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Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bars

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Just the thought of a creamy peanut butter cup melting in our mouths is enough to make our heads spin around! There is nothing like the combination of peanut butter and chocolate; the perfect marriage of sweet and salty flavors rolled into one. That’s why this bar recipe is such a great thing to have on hand for both happy and even stressful moments! We know you love treats like we do so we searched high and low for a recipe that doesn’t compromise one bit on the sweet taste we all love, but we also wanted to add a wholesome twist that makes these peanut butter chocolate bars deliciously guilt-free.

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Heart-healthy rolled oats are bound together with peanut butter and maple syrup, creating a firm and tasty base. Then, when you put the rest of this dish together, it’s really all about layering – three layers to be exact. You’ve got your oat base, peanut butter filling, and a delicious top layer of rich chocolate frosting. Plus, if you’re wondering whether you need to preheat the oven, the answer is no! We almost couldn’t believe it ourselves when we figured out that this dish doesn’t require any heat! How great is that? There’s nothing wrong with baking when the time is right, but sometimes…we don’t just don’t feel like taking that extra step when we need a quick treat. This oven-free recipe is also a safe and relatively healthy for kids to have some fun in the kitchen too. Who doesn’t love a dish that comes together quickly and that brings the family together as well during the making of it?!

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Here are some tips we picked up along the way…. We discovered that cutting out a piece of wax paper for the bottom of the pan really helped to remove the bars later without sticking, so keep that in mind while prepping your dish. That, and you’ll want a sharp knife for slicing through all the yummy layers, which makes things much easier. We all love to save time, and bars are faster to portion than individual cookies and other more complicated desserts. If you’re planning on feeding a crowd, this is also a recipe you can also double or even triple without much effort. How can anyone resist such an tempting, healthy treat?

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

1 hour to prepare serves 12-16

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • Filling:
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, finely ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons non-fat milk
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Preparation

  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, create crust ingredients by mixing together 3 cups rolled oats, peanut butter, maple syrup and salt, if using.
  3. Once everything’s combined, transfer mixture to lined baking dish and press into an even layer.
  4. Place baking dish in refrigerator and let chill until further use.
  5. For the filling: place peanut butter and maple syrup in a microwaveable bowl and microwave in 20-second increments until melted together and smooth.
  6. Stir in vanilla extract, then mix in 1 1/2 cups ground oats until thoroughly incorporated. Mixture will be thick.
  7. Pour fudgy filling over set crust, then return to refrigerator or freezer to set.
  8. For the frosting, place chocolate chips in a glass or other microwaveable bowl and heat in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  9. Stir in Greek yogurt and cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then add in non-fat milk (working in small batches) until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Once filling is set, spread frosting on top of bars, then return to refrigerator until set.
  11. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Big Man's World

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