No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Gooey, chocolaty, cookie dough goodness just got even better with this practically guilt-free no-bake option. Made extra indulgent with a protein-rich layer of peanut butter, no one will even guess these healthy treats have garbanzo beans in them! Jump to the recipe!


Operation Baby War Board is in full swing!!

Which means we (kicking baby, cuddling Zeus, and me) are crushing freaking out about the remaining work tasks still to be completed. But according to last week’s ultrasound, we just might make it. The docs are expecting a full-term birth. This little girl’s roughly 4.5 pounds already, has a full head of hair, and is actively swallowing.

I don’t know much about babies and development, but I’ve been told those are all good signs. So YAY!!!

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

There are a few weird things about trying to get lots done while 7.5 months pregnant — not the least of which are the number of people who seem to think I shouldn’t do things. Or can’t do things. Or won’t do things. Like sea kayaking. Or crabbing. Or eating a dozen doughnuts.

On second thought, I’m pretty sure most people would expect me to eat a dozen doughnuts. I would expect me to eat a dozen doughnuts. It takes a lot of willpower not to. Because the pregnancy sweet tooth is real.

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Which is why these no-bake cookie dough bars are a lifesaver!! Made with garbanzo beans and peanut butter, they’re a healthier alternative to my end-of-day (or mid-day or midnight) dessert.

I first learned about them from an old high school friend, Julia Belsante. She uses this version from Chocolate Covered Katie, which is fabulous. Not only do the garbanzo beans mean these babies have protein, they’re also packed with oatmeal, which is good for nursing mommas (for when I get there). And, they’re freezer-friendly!!

Chopping chocolate for No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Adding chocolate to No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Over the last couple months, I‘ve tweaked the original recipe to lower the sugar and increase the protein — making them more diabetic-friendly, without decreasing the enjoyment factor.

The result is a dessert that we eat at least a few nights a week and have served to guests, including one of our pickiest friends. (Bev, we love you.)

One of the ways I added more protein was with a layer of peanut butter. It was a recommendation from the amazing Deanna Hunter. And seriously guys, the extra layer of creamy goodness takes these bars to the next level.

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

To lower the sugar, I cut it from a half a cup to a third of a cup with no noticeable flavor difference. This is thanks in large part to the fact that I use half honey and half real molasses, which gives it added depth. Additionally, I used our go-to sugar-free chocolate — Simply Lite from Trader Joe’s.

One last note, if you’d like to make these vegan, swap almond butter for the peanut butter, use all maple syrup instead of half honey, and replace the butter with coconut oil.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more items on my Baby War Board to cross off. Cheers y’all!

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, well-drained
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 TBS tahini (or nut butter of choice)
2 TBS coconut oil (or nut butter of choice)
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (we prefer half-and-half)
1½ cups quick oats
½ cup peanut butter (Chunky Adams is our go-to for flavor and texture. Plus, it has less sugar than more processed brands)
2 3-ounce bars of sugar-free chocolate (we prefer the Simply Lite Dark Chocolate from Trader Joes)
3 TBS Butter

Line an 8×8-in pan with parchment paper. Make sure the garbanzo beans are very well rinsed and drained. Add garbanzo beans, vanilla, salt, baking soda, tanini, coconut oil, maple syrup and honey, and quick oats to a food processor. Blend until very smooth. (You’ll likely need to stop the food processor several times to scrape down the sides.)

Chop one 3-ounce bar of chocolate into small, chip-like pieces. Transfer garbanzo bean mixture to a small bowl and add chocolate pieces. Stir to combine. Dump contents into lined pan and smooth into an even layer.

Freeze until solid, 1 – 2 hours. Top with ½ cup peanut butter and freeze an additional hour. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, break remaining chocolate bar into chunks and add butter. Microwave for 15-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is fully melted and butter is combined. Spread chocolate in an even layer over peanut butter. Return to freezer to harden for another hour.

Cut bars into squares and store in a freezer-safe container until ready to eat. Thaw before eating. (It takes roughly 10 minutes for the bars to thaw. Longer if you like a softer ‘dough.’)

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars without Oatmeal

This version swaps almond flour for the oatmeal. If you wanted to make these more paleo-friendly, you could swap paleo chocolate chips for the sugar-free chocolate and almond butter for the peanut butter.

1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, well-drained
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 TBS tahini (or nut butter of choice)
2 TBS coconut oil (or nut butter of choice)
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (we prefer half-and-half)
1½ cups blanched almond flour
½ cup peanut butter butter
¼ cup slivered almonds (optional)
2 3-ounce bars of sugar-free chocolate (we prefer the Simply Lite Dark Chocolate from Trader Joes)
3 TBS Butter

Line an 8×8-in pan with parchment paper. Make sure the garbanzo beans are very well rinsed and drained. Add garbanzo beans, vanilla, salt, baking soda, tanini, coconut oil, maple syrup and honey, and almond flour to a food processor. Blend until very smooth. (You’ll likely need to stop the food processor several times to scrape down the sides.)

Chop one 3-ounce bar of chocolate into small, chip-like pieces. Transfer garbanzo bean mixture to a small bowl. Add slivered almonds and chocolate pieces. Stir to combine. Dump contents into lined pan and smooth into an even layer.

Freeze until solid, 1 – 2 hours. Top with ½ cup peanut butter and freeze an additional hour. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, break remaining chocolate bar into chunks and add butter. Microwave for 15-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is fully melted and butter is combined. Spread chocolate in an even layer over peanut butter. Return to freezer to harden for another hour.

Cut bars into squares and store in a freezer-safe container until ready to eat. Thaw before eating. (It takes roughly 10 minutes for the bars to thaw. Longer if you like a softer ‘dough.’)