Jeff and a friend took a road trip to California last weekend (without me!!!) for a seminar (oh right, that’s why I didn’t want to go). He asked if I’d make a snack for him to bring along, and that’s a request I am always happy to fulfill.
I’ve mentioned before that cookies are probably my favorite thing to bake. Still true, but if you’re not in the mood to roll out dozens of little balls and stand by the oven for an hour, removing and replacing pans every 6-9 minutes, well, bars can’t be beat, right?
I’ve had these bars in my recipe binder for years, but to tell you the truth, I can’t recall making them. I’m sure I have—recipes don’t earn a spot in The Binder without a thorough testing first—but it felt like I was trying something brand new when I made these no-bake bars.
And they are just delicious. They take all of 10-15 minutes to make (although they have to chill for a few hours afterward, so perhaps not the best choice if you’re dying for a treat you can dig into IMMEDIATELY). Rich, buttery oat bars, topped with a thick layer of chocolate and peanut butter—I can’t remember making them before, but I’m not at all surprised that I thought it was a recipe worth saving.
They didn’t all make it into the cooler for Jeff’s road trip, of course. It’s a matter of quality testing. Somebody’s gotta do it. I found a helper more than willing to lend a hand/mouth in the name of quality control.
No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
slightly adapted from All Recipes
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
Grease a 9x9” square pan and set aside. (For even less cleanup, line the pan with foil, lightly greased.)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. Stir well to combine, then add oats. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Remove 1/2 cup oat mixture and set aside.
Press oats firmly into prepared pan.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth and well-combined.
Spread chocolate/peanut butter mixture evenly over oats, and crumble reserved 1/2 cup oats over the top.
Place pan in refrigerator to allow bars to set (approximately 2-3 hours . . . or, for the lazy and hungry [ahem, like me], go ahead and pop them in the freezer for about an hour, then let them sit out on the counter to soften a tad before cutting).