I’m partnering with Bob’s Red Mill® to bring you today’s recipe! I absolutely love all of their products and use them every day. Bob’s Red Mill products are so perfect for baking!
During my junior year of high school, one of my close guy friends planned a special Valentine’s Day date for his girlfriend. Since I knew her really well, he shared his thoughts with me ahead of time to double check she’d appreciate his surprises: a bouquet of red roses, a dainty gold necklace, and a giant cookie cake from Mrs. Field’s.
I immediately reassured him that she’d love all of them, so around midday on Valentine’s Day, I headed over to the mall with him to pick up the special dessert. When we walked up to the bakery’s register, someone brought out a huge red box from the back and flipped open the lid to show us his customized treat.
They had scripted “I love you” along with her name across the center of the massive cookie cake in red icing, piped white frosting ruffles around the edge, and sprinkled the border with teeny heart-shaped sprinkles. I looked at my friend and smiled, quickly telling him that she would absolutely adore his sweet cookie cake gesture.
As we carried it back to his truck, he mentioned that he had a tough time picking out the cookie flavor. He debated between plain chocolate chip and peanut butter with chocolate chunks, but in the end, he thought the simplest option would be best.
I nodded my head in agreement. Classic flavors always taste delicious, especially when they’re as soft and chewy and gooey as that oversized store-bought cookie…
But I still secretly wondered how the peanut butter version would’ve turned out.
The other thing I thought about that afternoon? How smart it was to bake cookie dough in a cake pan! Up to that point in my life, I had always assumed homemade cookie dough needed to be prepared exactly as cookbook recipes instructed, as individual mounds of dough on the baking sheet… And a single massive cookie, like the one he had custom ordered, could only be made by fancy bakeries.
Yet when I considered how much easier it’d be to skip shaping individual cookies from homemade dough, I decided to try baking my own jumbo chocolate chip cookie in a cake pan back at my own house. I used the ingredients list from an older cookbook on our shelf, and although it wasn’t one bit healthy, that big cookie still tasted delicious, especially the center squares… Those slices were so ooey, gooey, and massively chewy — exactly the way I love my cookies!
And now, far too many years later, I finally created a healthier version: these healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars! They’re incredibly soft and chewy with lots of sweet peanut flavor and rich chocolate morsels. They’re also really easy to make — no mixer required!
Unlike the store-bought version, these healthy cookie bars contain no traditional flour, eggs, dairy, butter, oil or refined sugar… And you only need 20 minutes to get them in the oven!
I confess… I immediately reached for a second bar the moment I polished off my first. They’re that good!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CHIP PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BARS
Let’s go over what you’ll need to make these healthy one-bowl flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars!
In your mixing bowl, you’ll start by adding homemade creamy peanut butter and unsweetened cashew milk. This is my homemade creamy peanut butter recipe. You just need 2 ingredients (peanuts + salt), 5 minutes, and a blender. It’s so easy to make! And unlike many store-bought peanut butter options, your homemade version contains no added sugar, oil, or any other funky ingredients.
Unsweetened cashew milk is actually one of my favorite non-dairy milk options! Many of my family members are lactose intolerant, so unsweetened cashew milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk are my two standards. While we love both, I think that unsweetened cashew milk has a thicker and creamier texture, close to that of whole milk. It’s also just 25 calories per cup!
Both of these first two ingredients work double duty in this recipe! In addition to that irresistible nutty flavor, the homemade creamy peanut butter replaces the butter and oil in these healthy flourless chocolate chip cookie bars. The unsweetened cashew milk adds moisture and also replaces the eggs.
Tip: Any milk will work! But… By using cashew milk (or almond milk!), these healthy flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars are dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan!
Once you’ve stirred those two ingredients together into a thoroughly creamy mixture, you’ll stir in a pinch of salt, vanilla extract, liquid stevia, and pure maple syrup. No refined sugar in these healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars!
Yes, you do need both the liquid stevia and pure maple syrup. Here’s why!
If you just used pure maple syrup as the sweetener, then you’d have to add about ¾ cup to the cookie dough to make these healthy cookie bars taste as sweet as traditional recipes. However, that would add way too much liquid to the bowl, and your cookie dough would have the same texture as muffin batter. That would make your cookie bars turn out bready and cakey. Not good!
But if you scaled back and only added enough maple syrup to give your cookie bars the perfect soft and chewy consistency, they wouldn’t be nearly sweet enough. They’d taste more like bread or dinner rolls. Also not good!
So that’s where the liquid stevia comes in! Liquid stevia is highly concentrated. By adding a mere 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia, you add the sweetness equivalent of ½ cup of maple syrup!
When you use the combination of pure maple syrup and liquid stevia, your healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars are perfectly sweet, soft, and chewy. It’s the best of all worlds!
Tip: Many stevia products have different sweetness levels, so they’re not necessarily 1-for-1 substitutes for each other. This is the one that I use, and you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too!
Something else to keep in mind… Pure maple syrup isn’t the same thing as pancake syrup! Pure maple syrup comes directly from maple trees, and the only ingredient is — you guessed it! — maple syrup. (No corn syrup or artificial flavorings!) It usually comes in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs like this.
Instead of the refined flour found in those store-bought cookie cakes, you’ll use Bob’s Red Mill® Whole Grain Oat Flour. I’m obsessed with it! It’s literally made by finely grinding whole oat groats. Nothing added and nothing removed!
Hint: Groats = the whole grain, including the oat’s germ, bran, and endosperm. It’s just a fancy way of saying you get all of those added health benefits and micronutrients from the whole grain oats!
In other words, Bob’s Red Mill® Oat Flour is basically just finely powdered whole grain oats, but… Somehow, “powdered oats” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “oat flour.” 😉 As a result, I’m never sure whether to call these healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars “flourless” or “practically flourless”… But either way, they’re extremely delicious!
Before you stir the oat flour into your bowl, sprinkle a teeny bit of baking soda on top! I recommend sprinkling it, rather than dumping it all in one place, because this helps prevent clumps. Clumps of baking soda lead to uneven baking, but if you sprinkle it over the flour and stir both of them into your mixing bowl at the same time, your healthy flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars should bake evenly and beautifully!
But of course, you still need to add the chocolate! I use mini chips (I love these!) so that every bite contains multiple morsels of chocolate. I also reserve some to press into the tops for a pretty presentation. I think it makes them look even more irresistible!
Although… That might be dangerous. 😉
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CHIP PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BARS
I have a two quick tips to about how to make the best healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars.
First, do not overbake these cookie bars! They’ll actually be done when the edges look firm but the center still looks glossy and a bit underdone. The heat from the pan will continue to cook the center all the way through while you let the pan cool completely to room temperature on the counter.
And since these don’t contain eggs or traditional flour, it’s totally fine to underbake them — in fact, that’s what I usually do!
Second, you must let them rest for at least 6 hours once they’ve reached room temperature. I know. It feels impossible. And like pure torture.
However! These healthy chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars actually turn fudgier and chewier the longer you let them rest. (If you cut into them too early, they’ll be more cake-like.) I promise that ooey gooey brownie-like texture is totally worth the wait!
Then if you figure out how to stop at just one, please tell me your trick… Because I definitely failed at that! 😉
And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amys.healthy.baking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy one-bowl flourless chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bars!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
- 5 tbsp (80g) homemade creamy peanut butter (see Notes!)
- 6 tbsp (90mL) unsweetened cashew milk, room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp liquid stevia
- ¼ cup (60mL) pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ cups (180g) Bob’s Red Mill® Whole Grain Oat Flour (measured like this – and use their Gluten Free Oat Flour, if necessary)
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 3 ½ tbsp (49g) miniature chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat the oven to 300°F, and coat an 8”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter and cashew milk. Stir in the salt, vanilla, stevia, and maple syrup. Pour in the oat flour, and sprinkle the baking soda over the oat flour (to prevent it from clumping!). Stir in the oat flour and baking soda until just incorporated. Stir in 3 tablespoons of miniature chocolate chips.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Gently press the remaining miniature chocolate chips on top. Bake at 300°F for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the bars rest for at least 6 hours once at room temperature for the best taste and texture before slicing and serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill®. As always, all text, opinions, photographs, and recipe are my own. To find Bob’s Red Mill® products at a store near you, use their handy store locator here!
Hint: I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill® Whole Grain Oat Flour in many of my recipes! Truffles (here and here), other cookie bars (here and here), cookies (here, here and here), cookie dough bites (here and here), and more. Their Gluten-Free Oat Flour works just as well in all of those recipes, too!
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookie Bars
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars
♡ Healthy Raspberry Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Peach Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk Brownies
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
♡ Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy dessert bar recipes!
Would this work as a chocolate chip skillet cookie if I replaced the nut butter with margarine/butter?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Sue! What size skillet do you have? I just want to double check that this recipe could actually work for the pan you have before we try to modify the ingredients and instructions! 🙂
A 6-1/4″ skillet. Or if it’s better to use a baking pan, I can use the same one as this recipe’s (8″-square pan).
Thanks for sharing Sue! I think that size of skillet is probably too small for the amount of cookie dough that this particular recipe yields, so I’d recommend using an 8″-square baking pan for the best results.
I haven’t tried converting this particular recipe to be plain chocolate chip cookie bars, rather than peanut butter ones, so the follow is just my best guess of what you would need to do. In place of the peanut butter, I’d recommend 3 tablespoons (42g) of butter that has been melted and cooled slightly. (This is because melted butter is a liquid and can soak up a lot more of the flour, whereas peanut butter is still somewhat solid and doesn’t!) Then I’d also recommend reducing the room temperature cashew milk to 3 tablespoons (45mL) to start. You may need a bit more milk to fully incorporate all of the oat flour, but it’s always easier to add more milk to your mixing bowl than it is to remove some! The cookie dough should have just a slightly wet and sticky consistency, where you need to use a spatula to spread it into the pan.
Alternatively, instead of making those recipe modifications, I do have a recipe for chocolate chip blondies with a very similar texture as these cookie bars here! This recipe does use eggs and coconut sugar, rather than no eggs, maple syrup, and stevia. If you’re trying to avoid those two ingredients (eggs and coconut sugar), then it might not be as good of an option… But that recipe would definitely require fewer modifications and adjustments! 😉
I’d love to hear what you think if you try either of these options!
Anukriti Pandey says...
I would love to try this recipe, however finding liquid stevia could be an issue given the current situation.
I can see you have mentioned we cannot replace liquid stevia with additional maple syrup, but could any other substitution work ?
Hope you are staying safe.
I’m honored that you’d like to try this recipe of mine Anukriti! If you’re unable to locate liquid stevia, then substitute ¾ cup (144g) of coconut or light brown sugar for the stevia AND the maple syrup. Then reduce the cashew milk to ¼ cup to start. You may need a touch more cashew milk (possibly another tablespoon or two) to get the rest of the ingredients fully incorporated, but it’s definitely easier to add more milk to your bowl than it is to remove it! 😉 I’d love to hear what you think of these cookie bars if you try making them!
Anukriti Pandey says...
Thank you so much for the conversion to sugar .
These came out so well, it’s become a family favourite !
Thank you so much 🙂
You’re welcome Anukriti! I’m so glad everyone loved these cookie bars — that truly means a lot that they’ve become a family favorite! I’m honored! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to let me know!
I can’t find liquid stevia in my area either, just the fake stuff. I purchased liquid monk fruit but have been afraid to use it as a substitute, what do you think about that, Amy?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe, Joanna! I’m afraid I don’t have very much experience with liquid monk fruit, so I’m not personally sure and don’t want to lead you astray.
You’re welcome to experiment with it though, if you’d like! For the liquid stevia that I use, 2 teaspoons is the sweetness equivalent of about 1 cup of sugar. Some liquid monk fruit sweeteners have the same sweetness equivalent (the one from NOW Foods is like that, which is the same brand of liquid stevia that I used!).
If you’re worried about wasting ingredients, you could try making half a batch with your liquid monk fruit and baking it in an 8×4″ loaf pan instead! A 6″-round cake pan would also work. The baking temperature would remain the same, and the baking time should be about the same as well.
If you do end up making these cookie bars with your liquid monk fruit, I’d love to hear what you think of them and how they turn out! 🙂
This was one of the most amazing things I have ever made. My husband loves it! I reduced the sugar by using 1 tablespoon of liquid stevia and 1 tablespoon of Canadian maple syrup (we love our maple syrup here in Canada 🙂 )
Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes! All the best to you!
Oh my goodness Caroline — my heart is about to burst!! I’m SO honored that you’d call these cookie bars one of the most amazing things you’ve ever made! You just made my entire day. Thank you so, SO much for taking the time to let me know!! 🙂 My family is going to be a little jealous about your maple syrup… They’re huge fans of it, and I’m sure the types you can find near you taste absolutely incredible!
Can we use a powdered PB2 brand peanut butter? If so can we keep it dry or mix with water?
It means a lot that you’d like to try this recipe of mine too, Marie! Unfortunately, PB2 won’t work for the peanut butter in this recipe, whether as the dry powder or mixed with water. It alters the texture of the cookie bars too much (aka they’d turn out dry and crumbly, not soft, chewy, and basically fudgy like brownies!).
If you decide to try making them, I’d love to hear what you think of these cookie bars too!
Edale Levene says...
HI, a little of topic, but am I the only one who finds the light font against a light background hard to read? Especially hard on my small laptop. Appreciate all the wonderful recipes though. Thank you.
I really appreciate your interest in my recipes, Edale! That means so much to me, and I’m honored that you’d take the time to share. 🙂 Just to confirm I understand your question, are you referring to all of the text on my website? Or just the links (the pink-colored text)?
Michelle Prudhomme says...
I must say, this is a genius idea of combining chocolate chips with a blend of peanut butter! I have always wondered how it would come together. I wonder how this sweet idea would do in heart shaped 8” bake pan❤️
As I read every one of your stories of how your creation are born, it’s amazing the people come into your life, giving you inspiration to make something delicious. The way I see it from the creations that are crafted in love and joy, this is your gift to give and you do it well. So great to have authentic, healthy choices to pick from. I hope all is with you and your family. Happy Baking! 🍪
It’s SO good to hear from you here in a blog comment, Michelle!! Your sweet words always put the biggest smile on my face. I’m so grateful for you, beautiful lady! ♡
I think your idea of baking this in a heart-shaped pan is so fun! That sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day… Or any day you’d want to share something special with your loved ones. 😉 Knowing how talented of a baker you are, I’m sure that would turn out really well!
I can’t wait to see your cookie bars if you get a chance to try making this recipe! 🙂
I agree with Michelle, Amy!! You are awesome, I am so thankful to have you as a source for healthy baking!!
You’re too sweet, Susan! Thank you SO much — that really means the world to me! ♡ I’m so grateful for YOU and your kind words!