After school snacks are, all of a sudden, a big part of my weekly meal planning. Having two young kids who have been playing hard come home after just one meal at school means snacks are necessary. These Toasted Coconut Oatmeal Bars are a super-easy thing you can make almost on a whim.
These bars have just five ingredients, but you could add more! See my add-in list below for some ideas! But, the base bars are very delicious on their own.
I originally got the idea for these after raiding my kid’s Halloween candy and eating all of their Almond Joys. This has similar flavors but in an oatmeal bar form. You can feel good about it. It has no added sugar and has a good amount of protein.
My kids love coconut and devoured these easy coconut oatmeal bars.
- Need another healthy after-school snack? Try this Rainbow Veggie Ranch Dip or This Five Spice Popcorn!
How to Toast Coconut
Toasting the coconut, without burning it, is the most important part of this recipe. Everything else is very simple.
Start with sweetened coconut flakes and add them to a skillet over low heat. Coconut burns fast so keep a close eye on it and toss it occasionally to make sure it is cooking evenly. After a few minutes it will be very fragrant and be golden brown on the edges. Remove it from the heat and it will continue to toast slightly as the coconut cools.
When it looks about like this, it is done!
Making the Coconut Oatmeal Bars
Now for the base for these bars. Add the peanut butter, butter (or coconut oil), and honey to a pot over low heat. Cook the oat mixture just to warm it up and combine it into a smooth mixture.
This mixture should never even steam. You just want to warm it up so it’s easier to work with and easier to spread in the prepared pan.
Add-ins for the Oatmeal Bars
I kept my version of these bars very simple, but there are SO many delicious add-ins you could mix in. You could try:
- Chocolate chips
- A dash of vanilla extract
- Any kind of nut, chopped
- Dried fruit
If you choose to do some add-ins, I would keep the total add-ins to around 1/2 cup. If you add too many things, the bars won’t stick together well.
Next, just stir everything into the pot! Stir it together well!
When the mixture is done, take a bite of it with a spoon. Just as a test…
Then transfer it to an 8×8 baking dish lined with foil. Really press on it to make sure the bars hold their shape. I like to sprinkle a little extra coconut on top as well.
Let these Coconut Oatmeal Bars firm up in the fridge for a few minutes and then chop them up!
Leftover bars are fine on the fridge in an airtight container for a few days or you can keep them in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Hungry kids are grumpy kids! Solve the problem!
Toasted Coconut Oatmeal Bars
- 1 cup sweetened coconut, toasted
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter, or coconut oil
- 2 cups rolled oats
- Add coconut flakes to a small skillet over low heat. Toast for a few minutes until the coconut is lightly browned and fragrant. Toss occasionally and watch closely to avoid burning. Remove from heat.
- In a medium pot, add peanut butter, honey, and butter or coconut oil over low heat. Warm until combined and smooth.
- Stir oats and coconut into the peanut butter mixture.
- Transfer bar mixture to an 8×8 baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper. Pack the bars in tightly and sprinkle with a little extra coconut.
- Let the bars set in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Then remove the bars from the dish, remove parchment, and chop up bars!
- Store bars on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for up to two weeks.