No-Bake Bars

I’ve been on a kick recently with making no-bake oat bars.   My husband is a huge fan of Mississippi Mud Cookies, and those spurred me to think that there has to be a good way to make something for breakfast and snacking that is just as easy to assemble and is a bit healthier than his treasured bites of chocolate goodness.   (No doubt they’re good, but a batch of those does not do good things for the waistline. )

So I went on a mission to find something that fit all my requirements.   It had to be :

  • No-bake, though a minimal amount of stove-top time was acceptable
  • Ingredients I likely have in the pantry or refrigerator
  • No obscene amounts of butter or oil
  • No raw almonds (allergy)
  • No shredded coconut (Fresh coconut is one thing, but that shredded abomination in a bag? Well, I’d just as soon avoid it if I can.)
  • And most important, a recipe that makes a portion I can eat within about a week

Thanks to the time-suck vast range of recipes and searching abilities of Pinterest, I found quite a few that fit my list, or could fit with minimal adjustments.  So far I’ve made three, all of which I’ll share, along with any of my alterations.   None were disappointing, and each has enough variety of flavor I’d make them all again.

I started with these gems from Averie Cooks.  I didn’t take any photos of these, but the photos on Averie Cooks are great if you’re a fan of good food pics.  Of course I had to tweak the recipe to my own tastes, but you can view the original recipe here.

Cinnamon Oat No-Bake Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey *
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar (white, granulated)
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla  **
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon ***
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3  1/2 cups quick cook oats (also called 1-minute oats or instant oats)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Combine the butter, honey, and both sugars and microwave on high for three minutes, stopping to stir after each minute.   During the last minute watch to make sure it doesn’t bubble over.

Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and cream of tartar to the mixture and stir.   Add oats and stir to combine.    Add the flour slowly and stir until the mixture is thick but somewhat moist.  If it’s runny or seems overly thin, add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the mixture to your 8×8 pan and spread it out flat.  Press it down firmly with a spatula, scraper, or your hands.   Refrigerate for about 2 hours (or freeze for 1 hour) until the bars are solid.   Remove them from the dish and cut into bars.   The size and shape are up to you.   I suggest cutting a small one to taste before you cut the rest of the bars as these are somewhat sweet and have a strong cinnamon flavor.

They keep well for a week or so in the refrigerator, sealed up tight or can be frozen for longer storage.

* You can use corn syrup instead of honey, but I’m a big fan of honey for its taste and health benefits.  Corn syrup isn’t “evil”  I suppose, but it doesn’t fit in my “healthy food” list either.  So if I can avoid cooking with it, I do.
** I use STRONG vanilla, so I’d suggest the larger amount if you’re using standard strength, grocery store vanilla.
***  This recipe calls for a lot of cinnamon.   Cinnamon flavors vary from very sweet to moderately hot.   Think of a Cinnamon Twist Pastry vs Big Red gum.  They both use cinnamon, but two very different kinds.   For this recipe you want the sweeter variety.   If you’re not sure what you have, taste it.  Just put a light sprinkle on your finger and taste.    My favorite for this kind of recipe (and pretty much anything that calls for a non-spicy cinnamon) is Penzey’s Cinnamon.   It’s good enough I could probably take a spoon to it and just dig in.  They also have a really good explanation about different kinds of cinnamon here.

The original recipe from Averie Cooks calls for a white chocolate drizzle on the top.  I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, so I left that off mine.   Plus chocolate for breakfast has never appealed to me.   I’m strange, I know.

These taste great with vanilla yogurt for a quick and satisfying breakfast or snack.

These make an 8×8 pan, which is more than two people should probably eat in one sitting.   My intention with this recipe is to have a quick breakfast and snack food that is healthier than many packaged granola bars, cereals, or snack bars.   It is a moderate enough amount of bars that shared among a family of two or three it will last for the majority of a week.   They taste so good I didn’t get tired of eating them.  I was actually disappointed when they were gone!

I’m sure I’ll be sharing more of my no-bake bar adventures soon…  Stay tuned!

Calling all cooks!  I’d like to find some bars that do not require refrigeration, so any suggestions there are highly welcomed!   I’d like to be able to pack them for travel snacks and I carry a small, non-refrigerated purse.

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