These no-bake oatmeal bars combine a bit of everything we love: they are extremely easy to make, very kid-friendly, have oats for a touch of healthiness, and that magic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. The ingredients are mixed and pressed into the pan, making them great for hot weather. An irresistible snack and dessert.
Things are hectic nowadays, so I love finding one-bowl recipes that make life easier and baking fun. Dumping all ingredients into a bowl and not using the oven. It's still baking, right?
Turning on the oven can be a deal-breaker when the weather gets hot.
It's during those times when these chocolate peanut butter bars with chocolate come into play.
They're especially great to make with kids, and I think the colored sprinkles have something to do with it. My nephew calls them chocolate confetti bars. But that topping is optional, of course.
- Oats: they give crunch to the top layer. I use old-fashioned rolled oats (traditional oats) because they have more texture, but you can use instant or quick-cooking oats.
- Chocolate cookies: use plain cookies or wafers.
- Powdered sugar.
- Chocolate: use your favorite dark semisweet chocolate for this recipe. I like Callebaut 54% chocolate wafers or Ghirardelli Premium baking bar.
- Peanut butter: the commercial type works best for this recipe, such as Jif or Skippy peanut butter.
- Unsalted butter.
- Cream: heavy, heavy whipping, and double cream, they all work.
- Salt: I like to use kosher salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Edible confetti or sprinkles for decoration
Type of peanut butter
Though I'm a big fan of natural products, regular commercial peanut butter, such as Jif or Skippy peanut butter, works better as it has a thicker consistency.
The idea is to make the bars firm enough to cut easily and not make a mess while eating them.
If you use a natural, more fluid peanut butter, you might need to add a tad less to achieve the same firmness. That will depend on each nut butter.
They add crunchiness and a unique flavor depending on the type of cookies you use.
I love chocolate ones, but this recipe is also great with vanilla or coconut cookies. Or be more adventurous and use a spicy one like gingersnaps.
This adds a layer of chocolate flavor that is amazing if you want more of it. You can omit it, but it complements the oat bars well.
What type of chocolate can you use? I love semi-sweet, but milk chocolate is an option if you like sweeter-than-average snacks. Or a mix of both. Your choice.
Substitutions for peanut butter
- Dulce de leche: the bars will be sweeter, and the flavor different. If you've never tried chocolate and dulce de leche together, you're in for a real treat! You can buy dulce de leche repostero Vacalin online.
- Almond butter or cashew butter: the flavor is mellower than peanut in my opinion. But similar in texture.
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- ¾ cup traditional oats
- Large pinch of salt
- 1 cup ground plain chocolate cookies
- ⅔ cup confectioners sugar
- 3 0z semisweet chocolate or ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup regular peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
For the ganache topping:
- 3 tablespoons cream (heavy or double)
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (or ½ cup chocolate chips)
- Sprinkles for decoration, optional
- Have ready a buttered or sprayed 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper.
- Heat peanut butter and butter until you can mix them. I use the microwave and a large mixing bowl. If you used a small container, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in the oats, salt, ground cookies, sugar, and chocolate chips to the peanut butter mixture.
- Mix well with a silicon or rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until no dry parts remain. It might take a few minutes. The dough will be shiny and dark.
- Put it in the prepared pan, covering it as even and as smooth as possible. You might aid yourself with the back of a spoon that is lightly dipped in water.
- Refrigerate for several hours until it solidifies, and the oats absorb liquid and become chewier.
- When you’re ready to cut the bars, take the whole thing from the pan and transfer it to a board.
- In a bowl heat the cream with the chocolate until melted and smooth. I do it in the microwave in 10-second spurts, whisking well each time and making sure I don't scorch the chocolate.
- Pour it over the bars. You can spread it with a spatula or use a piping bag or fork to make a pattern.
- Sprinkle some confetti over it, if desired, before the chocolate settles.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated and well wrapped.
- Substitution: you can replace the peanut butter for same amount of dulce de leche or almond butter.
- Ganache: use milk chocolate if you like a sweeter bar or a mix of milk and semisweet.
- Freezing: you can freeze it for a few weeks, well wrapped.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Refrigeration time: 3 hours
- Category: Bars
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/12
- Calories: 295
- Sugar: 19.8 g
- Sodium: 275.8 mg
- Fat: 19.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 27.9 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Protein: 5.5 g
- Cholesterol: 17.7 mg
Keywords: no-bake chocolate oat bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart