small knife around inside of pan and lift out brownie. Heat knife under hot running water and trim edges. Slice brownie, rinsing knife after each cut, into 5 strips and 1 1/2 inches wide. Cut each strip into 5 pieces about 1 1/2 inches square. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with whipped cream, nuts, candy and caramel sauce.
    I have a post called Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Trifle that is pretty similar to this recipe. You can access this recipe by clicking on the pictures below and you will be redirected to that post. This recipe makes a lot, compared to the Dream bars that only makes a 9" square pan full of wonderfulness. So maybe try the trifle for a holiday, or a birthday, or a girl's get-together and save the Dream bars for your immediate family. You won't be disappointed either way.
    I've also included a few other ooey gooey recipes that might just trip your trigger. I've included Rhubarb Crumb Cake Bars, French Silk pie, Peanut Butter Squares, Gooey Butter Cake, and Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake. I think my next dessert is going to be the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake. That looks just about as sinful as the Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars. Anyway, there's a lot of chocolate in this post. I do hope you enjoy reading it and trying some of the recipes. You won't be disappointed.  What I love about the peanut butter desserts is the light whipped cream peanut butter filling. It is really delicious without going over the top.

    One Final Thought...
    I don't know about you, but I love chocolate. I don't like wasting my time and calories on store bought candy bars. If I'm going to indulge, it has to be good chocolate. I'm not a milk chocolate person. I'm a dark chocolate person. The darker the chocolate the better. However, I do love Hershey bars...right out of the refrigerator. That's the only milk chocolate I like.  Anyways, this post gave everyone lots of chocolate desserts to pick from. With Easter right around the corner, one of these would be a wonderful pick for a wonderful dessert.  I do hope you enjoy one of them soon...
    Always remember..."Life's dessert first!"...words to live by!