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.
Worth, affirmed. 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?
The beautiful and terrible thing about family is that they tell you the truth. Where friends and co-workers might politely take a bite of your naturally sweetened, butter-free dessert, then wait for you to walk away before chucking the remainder in the trash, family need not fuss with these formalities. The fact that my family enjoyed this simple, healthy dessert made our weekend together even sweeter.
In addition to being deemed worthy of our family weekend, this recipe has become a part of Ben and my weeknight routine. After dinner, we each warm one up, pour ourselves glasses of milk (truly), then settle in for an episode of The Daily Show and dessert.
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 healthy oatmeal chocolate chip bars after dinner AND taking one to work with him every day is further testament to their yumminess.
Ingredients for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
These bars only need a few simple ingredients that you probably already have lurking in your pantry.
- Peanut Butter. Creamy peanut butter works best.
- Honey. For a touch of sweetness!
- Applesauce. Adds moisture.
- Vanilla. I can never resist adding vanilla with peanut butter and chocolate flavors.
- Cinnamon. Delicious in these bars.
- Oats. The base of these tasty treats.
- Whole Wheat Flour. I used whole wheat to lighten this recipe up.
- Milk. Adds much-needed moisture.
- Chocolate Chips. For melty chocolatey goodness.
How to Store Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
- To Store. Store leftover bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze. You can also wrap them tightly and freeze for up to 2 months.
More Oatmeal Bar Recipes
- Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
- Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
Healthy oatmeal chocolate chip bars, The Daily Show, and dessert. Exciting married lives we lead! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Healthy 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 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 8x8-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 over bake! Allow to cool completely, remove from the pan using the parchment paper overhang, then slice.
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