I love chocolate. I love it so much that one time, I told my five-year-old that I love her more than anything in the whole wide world, and her retort was…
More than chocolate?
My sweet tooth wasn’t a problem back when I didn’t question the existence of my metabolism, but now that I’m more Golden Girl than Gilmore Girl, I’ve traded in processed treats for homemade concoctions. By using all natural ingredients and omitting refined sugars I am able to indulge more freely, share my joy of baking with my children, and send the kids to school with all natural healthy treats that they find delicious.
Here are our three family favorites – all-natural, healthy treats that carry us from day to night.
You’ll notice a pattern here, so if you’re not into chocolate, peanut butter, and oats, we probably can’t be friends. Just kidding. You might enjoy one of these boring- I mean- non-cocoa-laden recipes instead. If you are on board with the most perfect trifecta of flavors ever (chocolate, peanut butter, and oats), keep reading.
3 ripe bananas
1/3 c. all natural peanut butter (we love Teddie’s, the smooth or chunky version)
1 tsp. honey
1 3/4c. rolled or quick oats (not steel cut or overnight)
Good quality dark chocolate chips (I don’t measure these. I pour in lavishly)
Optional Mix-Ins (Adding more than two of these may require increasing the base quantities. See below.)
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
¼ c. chopped or slivered nuts (we like walnuts, but this is a good place to experiment!)
¼ c. sunflower seeds
1/4c. coconut flakes
¼ c. raisins or craisins or other dried fruit
¼ c. mini marshmallows
¼ c. mini M&Ms (because, well, more chocolate)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mash the banana
- Stir in peanut butter and honey
- Add oats gradually, stirring while pouring
- Add any or all optional mix-ins*
- Mix all ingredients with large spoon until all ingredients are evenly dispersed
- Using two spoons or a melon baller scoop mixture onto greased baking sheet
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until underside is slightly brown
Note* Start with just 2 or 3 of the optional ingredients and check the consistency of your batter. The more mix-ins you add, the more base you’ll need to hold everything together.
These cookies can be kept in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, or in the freezer indefinitely (we’ve never had them longer than a month) once cooked. I freeze them and take one out for the kiddo’s lunch box the night before or morning of consumption.
No Bake Cookie Monsters
This recipe is originally from one of my favorite fellow chocoholics, Chocolate Covered Katie. I tweak it slightly by spreading the mixture into a pan and cutting it into bars rather than shaping the dough into cookies because it is easier, faster, and fits well in the lunch box this way.
½ c. peanut butter (again, Teddie’s!)
½ c. maple syrup (we love Burgess Sugarhouse’s amber rich or dark robust)
¼ c. coconut oil (will be solid at room temperature when it is cool out)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ c. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. rolled or quick oats
In a medium saucepan, on low-medium heat, warm the coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Do not stop stirring. Add the cocoa powder and stir until it looks like chocolate sauce. Remove from heat. Slowly add oats, stirring until oats are evenly coated. Spread the mixture into a greased baking dish using parchment paper on top to flatten it out in the pan. Refrigerate until your patience runs out (10-20 minutes?) and enjoy!
These cookies are double the fun! When they are freshly made and still warm I serve the concoction as “Chocolate Oatmeal” and present it again cold (or even frozen) in a new form the next day. This is how these delightfully morphing treats got dubbed Cookie Monsters in our house!
Here is the original recipe from the queen of cocoa herself…
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
This one is similar to the last two in many ways – no-bake, high protein, and delicious when first made or right out of the fridge or freezer!
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. crushed pretzels
1 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
½ c. coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. peanuts (Halved)
¾ c. dark chocolate chips, divided into two piles
- Measure pretzels and pulse or grind in food processor until you have a cup of finely chopped pretzels.
- In a large bowl, mix the coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla
- Add oats, pretzels, peanuts, and half the chocolate chips, mix until combined
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper and press mixture into it evenly
- Freeze for 25 minutes
- Melt remaining chocolate (mix in 1/8 c. coconut oil for smoother consistency)
- Drizzle melted chocolate over top of granola bars
- Freeze 5 more minutes
- Remove from freezer, cut into bars or squares and enjoy!
Here is the genius behind this star performer…
Besides being all natural and free of most refined sugars (depending on what chocolate or mix-ins you choose) another very cool thing about these healthy recipes is that they are forgiving. Unlike traditional baking, you do not need exact measurements to avoid disaster. In fact, sometimes substitutions, a heavy hand, or a kiddo’s mistake turns out to be a new recipe note!
These are just three of the many homemade treats in regular rotation in our house. My family loves them and so do I because they’re protein-packed, fairly nutritious, very delicious snacks that I don’t feel guilty about serving or eating often. The only challenge is not eating them all at once.
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