Chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars are a delicious classic — but they can’t be considered healthy…that is, they couldn’t until healthy dessert blogger Katie Higgins of Chocolate Covered Katie got ahold of them. In Episode 8 of What the Fudge, she shares her recipe, which replaces refined white sugar and butter with wholesome ingredients — but, don’t worry, the delicious, chocolatey taste stays the same.
Watch Katie make this recipe in Episode 8 of What the Fudge:
“There are plenty of chocolate oatmeal no-bake bar recipes out there, but the special thing about these bars is that they have no refined sugar,” Katie says. “They have much less sugar in general than normal chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars, and they taste just as good.”
Peanut butter: A healthy substitute for regular butter
Katie enjoys creating recipes that work for everyone, including those with allergies and special needs. “I like to formulate my recipe so that they can be adaptable to different types of diets,” she says.
For this recipe, Katie swaps out regular butter for 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons peanut butter, which adds more overall nutrition and protein. “I used crunchy peanut butter, but you can use smooth if you prefer,” says Katie. “If you don’t want to use peanut butter, you can also use almond or sunflower butter.”
Swap out refined sugar for maple syrup
“No-bake cookies are a pretty traditional, popular recipe. You can find them all over Pinterest, and they usually have an astronomical amount of sugar and butter or oil in them,” she says. “The great thing about these is that they have less refined white sugar.”
Katie adds 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, but you can use honey, agave or your favorite liquid sweetener instead.
Use coconut oil as a healthy substitute for butter
Katie then adds half a cup of coconut oil to the recipe, replacing the butter in classic no-bake bar recipes.
“I use coconut oil instead of butter. It makes them vegan, it makes them cholesterol free, and it also solidifies when it’s hardened so the bars are solid without having to actually bake them.”
No baking, but you’ll still need your stove
Katie pours the mixture into a pan over low heat and stirs until it’s creamy, and the ingredients have melted together. Then, she turns off the stove and mixes in the dry ingredients, starting with the oats.
“Two cups of oats and then just a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness,” she says. “I like to add salt, especially when you have peanut butter.”
To add more flavor, Katie uses a half of a teaspoon of vanilla extract. “I use pure vanilla extract, not imitation, because imitation gives a little bit of a strange taste.”
Lastly, the best part: chocolate! Katie adds 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the mixture. “Stir this together until the quick oats are evenly coated,” she says. “It will look dry at first, but just continue to stir, and it will get thinner and thinner.”
Chill them out
Transfer the mixture to a pan lined with parchment paper.
“Use the spoon to just smash it all down. You really want to press it down really well into the pan,” says Katie. “Press it down with as much force as you possibly can to really make sure that they stick together. As soon as you chill them, you can cut them into bars.”
Easy, delicious and healthy
These chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars hit the trifecta: easy, healthy and yummy.
“These are one of my favorite recipes because they have three of my favorite ingredients: chocolate, oatmeal and peanut butter,” she says. “Even though these are made of healthy ingredients, they taste amazing — but don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself.”