No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

THK No-bake Chocolate coconut peanut butter bars4

How do you prepare for the holidays?

Decorate the tree? Light the menorah? Crazy shopping? Millions and millions of Christmas cookies? Mmmmm … Christmas cookies …

I used to bake one kind of cookie each year to take to our family gatherings. That was my version of making Christmas cookies.

I didn’t need to make a whole bunch of different kinds. My mom took care of that.

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It all started probably 20 years ago. My mom and her dear friend, Ruth, used to get together the day after Thanksgiving and bake Christmas cookies. And not just a couple different kinds of cookies while they sipped tea and caught up on daily life.

No, these two ladies baked all day. Until everything from their hair to their shoes was covered in flour dust and the counters were sticky from splattered batter. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you they baked about 150 dozen cookies in a day. That’s 1,800 cookies, my friends. 1,800 cookies.

They called themselves “The Cookie Angels” and even put together little homemade cookbooks with favorite recipes for all their friends. These little cookbooks, photocopied on brightly colored paper, have become some of my most treasured possessions. Having my mom’s tried-and-true recipes all neatly typed up and in one spot. Priceless.

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When my mom passed away three years ago, I suddenly realized that if I didn’t make Christmas cookies, all of my mom’s favorites wouldn’t be shared that year. Unacceptable.

So I pushed my sleeves up and said a prayer.

And the cookies were all awesome. Every last crumb.

Ok, so it took me a couple days. And I only made about 60 dozen. But still.

This will be the fourth year that I tie my hair up for a flurry of cinnamon and sugar. Melted chocolate smeared all over my counters.

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Using a piece of wax paper to press the base layer into the pan will ensure a perfectly flat surface, as well as no sticky hands!

A favorite of mine is the bar cookie. Yeah, they aren’t as cute as perfectly shaped cut-out cookies that have been painstakingly decorated with multi-colored icing and garnished with sparkling sugar. But really, bar cookies are sooo easy, taste awesome, and are done in a flash. Add in the no-bake goodness of this recipe – and it’s done in a half flash. (Is that a real measurement of time? Yes, yes it is.)

Oh, right. Totally forgot to mention that these little morsels of delight are healthy. You’ll never know it, though. They taste so good. So good.

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Coconut oil really helps the chocolate to spread easily! Instead of using a spatula or icing spreader, you can just tilt the pan gently to get a nice smooth layer of chocolate on top. It’s up to you if you prefer the smooth top or a more decorative top (like in our pictures).

When I was testing this recipe, I took a tray in for the teachers at my daughter’s school. I happened to see a teacher walking down the hall, eating one, and I chased after him and started asking for feedback casually asked what he thought. He told me he loved it and wanted to go back and get another. Then I told him it was healthy. He didn’t believe me.

A couple other PTO moms were also at the school, and they quickly made their way to the teacher’s lounge and divided one bar so they could each have a taste.

I was asked for the recipe. I was also asked if they could just come live at my house and eat my test batches.

Yeah … Healthy. Delicious. And perfection on your cookie tray – whether this is your one-and-only cookie for the year or one of your 150 dozen, this will shine!

THK by Gretchen

We’d Love to Hear From You!

So what’s your favorite part of preparing for the holidays? Do you bake cookies, or is it too much of a chore? Either way, what’s your favorite type of cookie??

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No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

Preparation 15 min. 2017-08-17T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 3 min. (plus chilling) 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you choose to cut your squares     adjust servings


  • 3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 cups coconut
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 cups natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional)


  1. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add peanut butter, honey and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  3. Using wax paper, press the mixture into a 9x13 jellyroll pan.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil (if using) in the microwave for about 3 minutes at 50% power, stirring after each minute (see note).
  5. Pour the chocolate over oat mixture. Using a spreader or tilting the pan, spread chocolate evenly.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is set.
  7. Cut into squares.
  8. Store in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate firm until serving.


Recipe Notes

Coconut oil helps the chocolate to spread more easily. If omitting oil, you will need to use a spreader or spatula to spread the chocolate over oat mixture, as it will not flow easily enough on its own.

Microwave times and cooking powers vary. Chocolate scorches easily, so check often while microwaving, especially near the end of cooking time.

We'd love to see your photos of this recipe! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and tag @TwoHealthyKitchens!



No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars — 54 Comments

  1. At my age *81)and this North Carolina heat (however great place to be),I am always looking for something that is not “oven ready”. Your peanut butter/chocolate creation looks wonderful! Just found your website and excited to explore it. We all need “healthy”

    • Hi Patsy! I was so thrilled to get your lovely note! You’re living in our dream state … we LOVE North Carolina (and just returned from our summer vacation in the OBX a few weeks ago). Although, having said that, it sure can get blisteringly hot down there during the summer, can’t it? No-bake recipes like these bar cookies are such a perfect solution! We have quite a few other no-bake snacks and cookies, lots of keep-the-kitchen-cool slow cooker recipes, and plenty of easy summer salads – I hope you’ll find plenty of healthy cooking inspiration here at THK, and that you’ll pop back again soon! I’m so happy to welcome you to our readership! Enjoy that NC summer … wishing I was back down there with ya! 😀 )! ~Shelley

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  15. Absolutely amazing! Another great recipe from you ladies!
    Made these tonight and they were a hit for the whole family!

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  17. 1800 cookies??! I’m not sure whether to be impressed or terrified — that’s a lot of cookies! It’s hard not make a ton of cookies this time of year, so I’m glad to have this healthy recipe! Sounds amazing and I love to give people sweets that are secretly good for them 🙂

    • Kelly, trust me … it was VERY impressive!! Every cookie was more delicious than the next! I always loved making up the cookie platters before we’d visit friends and family. I’d sneak a cookie (or three!) of my favorite flavor!
      I’m glad you’re excited about this recipe! I am SO far behind on my baking for this year (as in, I have made precisely zero!) but these are so simple to whip up I’ll have these done in a flash! And yes – the fact that these are healthy is a bonus! No guilt in sneaking a few! 🙂 ~Gretchen

    • Aww, thanks Liz! Baking (around the holidays, especially) really makes me think of my mom and all of the wonderful memories I have. I look forward to this every year – even though it may often feel overwhelming!
      And yes, these are a total win! SOOOO good!! ~Gretchen

  18. Wow, your Mom sounds like a super amazing lady. 1800 Cookies!! My hands and arms would be so tired after a day like that. Haha I’m more of a spread the baking out over many days kinda gal. That’s all I can handle 😀 What I can handle is having a whole lot of these bars. I love, love chocolate and peanut butter. Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory 😀

    • Thank you, Cindy! Yes, she was the best. I miss her terribly, but am so blessed to have all of her favorite recipes! It makes me feel closer to her when I’m reading her words and making one of her favorites!
      Yeah – I can’t accomplish this in one day either! I do love the baking, but when I’m doing it alone it takes longer! 🙂
      You can totally eat a lot of these bars – they are healthy!! (But that can be our secret!) ~Gretchen

  19. Your mom and her friend Ruth sound like an impressive pair! I love that you are carrying out her cookie tradition. I’m sure she is beyond proud of you.

    These bars looks like heaven. I wouldn’t believe they are healthy either. I wish I was a teacher at your daughter’s school! 🙂

    • Oh Sarah, they were very impressive!! They worked like a finely oiled machine together! 🙂 I was a ton of fun seeing the trays and trays (and trays!) of cookies coming out of the oven!
      You better believe these are healthy – oats, flax, peanut butter – so good for you!! But if you don’t want to share that info at the holidays, that’s up to you! You can just nibble and nibble and never feel guilty! 🙂 ~Gretchen

  20. YUM! These look amazing. I am planning to make some baked goods this weekend for our staff party on Monday and these will be on my list! I’m not making 60 dozen though.. haha good for you! Do you think brown rice syrup can sub for the honey?

    • Hey, Christine! To be honest, we don’t use a lot of brown rice syrup, so our direct, personal experience with how it would substitute in this recipe is pretty limited. However, I think it’s a safe bet that it would work just fine. There might, of course, be some slight variations in the exact flavor, consistency and sweetness, but the great thing with this recipe is that it’s no-bake so you can absolutely test how the brown rice syrup is working out, and then make adjustments to the oat mixture before you press it into the pan. So easy! Is the oat mixture not quite sweet enough? Add a bit more syrup. Is it not quite firm enough? Add a bit more oats or flax to stiffen it. You get the idea! I totally hope you make this for the staff party and would love to know how the brown rice syrup works for you! ~Shelley

  21. Oh my goodness! Your mom baked 1800 cookies in a day?! That’s probably how many cookies some *bakeries* churn out every day (maybe even not that much, depending on what they make). That is hard labor, right there, haha.

    Fun and delicious labor, but labor nonetheless. Your friends and family must have loved it! These bars look fantastic Gretchen. The fact that they’re healthy takes them to a whole new level 🙂

    • Haha! Yes, Laura! It was the baking extravaganza of the year! 🙂 When I was young, I always really looked forward to helping taste test (when I was allowed!) but now that I’m older I love making the cookies that they made! And I can only hope people like them as much!
      You don’t even need to tell anyone that these are healthy! Nobody will know because they taste sooooo good – but you’ll know you can munch away without the guilt! Happy holidays! ~Gretchen

  22. Oh my goodness ladies, these look SO good! I am all about anything chocolate and peanut butter….especially when it’s healthy and no bake! Living in Florida really makes me not want to turn on my oven, but it definitely doesn’t make me not want to eat yummy things. Now, I have the best of both worlds!

    • Oh Taylor – these will be absolutely perfect for you! Yummy cookie bars – no baking necessary! Totally the best of both worlds! And, as I’m staring out my window at the wrath from our latest winter storm, I wish I lived somewhere warm enough where I needed want to turn on my oven! I love Florida and I’m wishing I was there now instead of snowy Ohio! Have a great weekend! ~Gretchen

    • Hi Kristi! The no-bake amazingness is just ONE aspect that make these sooo awesome! The fact that these are healthy, (full of oats and flax and protein!) – and sweet (from the coconut and honey), but then we can’t forget the chocolate – ahhh … sheer perfection! Hope you love ’em as much as we do! 🙂 ~Gretchen

  23. These look wonderful. I love peanut butter and this seems like an easy holiday sweet I could make as gifts for people. I love the story about your mom–very sweet.

    • Hi Julia! Thank you for your kind words! 🙂
      These would make a perfect treat to give as gifts! They come together so quickly, but taste like you spent all day! (I won’t tell if you don’t!) Your friends will be so very impressed with your delicious desserts! ~Gretchen

    • Thank you, Abbe! Yes – thankfully I have fantastic memories about my mom. I miss her terribly, but think of her often – especially when I bake!
      You must try these bars – they are just so easy and taste amazing! I hope you love them! 🙂 ~Gretchen

  24. These look incredible! I am working through fear of honey so I think I will have to make these ASAP 🙂 I love the story about your Mom’s cookbook. My mom had one as well and it’s a treasure now that she’s gone.

    • Yes, Sharon – I just love to read and reread her recipes. She was a home-ec teacher, so there were lots (and lots!) of recipes! 🙂 It is so special to have these – I know you understand that! A treasure, indeed!
      I hope you try these! They really are sooo good! My husband has requested that we permanently have some on hand – he loves them, and wants to eat them every day! ~Gretchen

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