These irresistible chocolate peanut butter cookie bars are known around here as Molly Beth Bars. They’re thick, soft cookie bars filled with the trifecta: peanut butter, chocolate, and oats, and this easy dessert recipe is an instant hit with both kids and adults alike!
These cookie bars have withstood the test of time. They’re a classic family favorite, and they were the FIRST EVER recipe post on Fork in the Kitchen.
Regardless of what your childhood was like, I’m willing to take a gamble that the combination of gooey peanut butter, melty chocolate, and chewy oats is going to take you immediately to your kid-favorite happy place.
These bars just do that to you.
They’re the combination of ultimate comfort, sweet-tooth-fix, and childhood favorites.
They’re addictingly delicious.
They’re basically your dream come true.
Yes, yes they are. You know, I know it, and there’s absolutely no denying it.
Now, despite the original photos being ahem, very very beginner, somehow these babies spread like wildfire a few months back on Pinterest. Knowing how they hit the spot for basically any occasion (potluck? weeknight craving? holiday dessert?) they needed a make-over to spread the word further.
But there’s no way I’m leaving out the origin story for Molly Beth Bars (their actual name). So without further ado…
The Story Behind Molly Beth Bars
As mentioned, these bars are a classic family favorite.
I’m talking as much a part of my childhood as the classic peanut butter and jelly. As much as ice cream cones on hot summer nights, As much as – no, actually more than – chocolate chip cookies.
Even before my time, they were a family tradition. My mom’s older sister, Mandy, had a recipe from girl scouts. As it evolved over the years, no one could remember the actual name of the recipe, and we referred to them as Mandy Bars.
That is until I was in high school when I was eating these bars on a regular basis.
My mom continued to evolve the bars (need I say more chocolate chips? and peanut butter?) each time my brother and I
begged politely asked her to make them.
Thus, grew the name Molly Beth Bars, after my mom, and her now-famous cookie bar legacy.
There was a period of time when these bars were made weekly, only to maybe last to the next day.
Luckily, I would often dig into a warm pan of gooey, melty bars after hours of dance practice, which made me feel like I could justify downing half of a pan in one sitting. No joke.
Unfortunately, those dance days are long gone, but I have this magic power of justifying chocolate – anytime, anywhere.
Late-night chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bar cravings, here I come!
How to Make the Ultimate Cookie Bars
Disclaimer: once you make these for dessert, you will not be able to stop.
The benefit though is that they are so dang easy to make. One mixing bowl, an electric mixer, and a spatula later, you’ll have these indulgent bars baking away in the oven.
The simple ingredient list goes like this:
- granulated and brown sugar
- baking soda
- creamy peanut butter
- chocolate chips
You will notice the word heaping gets used a lot. That’s because the beauty of this recipe is that you definitely want to overflow the peanut butter and chocolate chip measuring cups.
That is not a science. No, that’s an art, and my friends, the more the better.
The hardest part is waiting for them to cool ever so slightly so they don’t crumble apart.
This may or may not work for me. I give you full permission to dig in and eat the crumbles with a fork, bar be gone until later (when you’re ready for round two).
Yes, you’ve been warned, eat these babies just warm out of the oven and you have my full permission to indulge freely. No judgment here for consuming more than what others may deem as “socially acceptable”.
Seriously, make them and you’ll understand. When it comes to these bars, you cannot go wrong. Unless of course, you’re not eating them. Then that’s nearly a sin.
More Dessert Bar Recipes
If you love easy recipes, ones that include sugar specifically, you’ve gotta check these out, too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Molly Beth's Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars
- 1/2 cup butter softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1/2 cup heaping creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats rolled oats
- 1.5 cups heaping chocolate chips*
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the flour, egg, peanut butter, baking soda, vanilla, and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. Stir in the oatmeal and chocolate chips.
- Spread evenly in your pan (top with additional chocolate chips as desired for looks - and, chocolate!). Bake for 16-20 minutes until edges begin to brown. It's ok if the middle seems a bit underdone - it's like cookies, you don't want them over baked; it will continue to set up as it cools.
- Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!
This post was originally FITK’s first post on March 22, 2015. The photos and text were updated in November 2019, but no changes were made to the recipe.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!