Gather round, all ‘ye peanut butter lovers and dinner party hosts! This is your cake.
The creamy, smooth peanut butter filling combined with just the right amount of chocolate and crunch makes for a seriously divine dessert. And it’s make-ahead. And it’s impressive. And it’s easy to pull together.
You can even make this with one less step and leave out the chocolate. But if you do so, we can’t be friends. Kidding. (Sort of.) But it still has just as much divinity without chocolate—that’s how good it is!
First, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside. Unwrap all of the Nature Valley™ Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bars and place them in a food processor. Process and process until the granola bars are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the brown sugar, melted butter and flour.
Spread the mixture on the baking tray. Don’t worry about filling the whole sheet, just dump the mixture on there and sort of shake it around. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once, until the crumbs are wonderfully fragrant and starting to brown. Let it cool.
Now you’ll prepare your filling. Use an electric hand mixer or standing mixer to whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and set aside. This should take a couple of minutes at least. In the bowl of a standing mixer, place the cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then fold in the whipped cream and blend well again.
If you don’t have both a hand mixer and a standing mixer, not to worry. You can use either for both the whipping cream and the filling. Just make sure you use clean bowls for each.
Grease an 8x8-inch glass dish with butter or cooking spray. Press half of the crumb mixture at the bottom, which is about 1 ½ cups. Save the other half of the mixture.
Pour the peanut butter filling on top of the crumbs and spread evenly. If you’re not using the chocolate topping, pour the other half of the crumbs on top now. If you are using the chocolate topping, hold off on that. Cover with foil and freeze for one hour.
To make the chocolate topping, combine a tub of frozen whipped topping with 2 cups of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke for 90 seconds at 70 percent power. Stir and continue to nuke for another minute. Stir super well.
If needed, continue microwaving at 30-second, then 15-second intervals, until the mixture is smooth and awesome. Remove the dish from the freezer and pour the chocolate over the peanut butter filling, spreading evenly. Then sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the chocolate. Cover and freeze for two or more hours.
Enjoy! And you’re welcome.