This recipe for chocolate topped oatmeal bars are super easy to make, have wholesome ingredients, yet taste like a candy bar – and just happen to be gluten free. What’s not to love?
This recipe is one of AOC’s simple cookie recipes that are all real food, from scratch recipes that taste amazing and are easy enough for anyone to make.
I’ve made this chocolate topped oatmeal bars recipe for many years because they are fast, easy, and contain my favorite flavor combo of peanut butter and chocolate in the topping – making them extra delicious in my book. But it’s not just me – everyone who tries these wants either 1) more or 2) the recipe.
However, I did have to recreate them to use real food because my original recipe from the 1980’s used a boxed frosting mix. Oh, how the times have changed. And for the better, I think!
After giving the recipe a make-over to include more wholesome ingredients I was happy to discover they still had that candy-bar-like taste they always had. Just a little bit of whole food heaven when that happens.
Chocolate Topped Oatmeal Bars
My favorite simple cookie recipes dump everything in a bowl to stir, and this ranks right up there with the best. The ingredients needed are:
- Rolled Oats
- Brown Sugar
- Nuts (I used pecans here, but they are equally good with walnuts – or even no nuts.)
- Butter or Coconut Oil
- Chocolate Chips
- Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
Note: Using coconut oil instead of butter would make these bars dairy free, as well as egg, and wheat-free.
When everything is combined, press it into a 10×15 baking sheet. TIP: I’ve found simply running your fingers under water and then patting out the dough works better than oil or butter and is easier. Or use a small, flat spatula (like my favorite pictured above), rinsing with water if it starts to stick.
While the oat bars are baking, melt a package of chocolate chips (or other chocolate equivalent to 12-oz.) with the peanut butter or other nut butter until smooth, about a minute in a microwave, or a few minutes on the stovetop.
Remove the bars from the oven, pour on the chocolate-peanut butter topping and spread evenly using a spatula. TIP: To get a decorative top, use the spatula (or a knife) to swirl the chocolate first lengthwise, then in the other direction to create a chevron pattern in the chocolate.
Cool completely (refrigerating speeds up the process) before cutting into bars.
I suggest cutting the chocolate topped oatmeal bars smaller than other cookies because they are fairly rich. Cutting six lines one way and eight the other produces 48 inch-sized bars which are just about right.
These bars do need to be stored in the refrigerator since the chocolate topping can melt, but they are fine for a few hours as part of a dessert bar or potluck.
And they freeze wonderfully – which is good, because I have to get these in the freezer right away before I eat more than I should!
Chocolate Topped Oatmeal Bars Recipe
- 4 cups whole rolled oats not quick
- 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup nuts chopped*
- 2/3 cup butter or coconut oil melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 cups chocolate chips a 12-oz bag or chopped chocolate
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter chunky or smooth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10 x 15-inch baking sheet** with parchment (for easy removal and cutting) or just lightly grease.
- Mix together the oatmeal, sugar, and nuts. Melt the butter or coconut oil and mix in the vanilla before adding to the oatmeal. Use the same measuring cup from the butter to measure the honey and add it to the oatmeal mixture, stirring all together.
- Press mixture firmly into the prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes, until browned. Rotate the pan halfway through baking if needed for even browning.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and peanut butter together, on low on the stovetop or about one minute in the microwave and stirring to finish melting.
- Pour the chocolate topping over the warm bars, spreading evenly. Let cool before cutting into bars.
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