A No-Bake and a Pan-Banger: Buckeye Bars and Pan-Banging Triple Chocolate Cookies

I feel like it's taking me forever to finish blogging about my holiday cookies, so I'm going to cover two cookies in this post. First, Shauna Sever's Buckeye Bars. This recipe is somewhat easy to miss in Midwest Made; there is no photo and the recipe starts towards the bottom of a page. But I am so glad I gave it a try.

They are no-bake bars. The base layer is a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, melted butter, creamy peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. You spread it into the bottom of a parchment-lined pan and chill it briefly until the mixture is set. Then you spread on a layer of chocolate with a little peanut butter melted into it, sprinkle on some Maldon salt, and chill the bars until firm.
I sliced my bars into thin fingers, and they were one of my personal favorites of all of my holiday cookie selections. While the recipe headnote describes these as "essentially a whole pan of peanut butter cups," I think they tasted much better than a Reese's cup. The base layer was smooth and had a rich truffle-like texture. I put my graham crackers in the food processor to turn them into ultrafine crumbs, and you couldn't make out their texture at all in the finished product (I think the crumbs likely also softened up as the bars were chilling). The slightly astringent peanut butter and cream cheese, plus the sprinkle of salt on top, ensured that these were not too sweet, and the thin layer of chocolate packed a lot of flavor. The bars were delicious straight out of the fridge are quite candylike, but they were perfect for a holiday cookie assortment.

Second, I was also quite happy with Sarah Kieffer's Pan-Banging Triple Chocolate Cookies. They are made with butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, water, vanilla, flour, Dutch-process cocoa, salt, baking soda, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate. I made the cookies slightly smaller than I usually do for a pan-banging cookie; I used a #20 scoop and got 22 cookies from a batch. I didn't get much rippling with my smaller cookies, but I thought that they looked great and they were still plenty big.
These cookies were chocolatey and chewy. I couldn't specifically taste the milk chocolate (the cookies have a 2:1 ratio of milk chocolate to dark chocolate), but they were very tasty. That said, they were not as distinctive or memorable as some of Kieffer's other pan-banging cookies I've made. But this cookie was a crowd-pleaser. And I think a chocolate-mint version would be particularly delicious!

Recipes: "Buckeye Bars" from Midwest Made by Shauna Sever, and "[Pan-Banging] Triple Chocolate Cookies" from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer.