These no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars taste like Reese’s with less processed ingredients and DARK chocolate for a healthier treat. They happen to be gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free, as well!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I just finished taking my fall semester final exams and am so excited to have a few weeks off to spend time with friends and family, try new recipes, and do some holiday baking.
One thing I always look forward to over school breaks is being more active on the blog and on IG stories. I hope to share more easy meals on IG and more blog recipes than usual during this break, starting with these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars.
I used to make chocolate-dipped buckeyes with my brother every year as part of our marathon Christmas baking session, and these bars are like a quicker, healthier version of buckeyes. (And they’re honestly a much-welcomed break from carefully dipping each buckeye into melted chocolate one at a time!)
The typical no-bake chocolate peanut butter bar recipe calls for peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, sometimes butter, and semisweet or milk chocolate chips.
But since the majority of my family members eat gluten-free and dairy-free and also mostly avoid refined sugar, I decided this would be an easy recipe to change up and make a bit healthier.
So, I used natural peanut butter, just a bit of maple syrup or honey, oat flour or coconut flour (more on that below), and dark or bittersweet chocolate (you can use dairy-free). The end result is a cookie recipe that’s actually pretty low in sugar and works well with everyone’s dietary preferences.
Oat flour vs. coconut flour: The oat flour and coconut flour play a similar role to graham cracker crumbs in giving the bars some structure, and both work equally well. I tested both in this recipe since I know not everyone keeps coconut flour in their pantry, and I wanted to provide a couple of options.
Neither contributes much of a taste to the bars, so feel free to use whatever you have. You can make oat flour by blending oats in your blender. I’ve learned that coconut flour is incredibly absorbent, so you only need about half the amount of coconut flour if you go that route.
Pure maple syrup vs. honey: Again, you can use whatever you have, woohoo! I usually keep both pure maple syrup and raw honey on hand, so if you have both, I’d go for maple syrup since it’s slightly more neutral-tasting, but honey also works great.
Dark vs. semisweet vs. bittersweet chocolate: I’ve tested this recipe with chocolate ranging from 60-70% cacao, which all falls into the dark chocolate or bittersweet range. You could also use semisweet (slightly sweeter) if you prefer, and I’m sure even milk chocolate would work if that’s your favorite.
Like most no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars, these are incredibly easy to whip up and require only about 10 minutes of hands-on time.First, mix together the peanut butter layer (peanut butter, oat flour/coconut flour, and pure maple syrup/honey). Press the peanut butter mixture into an even layer on the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking dish.
Then, melt together the chocolate layer (chocolate and more peanut butter) and spread it on top of the peanut butter layer.
After refrigerating for a couple of hours, they’re ready to go!
Or if you’re in a rush like I often am when I’m whipping up a treat at the last minute, you can pop the whole pan into the freezer for 20-30 minutes and then they’ll be ready to slice.
These little bars are RICH, so I cut them into 24 or even 30 pieces. Hope you get a chance to do some holiday baking this season and can add these to your list!
If you try these healthy no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars, let me know in a comment (and leave a star rating!) or take a photo and tag me @livbane on Instagram. I’d love to see!
Healthyish No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Peanut Butter Layer
- 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 6 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup oat flour* (can sub 1/2 cup coconut flour)
- 6 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate bar or chocolate chips (6 oz. is approx. 1 cup chocolate chips) (use dairy-free if needed)
- 1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- In a small or medium bowl, stir together 1 cup peanut butter, maple syrup/honey, and oat flour. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish with wax or parchment paper. Press peanut butter mixture into the dish.
- In a small bowl, melt the chocolate and 1/3 cup peanut butter by microwaving for 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chocolate is just melted. Spread evenly over peanut butter layer.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or place in freezer for 20 minutes. Slice into 24 bars and store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.