Thick peanut butter cheesecake filling on top of a salty pretzel crust, stuffed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a chocolate drizzle on top.
I’m really sorry for doing this to you today. Really, I am.
Apparently I’m all over the place this week. Sunday night I treated myself to a Wendy’s Frosty. Yesterday I made a large detox smoothie. Today I’m stuffing my face with peanut butter cup cheesecake bars.
If there is such a thing as dessert A.D.D. – I have it.
I adore the combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and pretzels. A-DORE. I have plenty of recipes on this website filled with desserts combining the three! It’s the perfect trio. Salty, sweet, chocolatey, crunchy, peanut buttery, decadent.
I probably love cheesecake as much as I love peanut butter (yes, it’s true!), and these scrumptious bars have been on my to-do list for ages. They will totally blow your diet, but they are worth every single minute on the treadmill!
You’re going to start with a pretzel crust. Yes, a buttery crust made from pretzels! Crushed pretzels, sugar, and melted butter. Told you – this is not diet food! You’ll need 1.5 cups of crushed pretzels, which is about 3 cups of actual pretzels. Grind the pretzels up as much as you can. And make sure no one is sleeping in your house when you do so. Hard pretzels in a food processor is L-O-U-D. Sorry I woke you up, Kevin.
Mix the ground up pretzels with the melted butter and sugar and press into your pan. Bake the crust for about 10-12 minutes as you prepare the filling. This salty pretzel crust can also be used for my S’mores Brownie Pie, Key Lime Pie Squares, or these Snickers Cheesecake Bars (yum!).
The pretzel crust is sort of crumbly. There’s no way around it. Pretzels cannot be ground up as finely as graham crackers, so just expect a few crumbs when you cut into and bite into these bars. Have a napkin handy!
The cheesecake filling is easy peasy. Cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and creamy peanut butter. Beat all that together until smooth and mix in several Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (the more, the merrier!). Pour on top of your pretzel crust. Bake for 30ish minutes. Chill the bars for 3 hours before cutting into squares. Waiting is torture. Pure torture.
A little chocolate drizzle is the cherry on top, no? Melt a few chocolate chips with some peanut butter (yep, more peanut butter), and drizzle on top of each cheesecake bar. The drizzle is completely optional, but I never say no to more chocolate and peanut butter.
These cheesecake bars are so good it’s scary. If you do NOT like sweet and salty desserts, this recipe is not for you. The crust is made from salty pretzels, so yes – the crust will be salty! The peanut butter cheesecake filling is undoubtedly the creamiest cheesecake on the planet. And there’s enough peanut butter cups mixed inside the filling to make my No-Bake Reese’s Bars jealous.
What I love most about these bars is how thick the filling is. You won’t even believe it will fit into a tiny 8×8 pan. It will practically fill the entire pan. These bars are so thick and monstrous. It’s glorious. They’re crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, and dangerously addicting. Quite frankly, I think I found my new favorite dessert! And yours, too.
Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Cheesecake Bars
Baking a cheesecake as bars is so much easier than an entire cheesecake! This recipe makes 16 cheesecake bars.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (120g) very finely ground salty pretzels (about 3 cups whole pretzels)
- 3 Tablespoons (35g) granulated sugar
- 7 Tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, melted
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
- 16 ounces (448g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature (not fat free)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125g) creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 10 regular sized Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (or 20 small)
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup (45g) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse salty pretzels into a fine crumb. See photo above for how it will look. Stir the pretzel crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a medium sized bowl. Press evenly into the lined pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
For the filling: Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Fold in the chopped Reese's cups and spread the mixture over crust. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.
For the drizzle: Melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth and drizzle over squares.
Store bars in a covered container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan, baking time will vary - about 45-55 minutes.
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Just love these.
Peanut Butter, Chocolate, & Pretzels. I just love them together! ♥
aka “bites of heaven”
Here are 15 Sweet & Salty Pretzel Recipes.
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