If you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and who doesn’t, you’ll love this quick and easy recipe for pretzel bars. As the makers of Reese’s like to point out, chocolate and peanut butter taste great together. Remember all the commercials they used to run about two random people out in public, one eating out of a jar of peanut butter and one eating a bar of chocolate, who somehow collide with each other? After angrily exclaiming, “Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! No, you got your peanut butter on my chocolate!” they both eat it anyway, discover what a delicious combination it is, and then become friends or fall in love and live happily ever after. (Watch this vintage Reese’s commercial clip featuring a couple of famous faces before they were famous. If you’re under the age of 45, you probably won’t know who either of them are.)
I found the original recipe for these butter-filled pretzel bars on the King Arthur website, and it took me a couple of tries to make a vegan-version where the crust didn’t crumble into bits. You can use either pretzel sticks or the small pretzel-shaped pretzels, because you end up crushing them anyway.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
- ¾ cup finely ground pretzels (measure after grinding)
- ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- ⅓ cup non-dairy milk
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life non-dairy semi-sweet chips)
- 1 cup peanut butter, smooth preferred
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment, leaving the ends long to create a sling. This will make removing the bars easier. (I was out of parchment paper so I sprayed the pan with Pam and it worked just fine.)
- To make the crust: Combine the flour, ground pretzels (I ground them in a food processor), sugar and salt, mixing with your fingers to sift and combine. Add the canola oil and milk and mix again until you have a soft but not wet dough.
- Press the dough into the pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The crust won’t brown much, but will firm up nicely. Remove it from the oven and cool completely.
- To make the filling: In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips. Add the peanut butter, stirring until well combined and smooth. Pour the filling over the crust.
- Spread the filling evenly over the crust, and tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Sprinkle more crushed pretzels on top for added crunch.
- If you want them to set-up quickly, chill in the freezer for 45 to 60 minutes. Use the parchment to lift the bars out of the pan. Slice into squares or bars. You can serve frozen; just chilled, or at room temperature — these bars are great no matter what!