These no-bake oat 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 the magic combination of peanut butter and chocolate. A great snack and dessert.
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Though we love the Carmelitas bars profusely, the idea of a no-bake snack that combines so many delicious ingredients caught my eye immediately.
Things being hectic nowadays, I love to find one-bowl recipes that make life easier and baking so much fun.
There is something about dumping all ingredients into a bowl and not using the oven, right? It's still baking, and I still love it!
Turning on the oven can be a deal-breaker when the weather gets hot.
It's during those times when these chocolate peanut butter oat bars 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 love using Ghirardelli Chocolate Dark Bar 60%, Green & Black's dark chocolate 70%, Ghirardelli 72% intense dark chocolate, and Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is.
- 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
You can use any type, but there are some considerations.
Though I'm a big fan of natural products, the regular commercial butter, such as Jif or Skippy peanut butter, works better.
If you use the natural type, you might need to add extra oats since it can be more fluid. Or use less peanut butter.
Either way, it will be delicious.
The idea is to make the bars firm enough to cut easily and not make a mess while eating them.
They add a lot of crunchiness, and a particular flavor since any type of plain cookie can be used.
I do love chocolate ones - who doesn't - but they are great with vanilla or coconut cookies too. Or go wild and use gingersnaps or whatever suits your imagination.
This adds a layer of soft, deep chocolate flavor, which is essential for the overall flavor. 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.
Type of oats
Two types of oats are widely available: quick-cooking (instant) and old-fashioned rolled (traditional).
Instant oats have less consistency and are more powdery. I like them for instant breakfast bowls or fruit crumbles.
Use dulce de leche instead of peanut butter.
The bars will be sweeter and the flavor different. If you never tried chocolate and dulce de leche together, you're in for a real treat!
I live in Argentina, where it is available everywhere. And I'm a huge fan, a fact very well documented in the recipe index of this blog. If you live in the US, you can easily buy dulce de leche online.
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- ¾ cup traditional oats
- Large pinch of salt
- 1 cup ground plain chocolate cookies
- ⅔ cup confectioners sugar
- 5.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chopped, divided)
- ¾ cup regular peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons cream (heavy or double)
- 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.
- Add oats, salt, cookies, sugar, and HALF the chopped chocolate to the peanut butter mixture.
- Mix well with a spatula or 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