Peanut butter and honey are a wonderful combination. I like honey drizzled over hot toast that is spread with peanut butter, honey that is mixed with peanut butter to create a salty-sweet dip for apples and the combination of honey and peanut butter in frozen pops. They also work well together in baked goods like these Peanut Butter and Honey Bars. The bars are easy to make cookies that showcase both of these flavors.
The bars are chewy and straddle the line between a cookie and a granola bar. They’re thin enough to keep a little bit of crispness to them, especially on the edge pieces, but they’re not crunchy. You can really taste both the peanut butter and the honey in every bite – especially if you use a flavorful honey, as the floral notes of honey (I used a good clover honey here) seem to intensify while the bars are in the oven. The peanut butter flavor is also right up front, but you can clearly get both flavors in each bite. I actually used Jif Peanut Butter and Honey Peanut Butter in these bars, for yet another layer of honey flavoring. It’s not necessary (though it is good if you’re a pb&h fan) for the recipe and your favorite brand of regular peanut butter will work just as well. I prefer to use crunchy peanut butter to get a few nuts into the bars for texture, but creamy peanut butter is perfectly fine, too.
I finished the bars with a drizzle of frosting that is also made with peanut butter and honey. It is just fluid enough that it can be piped or drizzled onto the cookies to give them a pretty finished look. That said, you can also simply spread it on top of them if you want a thicker layer of the addictive frosting. The finished bars keep very well for a few days when stored in an airtight container and the recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan if you want or need a bigger batch.
Peanut Butter and Honey Bar Cookies
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
Peanut Butter and Honey Frosting
1 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp honey
1/4 – 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, honey, peanut butter and vanilla until well-combined. At low speed, blend in the flour and salt. Stir in the oatmeal until ingredients are completely combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Transfer to prepared pan and spread, using a spatula, into a thin, even layer.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until bars are golden brown around the edges and set. Allow to cool completely before making the frosting.
Frosting: Beat together butter, peanut butter, milk and honey in a small bowl until well combined. Blend in 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and salt until smooth. Gradually blend in remaining confectioners sugar. Mix until frosting has a thick, but still spreadable or pipable consistency. Not all confectioners’ sugar may be needed. Additional sugar can be added to thicken frosting if necessary.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off and drizzle frosting over the bars. Frosting can also simply be spread into an even layer on top of the bars. Allow frosting to sit out for about 2 hours to set before slicing the bars. Store bars wrapped or in an airtight container.
Makes 15 bars.