Here’s what happens when you combine the delicious forces of soft chocolate chip cookies, fudgy brownies, and peanut butter cups in one pan! These chocolate chip cookie brownie bars are over-the-top in the best way. Definitely bring your sweet tooth to the table.
Some days I like to share healthier recipes with you.
Today is not one of those days.
We’re taking a trip down memory lane with this recipe. A brownie bar I published on my blog several years ago, this recipe comes back to life with new photos, new success tips, and even more chocolate. If chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and peanut butter cups are your dream desserts, start preheating your oven now.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bars
My husband dreamed up this cookie bar. 6 years ago, after one of his bike races, he said “you should make a chocolate chip cookie layered with peanut butter cups and brownies on top.” Clearly the man was craving chocolate and it didn’t take much convincing for me to bake them. Let’s take a brief moment to reflect on what these insane dessert bars actually are:
- Are they a brownie?
- Are they a cookie?
- A sugar bomb?
- Your dentist’s worst nightmare?
Yes to all of the above. These chocolate chip cookie brownie bars are the ultimate dessert trifecta: chocolate chips cookies + peanut butter cups + brownies. I made the chocolate chip cookie layer and brownie layer from scratch and I highly recommend you do the same!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
The bottom layer is chocolate chip cookie dough. Now I have many chocolate chip cookie recipes including chewy chocolate chip cookies and crispy chocolate chip cookies, but I chose my soft chocolate chip cookies for the base of these brownie cookie bars. They yield a lovely soft and thick cookie “crust”, which is favorable for a thick dessert bar. We wouldn’t really want to sink our teeth into a fudgy brownie, then a hard-as-rock cookie… right? These cookie brownie bars take a long time to bake, so a recipe for SOFT chocolate chip cookies is extra insurance that the entire bar remains on the softer side. Make sense?
Best part of all: no cookie dough chilling!
Once you make the chocolate chip cookie dough, spread it into a lined 9×13 inch baking pan. It will be a very thin layer of cookie dough, so do your best to spread it to the edges. The cookie dough is sticky, but a rubber spatula sprayed with non-stick spray makes this step easier.
Peanut Butter Cup Layer
The peanut butter cups are next! If there’s a peanut allergy in the house, feel free to leave these out completely. I use the miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, but the extra mini size or even the regular size would be fine. Feel free to chop the peanut butter cups first, but that’s not really necessary. You’ll be cutting the brownie cookie bars into squares anyway! You need about 48 miniature peanut butter cups.
And finally, a brownie batter blanket. ♥
I used a homemade brownie recipe for the top layer, but if you’re short on time or don’t have all the ingredients, a box brownie mix is totally fine. However, hopefully I can convince you that homemade brownies are worth it! This layer is a combination of my chewy fudgy brownies and homemade brownies recipe. You need eggs, sugar, flour, and butter– basically all the same ingredients you use for the chocolate chip cookie layer. The chocolate flavor comes from pure chocolate. Pick up two 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate baking bars from the baking aisle– I like Ghirardelli or Bakers brand.
The brownie layer features perfect crackly brownie tops and the tastes like pure fudge. Paired with chocolate chip cookies and a peanut butter cup and you have total chocolate monstrosity. Crumble them over a big bowl of chocolate ice cream, then laugh when someone asks you “how much chocolate is too much chocolate?”
This is what every weekend should look like.
More Bar Recipes
Here’s what happens when you combine the delicious forces of soft chocolate chip cookies, fudgy brownies, and peanut butter cups in one pan! Feel free to use the homemade brownie batter below or prepare your favorite boxed brownie batter.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 48 unwrapped miniature peanut butter cups (or 2 cups chopped peanut butter cups)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter
- two 4 ounce (226g) semi-sweet chocolate bars, coarsely chopped*
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
- Make the brownie layer first, even though it will go on top: Melt the butter and semi-sweet chocolate together in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. This takes about 15 minutes. Use this 15 minutes to make the chocolate chip cookie layer! Whisk sugar into cooled chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the flour and salt until combined.
- Make the cookie layer: In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until combined and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat in the chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky. Using a rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray (to reduce sticking), spread the cookie dough all over the prepared baking pan. The layer will be thin, but will puff up as it bakes. Top with peanut butter cups, then pour the brownie batter on top and smooth with a knife or rubber spatula.
- Bake the bars for 40-45 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean (a few brownie crumbs are OK). During bake time, tent pan with foil if the edges look like they are cooking a lot faster than the center.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides, then cut into squares.
- Cover and store leftover brownies at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked and cooled brownie bars for up to 3 months. Arrange in even layers in a large freezer container between sheets of parchment. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then allow to come to room temperature before serving. Warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds if desired– they’re great with ice cream!
- Chocolate Bars: Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. 2 ounces will be melted down and 2 ounces will be chopped up and folded into the batter with the chocolate chips. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker’s brand, or Lindt.
Keywords: brownies, cookies, chocolate chip cookies