Cookie Bars, Reinvented: Healthy, Gluten Free & Still Delicious.
When I was a child, my mom used to make delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. They were essentially peanut butter oatmeal bars with a layer of chocolate and a drizzle of peanut butter frosting. My brother and I loved them. We still do.
They are one of those things that I most associate with childhood. When I think of “comfort food”, I think of potato soup, meatloaf, stuffed peppers, kraut burgers, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, gingerbread, apple pie and chocolate peanut butter bars. My mom used recipes that had been passed to her from her mother or grandmother or great grandmother and didn’t meddle with them. She didn’t need to. They were tried and true and delicious as is. They were much-loved expected staples of my childhood.
I have been the lucky beneficiary of these hand-me-down recipes. I love them. I use them – often. My kids have grown up on their great grandmother’s gingerbread and kraut burgers and potato soup with rivels (egg and flour dumplings, for the uninitiated) and of course – Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.
They have also grown up with many, many variations of those recipes because I’m the kind of cook that can hardly stand to make the same thing the same way twice. That personality trait is both a blessing and a curse, trust me. Sometimes, my recipe changes are well received. Sometimes… not so much.
All that to say that these Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars are a remade version of my mother’s recipe.
A lot is the same. A lot is different. They are healthier. They are whole grain and gluten free. And they are very, very low in sugar. Yet…. the essence of them has not changed. They are still rich peanut butter oatmeal bars covered in chocolate. They are exactly the type of thing I love to have around when my teenagers and their friends barrel through the door after school and start rummaging through cupboards and the refrigerator. They get to eat cookie bars, but I know they’ve filled themselves up with whole grains and fiber and protein instead of with something that is nutritionally void and full of sugar.
Also – these are incredibly easy. You literally dump everything except the chocolate and peanut butter drizzle into a bowl and mix. They are an especially great thing to cook with young kids because, not only are they simple to bake, they provide the opportunity to teach your kids that good nutrition is also delicious.
I do still make my mom’s original version of chocolate peanut butter cookie bars from time to time. They will always be comfort food for me. But, this version is becoming more of a staple at my house. Which is kind of the best kind of tradition, don’t you think? Rather than discarding something beloved, we just remake it to suite what we need from it now.
Used in this gluten free chocolate peanut butter bars recipe:
More Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes:
- Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp
- Gluten free Chocolate Almond Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
- Gluten free Double Chocolate Cinnamon Ricotta Muffins
- The Best Gluten Free Banana Muffins
for even more delicious gluten free recipes, follow my gluten free recipes board on pinterest.
- ⅓ cup oat flour
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup ground flax meal
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup stevia
- 2 tbsp molasses
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), plus 4 tbsp for the topping
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips, at least 60% cocoa
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray or grease with butter or shortening.
- Dump all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips and 4 tbsp peanut butter for topping, into the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on low speed just until mixed. (You can also use a hand held mixer or just beat with a wooden spoon.)
- Press the cookie dough into a tight layer in the bottom of the pan with your fingertips. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn the oven off. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips across the top of the cookie bars and put the pan back into the oven for 1 minute. Remove from the oven and spread the melted chocolate across the cookie bars in an even layer. Let the cookie bars cool in the pan completely.
- When the bars are completely cool, put the remaining 4 tbsp of peanut butter into a small bowl and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds – just until it’s fluid enough to pour. Using a spoon, drizzle the peanut butter over the surface of the bars in a crisscross design. Let the peanut butter cool, slice into 24 bars, and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.