No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Recently to thank a friend for a favor, I made them some no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars. I know a dessert with chocolate and butter is probably...or definitely...not healthy. The thing is, these are made with old-fashioned oats and natural peanut butter, so you get some whole grain fiber and protein with each serving (some portion control will be necessary here). Therefore, I feel there is some good compromising going on. I'll sure eat my oatmeal if smooth, chocolatey peanut butter is involved! Not to mention the sticky, toffee-like mixture that coats the oatmeal. These were so easy to make and look impressive with those little chocolate swirls on top.

The origin of this recipe is the recipe blog Buns In My Oven. Please check out the link to go to the original post and blog.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Printable Recipe

3/4 cup unsalted butter (save the butter wrapper to butter the baking dish)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky, I like Jif Natural)

1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oatmeal. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8x8-inch dish, however I used an odd-shaped 7x9-inch dish.
2. Meanwhile, add the chocolate and peanut butter to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the oats pressed into the pan. Reserve at least 3 tbsp to drizzle over the top (it would appear I did a lot more!).
3. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter layer.  Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup and/or your hands, gently press the top layer of oats until they are relatively smooth on top. Using a fork, drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars in a decorative pattern.
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving. A thin-bladed sharp knife worked well to cut these. Clean the knife off on a towel in between cuts to make sure you get smooth edges.

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