Hold on, friends, I have a dessert for you that is seriously, ridiculously amazing. I teased you with it a couple of weeks ago when I hosted my book club and shared this Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus recipe. For dessert, we enjoyed these Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bars and they are out-of-this-world fabulous! I mean, how can they not be? They have chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter, AND Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Best. Combination. Ever. Anna’s daughter has a peanut allergy, so she pleaded with me to make this recipe because it’s contraband in her house. Oh, well, twist my arm. I took one for the team and made them for her because that’s what good friends do, right? She was so grateful to get her peanut fix, but it was hardly a sacrifice for me as there is no combination I love more than chocolate and peanut butter. Maybe I should be thanking you, Anna? 😉
It was a good thing I made these Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bars for book club because the recipe makes a large quantity – perfect for sharing with friends. I ended up sending everyone home with treats for their families. Otherwise I could (and would) sit down and do some serious damage to these. If you can believe it, they taste even better than they look. Layers of Club crackers, gooey caramel, crunchy peanuts, a rich chocolate peanut butter topping, all crowned with a sprinkling of sea salt – crazy addictive goodness. My recommendation? Make half of the recipe or share the full pan with friends. Your jeans will love you for it later.
Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bars
- 8 ounces Club Crackers
- 3/4 cup butter (11/2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 2 cups chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups dry roasted peanuts
- 11/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup butterscotch-flavored chips
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with crackers.
- Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, and cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once mixture boils, add graham cracker crumbs, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt.
- Pour half of the caramel mixture over the crackers in the prepared pan, spreading to cover. Sprinkle with peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Pour rest of caramel over top. Place another layer of crackers on top, pressing down lightly to secure.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine dark chocolate and butterscotch chips. Microwave until melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over top layer and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
- Chill bars for 2 hours or until completely firm. Using the edges of the foil, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares. Refrigerate until serving.