When I examine my life rationally, I realize that my self-worth is not dependent upon whether or not my household of guests likes my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars.
That said, when I set a plate of the healthy, whole wheat oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip bars before my sister, brother-in-law, and husband—all of whom are highly opinionated about their desserts—I held my breath for the table’s first reaction.
Every single person had second helpings!
My brother-in-law had thirds, then refused to believe me when I informed him that these chewy, ooey-gooey, peanut-butter-loaded oatmeal chocolate chip bars are:
- 100% whole grain
- Contain ZERO refined sugar
- Contain ZERO butter, shortening, or oil, and
- Pack 5 grams of protein per bar
Although I make healthy tweaks to every one of my dessert recipes when I can, I’m sometimes hesitant to serve the healthiest of the healthy to guests, because I’m nervous about how they will be received.
Sure, I think that these bars are fit to make the angel choirs sing, but would someone who is used to a more traditional, sugar-and-butter-based cookie bar agree?
Considering that Ben spent the first 10 of the 11 years I’ve known him rarely eating any dessert aside from cookies and cream ice cream, the fact that he’s been eating these easy oatmeal chocolate chip bars after dinner AND taking one to work with him every day is further testament to their yumminess.
5 Star Review
“I gave it a try and I LOVE them! Not only were they easy to make, but they’re so tasty!”— Kim —
How to Make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
Forget those store-bought Quaker oatmeal chocolate chip bars, this recipe only needs a few simple ingredients that you probably already have lurking in your pantry.
They’re the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or simple dessert, and they’re certain to please anyone to whom you serve them.
- Peanut Butter. Peanut butter makes these bars taste ultra rich, decadent, and truly delicious. Peanut butter also gives these bars an extra boost of protein.
- White Whole Wheat Flour. I used white whole wheat flour to lighten this recipe up without negatively impacting the texture and flavor.
- Honey. For a touch of natural sweetness.
- Applesauce. A healthy way to give the bars some much-needed moisture. (I also use this trick in my Vegan Brownies recipe.)
- Vanilla. I can never resist adding vanilla with peanut butter and chocolate flavors.
- Cinnamon. Adds coziness and warmth to the bars.
- Oats. The nutritious base of these tasty treats. Oats are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Milk. You can use any milk you have on hand.
- Chocolate Chips. For melty chocolatey goodness.
- Beat the wet ingredients together. Add the salt.
- Beat in the dry ingredients. Drizzle in the milk. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the dough to a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16 to 19 minutes. Let cool, then slice and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate bars in an airtight storage container for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze. Freeze bars in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
For easy snacks and desserts on demand, individually wrap your baked oatmeal chocolate chip bars before storing them in the freezer. Then, you can easily thaw and enjoy them whenever a craving hits!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Pan. This is my favorite baking pan for making oatmeal cookie bars!
- Parchment Paper. These pre-cut sheets are fantastic too.
- Hand Mixer. An easy way to mix the oatmeal bar batter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Creamy, shelf-stable peanut butter will work best for oatmeal chocolate chip bars. I don’t recommend using refrigerated peanut butter, as it doesn’t hold together as well and can make the bars turn out with a poor texture.
Yes, you can swap the peanut butter in this recipe for almond butter. As with peanut butter, I recommend using creamy almond butter.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter I recommend the natural, shelf-stable kind, not the refrigerated kind, as it does not hold together as well and can make the bars dry
- 1/3 cup honey or swap light agave nectar or maple syrup to make vegan
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder I prefer aluminum free
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats gluten free if needed
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or substitute all purpose flour; see recipe notes to make the bars gluten free
- 1/4 cup milk any kind you like
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips dairy free if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper so that you have some overhanging the sides like "handles," then lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the peanut butter, honey, applesauce, and vanilla extract until smooth and evenly combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in the salt.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda over the top. Then, sprinkle on the flour and oats. Beat until combined and the batter comes together With the mixer running on low speed, drizzle in the milk and continue beating until incorporated. The batter will be very thick. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
- Once dough is well combined, scrape it into the prepared baking dish, then press the top to make it even. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until the bars are lightly golden and just set. Do not overbake! Allow to cool completely, remove from the pan using the parchment paper overhang, then slice.
- TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: I haven’t tried making the bars gluten free, but I think that you could replace the white whole wheat flour with oat flour or a gluten free 1:1 baking blend.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate bars in an airtight storage container for up to 2 weeks.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze bars in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
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