Peanut Butter Lunch Lady Cookie Bars

Cookies baked up in a sheet pan are a magical thing – the recipe is simple to make and it feeds a crowd without the hassle of portioning out individual spoonfuls of dough. Our childhood lunch lady knew all the tricks for feeding a hungry crowd, so we’ve taken some inspiration from her with our Peanut Butter Lunch Lady Cookie Bars. (Though our food hopefully tastes a little better than standard lunch room fare!)
If the usual go-to for dessert in your home is to pick up something from the grocery store, we suggest that you try some homemade cookie bars. Of course, store bought treats take some of the pressure off of entertaining, but when you see how easy this is, you may never turn back. While we usually turn to something chocolate, we love a good sheet pan cookie whatever the flavor. We’re rarely one to turn down something sweet! We went with peanut butter for our most recent cookie bars and it was the right decision. Absolutely delicious!
We topped these cookie bars with a peanut butter frosting, which is sweet but the perfect pairing. You just can’t have too much peanut butter. A great alternative if you like a little more contrast would be a chocolate frosting – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Peanut butter desserts are quite delicious – of course we love the sweetness, but the hint of saltiness really adds something special. Salty and sweet really are a match made in dessert heaven and our peanut butter cookie bars bring the best of both worlds together into one sheet pan.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
1 hour to prepare serves 16-24

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cup peanut butter, divided
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup milk + 2 tablespoons, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
Mix together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together ½ cup milk, vanilla extract, eggs. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter and 1 cup peanut butter, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly add flour mixture, followed by milk and egg mixture. Mix until well combined.
Pour batter onto cookie sheet, spreading batter evenly to edges. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting: In a saucepan, bring 1 stick butter and ½ cup peanut butter to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons milk and slowly mix in powdered sugar until well combined. Pour frosting over cake, spreading evenly to edges. Allow frosting to cool and set before serving.

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