No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

~ These Peanut Butter Bars are filled with extra-special texture and flavor from oats and coconut, all crowned with a glorious chocolate layer. And, since they’re a no-bake bar cookie, they’re ridiculously easy. Pssst … and they’re even a little healthier too, so you’ll actually feel terrific watching your loved ones gobble them up! ~

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

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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. (Mmmmm … like our Old-Fashioned Date Bar recipe and our Peppermint-White Chocolate Chickpea Blondies.)

Plus, 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!

No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: 4 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Decadent peanut butter bars upgraded with oats and coconut ... and since they're no-bake bar cookies, they're super quick to make. You'll feel great that they're healthier, too (but nobody will even notice that part, trust me)!

  Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 cups shredded/flaked 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)

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, coconut, and flaxseed meal 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.

Notes

Optional coconut oil: 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 the oat mixture, as it will not flow easily enough on its own.

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

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 48 servings Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

Nutrition calculation does not include optional coconut oil. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may additionally vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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66 thoughts on “No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars”

    • I totally agree, Jen – it’s an absolutely irresistible flavor combination, and so wonderful in these peanut butter bars. And as a mom, you’ll feel great knowing that the treat your kids are devouring is actually so much more nutritious for them, too (although they probably won’t even notice that part one bit lol)! 😉 ~Shelley

      Reply
    • Hi, Chloe! We usually used sweetened, shredded coconut. 🙂 This is the typical type you would find in most grocery stores (Baker’s brand, for example). If you want to cut down on sugar a bit, you can use unsweetened shredded coconut, as well. (Though this is typically a bit harder to find!) However, we would recommend not using flaked coconut, as these pieces are usually too large to work well in this recipe. Hope that’s helpful! 🙂 ~Amy

      Reply
  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”

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply

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