A couple of weeks ago, a good friend sent me a no-bake cookie recipe of her’s, with instructions to have fun adapting it – and that’s just what happened! In her original recipe, the cookies are portioned out in a snack size but I got a little crazy, and pretty soon her snack turned into a chocolate frosted granola bar!
The genius of her recipe lies in the toasted oats – I wish I could take credit for this bit of ingenuity but it’s all the work of my friend! I’ve made many different kinds of no-bake cookies, but I’ve never seen a recipe where the oats were toasted before adding them to the stove top mixture.
It definitely takes this cookie base to a whole new level, and it’s because of that added texture I ended up turning these into granola bars. But… these aren’t just any old granola bars – they’re like a cookie/bar combo! They have a bit of crunch from the toasted oats and flax seeds, but they’re moister than a regular granola bar which gives them their chewy cookie characteristics. Once you add the rich salted chocolate frosting, you might even think you’re having dessert! Either way, (snack/dessert) these are awesome when you’re standing on top of a mountain!
When you’re toasting the oats, it’s really important to put the flax seeds in halfway through the toasting process. I’ve found their flavor can be overwhelming if they’re toasted the same amount of time as the oats, and you really want the pure peanut butter flavor to come through!
The ‘wet’ ingredients in this recipe are heated on the stove just to make it easier to combine the honey with the rest of the ingredients. This no-bake cookies base is easier than most because you don’t even have to bring the mixture to a boil first, just warm on the stove to combine.
Once the oats are toasted, combine them right away with the peanut butter mixture on the stove top. Spread the mixture evenly over a parchment lined baking pan – sometimes it fits the whole cookie sheet and sometimes not, just spread it evenly as far down the pan as possible.
P.S. These freeze really well – which is good because you don’t want too much temptation sitting around begging to be eaten! The frosting looses some of it’s gloss by the second day, but it sure doesn’t loose any of it’s flavor!
I’ve made these bars with both maple syrup and honey – overall I prefer the honey but it only wins by a smidgen!
For No-Bake Cookies that didn’t turn into frosted granola bars, try these 3 options:
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 Tablespoons golden flax seeds
- 1¼ cups peanut butter
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- ⅔ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup or 4.5 ounces chocolate chips, (I use Enjoy Life)
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1½ Tablespoons coconut oil
- Flaked sea salt for sprinkling over the top of the frosted bars
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Spread the oats evenly over a cookie sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Halfway through the cooking time, add the flax seeds to the oats and stir to prevent the edges from over browning.
- While the oats are toasting, combine the wet ingredients on the stove top. You don't need to bring the mixture to a boil, just warm the mixture over medium heat to combine.
- When you take the oats out of the oven, pour them immediately into the peanut butter mixture on the stovetop. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Spread the mixture evenly over a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sometimes the mixture will set up too much to spread it over the whole cookie sheet, just spread it as far as it will go without a struggle. The only thing that's affected is the thickness of your granola bars, so no big deal!
- While the granola bars set up, make the frosting on the stove top by combine the chocolate chips, almond milk, and coconut oil. Stir constantly over low heat just until the chocolate is melted.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the granola bars and let the frosting set up for a few hours for nice slices.
- If you want to eat one right away, cut a piece and sprinkle it with sea salt to enjoy immediately!
- Sprinkle the rest of the bars with sea salt after 2 hours - otherwise the sea salt has a tendency to melt into the frosting. Portion into bars about 2"x4" big, the recipe will make anywhere from 20-25 bars.
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