disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links.
|Gluten / dairy free peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bar on plate topped with coconut whipped cream.|
When we were gearing up for our annual (it was our third year) vacation to Cape Cod, I noticed that everything about the process felt different to me. In a good way. The previous two summers I felt crunched and more stressed than this past summer. It could have been because my autoimmune disease was flaring (more about that in an upcoming post) or just the stress of dealing with a toddler (C is close to four and a half now and is more independent). But it could also be a smaller, daily change I had made: spending longer periods of time in the sun. I have been supplementing with Vitamin D for more than three years but there is something about being in the sun for long stretches that just makes me feel happy.
I say all that to say that I think we need to “vacation” in our daily lives. We need to make space to get that sun, relax with that book, or snuggle with the one we love. Or whatever fills that “ah”. Certainly for me it is time spent in the sun, but it is also, always, baking / cooking, and sharing food with friends! Which brings me to our recipe.
I had recently made these peanut butter cupcakes using our fudgy peanut butter nuggets. Immediately, I started thinking about how else I could use the nuggets. As an ice cream topping? Check. Just as is? Check! But I needed something else. Something that would showcase their peanut-buttery goodness. And then it hit me: cookie bars. Where else could they meld happily with chocolate chips (which, aside from bananas, surely rank as peanut butter’s other BFF).
And so our Gluten / Dairy Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars were born. And quickly devoured. They are chewy, soft, and even blissful, really, if you adore peanut butter anything like I do. They taste divine topped with homemade coconut whipped cream.
These feature our Fudgy Peanut Butter Nuggets. Not only do they take five minutes to make and use only four ingredients, they are delicious on everything from ice cream to cupcakes to bars!
Vegan butter makes these super moist, and dairy-free cream cheese gives them just a subtle touch of savory. Mmmm!
These bars would be a great addition to a pot-luck party, since they travel well and can even be carried in the pan used for baking them.
Which reminds me of the daily (or weekly) commitment to vacationing – to loving ourselves the best we can. I hope these special treats can be one more way to show love to others or ourselves. And I’d love to hear below what you do to bring vacationing into your life on a regular basis.
Enjoy, my friends!
Gluten / Dairy / Soy Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 2 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend
- ½ tsp xanthan gum leave out if already in the gf flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
- 2 oz dairy free cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups fudgy peanut butter nuggets
- ½ cup Enjoy Life such as Enjoy Life
- ¼ cup fudgy peanut butter nuggets for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together gf flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking soda, and salt.
In a separate, large bowl, beat together dairy-free cream cheese, vegan butter, sugar and brown sugar for two minutes, scraping down sides periodically.
Add vanilla extract and beat on low speed.
Add egg yolks, beating between additions.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, beating on low just until combined.
Mix in fudgy peanut butter nuggets and chocolate chips, by hand.
Spread mixture evenly into pan.
Top with remaining nuggets.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the edges are turning a slightly crispy, golden brown.
Cut into squares - I cut the ones pictured here into a dozen (they are huge and easily shareable) but you could certainly cut them into fifteen smaller - but still generous - portions.