It’s often hard to gauge when your sweet tooth is going to kick in. But when it does, it’s critical to have something that satisfies your craving to the deepest core.
And when that sweet tooth strikes, it’s even more important to have something sensational stashed away for these maniacal moments when only a seriously rich dessert will do. Something that will ease the pain of the craving, but not overwhelm us with excessive calories, gluttony and the dreaded guilt.
Get Ready to Not Bake
Enter stage left and these amazingly simple, no-bake, good + good for you peanut butter and dark chocolate bars. With only six ingredients, most of which you may even have in your pantry right now, and 15 minutes, your new favorite treat will be chilling in the freezer preparing to enchant and delight you within a few short hours.
The base of the bars are dense with a combination of organic peanut butter and ground oats blended with a bit of maple syrup and a touch of vanilla to heighten the flavor. Then, it’s topped with a thick layer of rich and dark chocolate that crunches and melts in your mouth at the same time. This super dessert is easy to make, gluten-free and vegan (and can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats) and, in just one bite, I think you’ll agree that this is what a Reese’s peanut butter cup is supposed to taste like.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars
If you are a Reese's person--and who isn't--you are going to flip for these easy, no-bake peanut butter and dark chocolate bars that are gluten-free ( if you use gluten-free oats), free from refined sugar and vegan. In addition, they are beyond fabulous and come together in 15 minutes or less. Patience and a few hours in the freezer to set up is all that's required.
- 1 cup natural peanut butter or other nut/seed butter of your choice, I chose Trader Joe's organic crunchy salted pb
- 1 cup ground oats
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life brand
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, place peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in the pan over medium heat. As peanut butter melts into the syrup, stir well to combine.
After about 2 minutes, when the mixtures are blended, remove from the heat.
Add the cup of ground oats and stir well to blend thoroughly. It will be thick, but continue blending the mixture until you can no longer see any flecks of ground oatmeal.
Transfer peanut butter-oat mixture into the parchment-lined dish and, using a spatula or wet fingers, press evenly into the dish.
Once it's spread out, you can use the back of a measuring cup so it's packed into the dish and flat on the top.
Wipe out the saucepan, if necessary, and add the chocolate chips and coconut oil and place over medium low heat.
Once the chocolate and coconut begin to melt, stir constantly to combine until it is silky smooth.
When the chocolate is completely melted, pour on top of peanut butter mixture.
To spread the chocolate, simply tip the dish left and right and front and back so the chocolate covers everything.
Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight, until firm.
Remove from the fridge and let bars rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting. If they are cold, the chocolate may crack a bit when cutting.
Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.
For added crunchy texture, consider adding 1/4 cup cacao nibs to the melted chocolate or sprinkle on top once the chocolate layer is in place.