Crispy, no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars. Vegan, refined sugar-free, and full of wholesome ingredients.
Say hello to what I ate for breakfast this morning! I brought my last test-batch of chocolate peanut butter bars to the office, and I couldn’t even help it. I used to only kinda like chocolate + peanut butter (don’t look at me like that), but I have come to my senses. And this year, my January goal was to create a healthy-ish dessert recipe so you can have something sweet but still feel good about it. And, it just so happens that this recipe ended up being wholesome, delicious, refined sugar-free, vegan, no-bake, ALL THE THINGS. Oh, and there’s whole grains in there too. I’ll probably eat another one for breakfast tomorrow. 😛
In terms of healthy-ish desserts, I have come a long way. I used to try out a lot of sugar-free crap made with fake chemicals, but I am happy to report that I haven’t had a packet of Splenda in probably 8 years. Then, I went through a huuuuge phase of no healthy desserts at all, cause like, what’s the point? But now, I think I’ve gotten to a place where I’m willing to try one out every once in a while, especially for New Year’s resolutions!
Most of the time, I actually eat lots of kale and farro and other nutritious, wholesome ingredients. I usually don’t share those recipes, because I find them a little mundane, and I like to keep SSL fun. But I had to share these bars! They’re SO GOOD. Like, they don’t even taste healthy. Scout’s honor, at least ten people told me such.
Ingredients you’ll need for crispy chocolate peanut butter bars
These chocolate peanut butter bars are so crunchy, perfectly sweet, and filled with all kinds of good stuff! I was very determined to not use a bunch of expensive, hard-to-find health ingredients, and luckily, it all worked out! The main ingredients you’ll need are:
Creamy Peanut Butter: You could also try almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter if you’re allergic to nuts! I’m usually #TeamCrunchy when it comes to peanut butter, but for this recipe, make sure it’s creamy and made only with peanuts (and maybe a little salt).
Maple Syrup: You could also try honey!
Coconut Oil: If you don’t like coconut, don’t worry! If you eat them right away, there is a small hint of coconut, but if you give it a couple hours, the taste completely goes away. 🤷 If you want, you could also probably use unsalted butter or another neutral oil.
Finely Chopped Peanuts: Or whatever nut that complements the nut butter you’re using.
Crispy Brown Rice Cereal: I found mine at Whole Foods. You could just use regular crispy rice cereal if you want!
Dark Chocolate: Vegan, if that’s important to you.
How to make these healthy chocolate peanut butter bars!
First, you’ll heat the peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. It may get a little chunky at first, but it will smooth out. Make sure it’s nice and warm, and the coconut oil has melted completely. Stir in some vanilla and cinnamon for fun!
Add your peanut butter mixture to the crispy brown rice cereal and chopped peanuts. Make sure there are no dry spots, but don’t crush the cereal too much!
Spoon the crispy peanut butter mixture into a prepared 8×8 baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture until it’s nice and packed. Use clean hands if you need to!
Melt your chocolate with a little coconut oil, and pour it over the top of the crispy peanut butter layer. Tilt the pan around to spread the chocolate evenly.
Add sprinkles for fun! Or flaky salt if you’re a grown up. Refrigerate the bars for at least an hour.
Remove the bars from the fridge, and cut into 16 equal squares. That’s it. Yay!
A few tips for making perfect chocolate peanut butter bars
Some natural 100% peanut butters have a little bit of salt (the brand I use does). If your peanut butter doesn’t have any salt, add a pinch to the peanut butter while it’s warming on the stove.
To make a full pan, just double the recipe, and press it into a 9×13 pan!
If the bars are in the fridge for more than an hour, let them warm up for about 10 minutes before you cut them up.
I would *highly* recommend using parchment paper to line the baking pan, or you probably won’t be able to get the bars out of the pan.
Freeze the bars for up to two months if you can’t finish them. But probably you will.
Even puppies like them! But, for a dog-friendly version, check out these homemade peanut butter dog cookies.
Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Crispy Peanut Butter Bars
- 2 1/2 cup crispy brown rice cereal
- 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup creamy 100% peanut butter (no added ingredients)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt (if there’s no salt in your peanut butter)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Cute sprinkles or flaky salt, for topping
- Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the crispy brown rice cereal and peanuts.
- In a small saucepan, mix the peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil until the mixture is smooth and the coconut oil is melted. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla, salt (if using), and cinnamon. Add the peanut butter mixture to the cereal mix, and stir until completely combined. There should be no dry cereal spots.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, and press with the back of a spoon (or clean hands) until you have an even layer.
- In a microwave (or double-boiler), melt the chocolate and coconut oil until just melted. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Tilt the pan around until you have a smooth, even layer of chocolate. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles or flaky salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Let the bars sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes. Cut into 16 even squares. Store in an airtight container for up to four days, or freeze for up to two months!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: New Religion by Gold Connections