Healthy No Bake Cacao Oat Bars
These healthy no bake cacao oat bars are super addicting, once you have a bite, you just can’t stop. The great thing is you don’t have to feel guilty, as these are made with pretty healthy ingredients. I love having these on hand for that afternoon, or post lunch craving. They hit the spot perfectly!
The raw cacao wafters add a bittersweet flavor, and helps these bar not taste too sweet. Steve who is not a fan of raw cacao, loves these bars!
This is a base recipe, so play around with it and add in what inspires you! If you’re not a fan of almond butter, feel free to swap in peanut butter. These bars can last up to 5 days in the fridge, but I guarantee they will be gone before then.
Healthy No Bake Cacao Oat Bars
recipe adapted from Alternative Baker
Note: If you have a nut allergy, you can omit the nuts and use tahini or pumpkin seed butter in place of the almond butter. You could also add pumpkin or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts too. Feel free to swap out the almond butter for peanut butter too!
For the Oat Bars
- 1 cup almond butter, or peanut butter, well stirred – you can use salted or unsalted. Also, make sure that your nut butter is smooth and creamy, not chunky as this is what is going to hold the bars together. I made these bars with my absolute favorite nut butter in the world, Sam’s Adventure Snacks almond butter. It’s the bomb! You can order it on-line, or if you’re local you can get his almond butter at Good Earth, or the Saturday farmers market @ Marin Country Mart. He also carries it in other Bay Area stores, just check out his site.
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup organic pecans, almonds, walnuts, or nut of choice, roughly chopped – you can also use 1/4 cup nuts and then double the chips below for even more chocolatey goodness.
- 1/4 cup raw cacao wafers or bittersweet chocolate chips, or chunks, roughly chopped using a serrated knife – I used raw cacao wafters, and I love these ones from Imlak’esh because they melt and resemble chips when baked. You can also use 1/2 cup chocolate and reduce the nuts to 1/4 cup.
- 1/4 cup organic hemp seeds
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free organic rolled oats – I love Bob’s Red GF Mill Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
For the Topping
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil –I love Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- 3/4 cup raw cacao wafers or bittersweet chocolate chips, or chunks – I used raw cacao wafters, and I love these ones from Imlak’esh because they melt and resemble chips when baked.
- Coarse Celtic sea salt, or Maldon salt, hemp seeds, bee pollen for sprinkling.
Below are the ingredients needed for these healthy no bake cacao oat bars.
In a large bowl, mix together the almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
Roughly chop the nuts and the cacao wafters with a serrated knife. Add the chopped nuts, cacao wafers and hemp seeds to the almond mixture.
Warm a large 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is warm, add in the oats, shredded coconut and pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and heat oats until toasted, slightly browned and fragrant, roughly 8-12 minutes, stirring frequently. If the oats brown too quickly, then turn down the heat as needed.
Add the warmed oats and coconut to the bowl with the almond butter mixture. Use a large spatula to fold the mixture until well combined. The chocolate will melt from the warm oats and help to bind the mixture.
Line an 8-inch square pan with a sling of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on each side to use as handles. Scrape the oat mixture into the pan and press down firmly with a spatula and hands to pack the oat mixture firmly into the pan. You really want to make sure the mixture is packed down, as it’s going to set in the fridge.
Place the cacao wafters and coconut oil into a double boiler, or a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stirring constantly with a silicone spatula until cacao wafters are melted and smooth. Pour the melted cacao over the bars, and tilt the pan gently to coat it in an even layer, there will be just enough.
Sprinkle the top with several large pinches of bee pollen, hemp seeds, and a few pinches of sea salt if desired. You don’t want to add too much salt, as it will overpower the bars.
Chill the bars in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours, or up until a day. I sometimes put these bars into the freezer to set if I have hungry kiddos. Make sure that they sit on a level surface, so the chocolate doesn’t slide over to one side.
When the bars are firm, loosen the edges of the bar with a small, offset spatula or the top of a knife, and use the parchment handles to lift it up and out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to cut the bar into squares.
Store the bars in a container with a lid in the refrigerator. They will soften and melt if left at room temperature. The bars will keep well for up to 5 days.
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