We have been living with food allergies here at the farmhouse for more than a decade. Peanuts and tree nuts are off limits, but we don’t let that stand in our way of our celebration of the seasons and the holidays. The candy parade that begins with Halloween and carries right through to the end of the year was tough to adjust to when we began to live nut free. Living with serious food allergies meant that many of those candies simply weren’t safe for us to welcome into the farmhouse.
One of my childhood favorites was definitely off limits: peanut butter cups. While they were one of my favorite candies before nut allergies came into our lives, I gave them up for many years until I started making these delicious and completely nut free snack bars. They’re so simple to make and taste amazing. Every bite delivers that nutty flavor and texture of a peanut butter cup without the risk of an allergic reaction.
These bars are very popular at our house and make a fantastic addition to our holiday collection of cookies and other homemade sweets. They come together quickly and don’t require baking, making them a perfect warm weather treat.
Speaking of warm weather, these bars are absolutely scrumptious served with vanilla ice cream. You can even cut a portion into small bites, freeze for a few hours, and mix those frozen gems into a batch of homemade ice cream or a softened pint of store bought ice cream. If you miss the combination of peanut butter and ice cream as much as I do, you’ll be delighted at how delicious it is.
For families like mine who live and eat around food allergies every day, these bars are a real treat. If your family doesn’t have to consider food allergies, you can certainly substitute your favorite nut butter with equally delicious results. No matter how you choose to make these bars, I hope that you will give them a try. I’m willing to bet that your family will enjoy these delicious bars as much as mine does!
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter
- 1 ½ cup sunflower seed butter
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cup chocolate chips
- Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining with parchment paper or waxed paper. Lining the pan will make it much easier to remove the bars in one large piece and cut into individual portions.
- Melt the butter in a medium to large saucepan over low heat. Add the sunflower seed butter and stir to combine with the melted butter. The mixture should become very smooth as the sunflower seed butter warms. Remove the pan from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Stir until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the lined pan and spread evenly to the edges of the pan.
- Warm the heavy cream in a small pot or in a microwave safe container. The cream does not need to be boiling hot, so 20-30 seconds in the microwave should be sufficient. Add the chocolate to the warm cream and allow to sit for about a minute before mixing to combine the cream and melted chocolate. Stir until completely smooth before adding to the pan and spreading to cover the sunflower seed butter layer.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator to help set the bars. When the bottom is cool to the touch and the chocolate has set up, lifting the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut into portions. The bars can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for several days although they never last that long at our house!