Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

A pretzel crust meets up with some of my rich and creamy Peanut Butter Mousse. Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars are an easy dessert recipe that layers up with some homemade chocolate ganache and candy toppings!! A great way to use up that leftover Halloween candy!

triangle piece of peanut butter pie on a white plate with ganache, pretzels and candy on top

Peanut butter mousse walks into a bar….I mean —peanut butter mousse becomes a bar courtesy of a salty, sweet pretzel crust. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars are the easiest dessert recipe thanks to an easy peanut butter mousse, a wicked quick pretzel crust and a homemade chocolate ganache (also used in my Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake).

You’ll be making them on repeat!

Why this recipe

dark tart pan with chocolate ganache topped with pretzels in a diamond pattern with M&M's and peanuts inside

The more important question is: why NOT this recipe? The combo of peanut butter and pretzels is so good that Jeni’s Splendid will feature this duo in a new ice cream flavor called High Five Candy Bar exclusive to Whole Foods.

More reasons to make this recipe are:

  • Three ingredients are all you need to whip up the peanut butter mousse and one of them isn’t cream cheese!
  • The pretzel crust bakes for all of 10 minutes and the whole thing goes into the freezer or fridge depending on how long in advance you made it.
  • Best of all? The toppings! You’ve got options galore and this easy dessert bar recipe would be great at a party sitting on a dessert bar for guests to sprinkle on their own toppings!
  • These bars make a great game night dessert! And be sure to add some of these super addictive seasoned pretzels to your spread too.

The Ingredients

ingredients needed to make a peanut butter chocolate tart with pretzel crust

The magic number for this recipe is 3. That’s because the crust and the peanut butter mousse each only have 3 ingredients! And the ganache only has TWO.

I told you this was a super easy bar recipe!

For the crust

  • Pretzels. The good and salty kind! I used sticks because that’s what I had, but you can use any kind. If you want to use multigrain pretzels, that’s fine, but unsalted pretzels wouldn’t be my first choice.
  • Butter. Unsalted real butter just to clarify. You got enough salt in the pretzels and you know we are all about realness around here so save the margarine for something else.
  • Sugar. Just a bit because you have to balance out the salty. The yin and yang of baking!

For the mousse

One ingredient that is missing from the mousse recipe is cream cheese and you won’t miss it! Here’s what you will use:

  • Peanut butter. I use Skippy. I haven’t experimented with natural peanut butters that require stirring (even though I love them) and they do have a thinner consistency. If you try using one of them, please let me know how it works for you!
  • Whipping cream. Heavy cream is whipped up creating texture and body for the mousse.
  • Confectioner sugar. See above about the role of sugar.

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And the ganache

This easy ganache has only 2 ingredients:

  • chopped dark chocolate
  • heavy cream (yes, there’s more! C’mon —it’s dessert!)

TIP

Chop up dark chocolate from a bar (not chips). Chips have stabilizers added that interfere with melting.

-Josie + Nina

Equipment

For this easy dessert tart recipe, you will use a tart pan with a removable bottom. The one I use is rectangular and non-stick. You can find round tart pans, square tart pans, individual tart pans and more.

Step-by-step instructions

Alright. Let’s get to making this peanut butter tart! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait!

Make the pretzel crust

three steps to make a pretzel tart crust
  • Crush the pretzels either by hand or in a food processor until coarse crumbs are formed.
  • Mix the pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar together in a bowl.
  • Press the crust mixture into a tart pan (with a removable bottom) using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack and flatten the crust tightly.
  • Bake the crust for about 10 minutes until golden.

Whip up some peanut butter mousse

process shots to make peanut butter mousse

For all the tips and tricks for making the peanut butter mousse on the post but here are the basics:

  • Add the confectioner sugar to the whipped cream and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold in the peanut butter with a rubber spatula until the cream and peanut butter are super happy together.

Make the chocolate ganache

Two ingredients: simmering heavy cream to which chopped dark chocolate is added. For more information on the different consistencies for chocolate ganache, pay a visit to my Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake recipe. (I did use chips for the ganache in the photos but have since learned the error of my ways!)

Assemble the tart

filling pretzel crust with peanut butter mousse and covering with chocolate ganache

Spread the mousse mixture into the tart pan. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Party serving ideas + variations

tart pan with chocolate ganache and pretzels in a diamond pattern on top

Any recipe that presents options is always a hit. And this pretzel peanut butter tart is alllll about the options.

  • Pie. Use a pie plate instead of a tart pan and you’ve got yourself a peanut butter pie without cream cheese.
  • Individual tarts. For a larger party or when individual servings are needed, you can make 6-8 individual tarts that you can customize. (Perfect segue!)
  • Custom Toppings. Best part of this whole recipe is the ability to customize the toppings. Some ideas:
    • More chocolate like M&M’s, mini candy bars
    • Pretzels
    • Roasted peanuts or peanut butter pieces
    • Marshmallows
    • Jimmies
    • Coconut (or add my coconut cake to your dessert bar for the perfect compliment!)

Helpful Tips

peanut butter mousse filled rectangular tart pan on a black wire cooling rack

Serving

  • Remove the pan from the freezer and let the pan sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Run a butter knife under warm water. Dry it and then run it around the edges of the tart pan to loosen it from the edges. Push up bottom center of the tart pan and lift the tart up through the pan and use your other hand to catch it.
  • Use a sharp knife and slice the tart into your desired size. I love cutting it crosswise into triangles for a fun presentation.
  • Heat the ganache and pour into a bowl. Offer guests a topping bar to customize their chocolate peanut butter pretzel bars.

Make ahead

You can make assemble the tart the day before you plan to serve it.

Storing

Leftovers (if you have any!) can be stored for about a day or two or frozen for a couple of weeks).

Freezing

The dessert sets up best in the freezer and also slices better that way.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


triangle piece of peanut butter pie on a white plate with ganache, pretzels and candy on top
5 from 4 votes

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

Pretzel crust filled with peanut butter mousse and slathered in chocolate ganache. Have guests top with their favorite toppings for a fun dinner party dessert idea!
Prep Time:20 minutes
Freeze time:4 hours
Total Time:4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 10

Equipment

  • tart pan with removable bottom

Ingredients
 

For the crust

  • 5 cups pretzels, to yield 2 cups crushed; any shape-see notes*
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour

For the peanut butter mousse

For the chocolate ganache

Toppings

  • assorted candies, pretzels, coconut, nuts, marshmallows

Instructions

For the crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a tart pan(s) with a removable bottom(s) or pie plate with some baking spray and set aside.
  • Crush the pretzels in either a food processor with the pulse feature until you get coarse crumbs. You can also put the pretzels in a sealed ziploc and use a rolling pin to crush the pretzels until you get the desired texture. (The second option is a good stress reliever!)
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the pretzel crumbs, butter, sugar, and flour until well combined.
  • Pour the crust mixture into the prepared tart pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly into the pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven until golden. Remove and set aside to cool on a rack.

For the mousse

  • In a clean mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream with a hand or stand mixer on medium high until you get stiff peaks (about three minutes*). Tip: chill the beaters and bowl to make the cream whip faster.
  • Gently add the peanut butter to the bowl and using a rubber spatula, fold the peanut butter into the whipped cream. It will eventually all incorporate (just don't stir like crazy but gently fold). For more detailed information, check out the Peanut Butter Mousse recipe.
  • Chill the mousse if you aren't ready to assemble the bars.
  • If you aren't using the ganache until the next day, refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before spreading on the tart. You can also quickly microwave in 10 second increments stirring between to soften. BE CAREFUL not to burn the ganache or you will be starting over.

For the ganache

  • Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear on the outside. Don't boil the cream! Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate stirring with whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is thicker.

Assemble the bars

  • Spread the mousse over the pretzel crust to the edges.
  • Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
  • See tips below for slicing/serving.
  • SERVING OPTION #1: Remove the pan from the freezer. Slice into bars, remove to plates and pour the ganache over. Allow guests to decorate their own bars with assorted candy and nut toppings.
  • SERVING OPTION #2: Pour ganache over the whole tart as shown, decorate and refrigerate/freeze until the ganache hardens. Remove and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing into bars, triangles or any shape you desire.

Notes

*Stiff peaks are when the beaters are lifted out of the bowl and the resulting “peaks” stand straight up instead of curling or flopping over. The cream will be very thick.
Serving/slicing tips
  • Remove the pan from the freezer and let the pan sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Run a butter knife under warm water. Dry it and then run it around the edges of the tart pan to loosen it from the edges. Push up bottom center of the tart pan and lift the tart up through the pan and use your other hand to catch it.
  • Use a sharp knife and slice the tart into your desired size. I love cutting it crosswise into triangles for a fun presentation.
  • Heat the ganache and pour into a bowl. Offer guests a topping bar to customize their chocolate peanut butter pretzel bars.
Course: Bars, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

Belly up to the dessert bar

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