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Chocolate Peanut Butter & Send Bars

Thick layers of chocolate and peanut butter, smoothed over the yummiest oat bar. I created these to be the most incredible adventure fuel, and my idea of the most delicious bar in the whole wide world. A little sweet, a little salty, crunchy and silky chocolate a pb heaven. On our long run yesterday, my friend equated these chocolate peanut butter oat bars to being worth $150 to him at that current moment, so that's saying something!




If you’re looking for a healthy recipe for chocolate peanut butter oat bars, visit a different blog ;) But that doesn’t mean they’re not incredible adventure fuel, and the most delicious bar you’ll ever taste. A little sweet, a little salty, crunchy and silky chocolate a pb heaven. The recipe has gone through many rounds of testing and tweaking over the past few months, to get the perfect ratios of chocolate and peanut butter to oat, and crispy oat bar edges. Nearly all my athlete friends have tried these bars at this point, some of them twice. Apparently they’re memorable… my one friend group requested a second batch for the remainder of our training camp weekend. Another group said “yesssss I remember when we had these before at…” Yesterday on our long run, my friend equated them to being worth $150 to him. I hope they’re just as memorable for you all!

I have one secret ingredient. I used to make these with coconut, but one day when I made these I was out of that ingredient. I did, however, have bacon… sounds weird, I know, but there was one year Ryan and I competed in Worlds Toughest Mudder (a super challenging 24hr obstacle race), and our friend who was crewing offered us these bites she made from rice, coconut oil and bacon. I dream about those bites. They were such incredible fuel during such an epic race, and offered everything your body wants - salt, carbs and healthy fats. I tried to channel those in to these bars when I made them. So I tried them with bacon, and by popular vote the bacon is here to stay. I asked all my test subjects what they thought of it, and they’re all fans! It doesn't really taste like bacon, but it does add the most delicious bits of salty crunch.

We ate these all winter long during long backcountry ski days. They freeze really well, so now I’ve been taking them on long bike rides! Admittedly, they do get pretty melted in warmer weather when stuffed in to a ziplock bag in your bike jersey pocket, so I’ve been eating them as recovery food now. I’ll leave one in the car for when I finish my activity, or grab one when I get home. It’s important to re-fuel your body within 30mins of finishing exercise, so I cut these in to small squares, eat one, and then have my lunch (or usually the daily smoothie!) after I stretch and shower.


They really have everything you need for a long day of training. I would not eat these during an interval run session, I'd eat them right afterwards instead to kick start my recovery process, but for a long day of cardio training with a low heart rate, they're perfect. They have some carbohydrates from the oats and sugar in the recipe, and healthy fats from peanut butter and a bit of coconut oil. They also have salt from the bacon bits, to help replenish sodium stores, and I sprinkle flaky sea salt on top to finish them!



 

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Send Bars


Servings: About 24 bars

Prep time: 30 minutes (20 for oat bars, 5 for pb layer, and 5 for chocolate layer)

Bake time: 25 minutes (15 for oat bars, 5 for pb layer, and 5 for chocolate layer)

Total time: 1 hour





OAT BAR INGREDIENTS


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 lb bacon, cooked, cooled, and chopped in to small bits. Or, 3/4 cup bacon bits

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla


PEANUT BUTTER LAYER INGREDIENTS


2 cups peanut butter (yes, it's lots, you read that right)

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup melted coconut oil


CHOCOLATE LAYER INGREDIENTS


14oz dark chocolate

1/4 cup coconut oil


INSTRUCTIONS

If you're cooking your own bacon, start with that. I lay it out on a baking sheet, and bake it in the oven at 425°F until fully crispy. I mix up my other ingredients in the meantime, and it's usually done by the time I'm finished. Then I can chop it up and add it to my oat bar mix. If you purchased pre-made bacon bits, you can skip this step and follow the recipe below.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Thoroughly butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13" baking pan, or line it with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, bacon bits, chopped peanuts, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


In a separate large bowl, combine your sugars, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and stir to combine.


Pour the mixture in to your baking pan. Bake in the preheated over for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden brown and the bars are puffed up in the center. When you jiggle the pan back and forth, the center should look set, and not wobble around.


Remove them from the oven, and put these on a flat surface in the freezer to speed the cooling process.


Now for the peanut butter layer. I like to do this in a pan over low heat on the stove, but you could also use the microwave. In your pan or microwave-safe bowl, add your peanut butter, maple syrup or honey, and coconut oil. Melt them together on low heat, or in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring frequently until all your ingredients are melted and combined. Remove your oat bars from the freezer, and pour the peanut butter mixture over top. Use a spatula to smooth the mixture over the oat bars, then return everything to the freezer.


Finally, the chocolate layer! Again, I do this over the stove on very low heat, but you could also do this in the microwave. In your pan or microwave-safe bowl, add your chocolate and coconut oil. Melt, gradually and with patience... chocolate can get angry if over-heated and turn in to a clumpy mess, so low heat is key. If you use the microwave, I turn the power level to 30 and microwave at 1-minute intervals. You could also microwave on high for 20-second intervals, stirring in between.


Once your peanut butter layer looks set in the freezer, pour your chocolate layer over top. I finish these by sprinkling them with flaky sea salt. I then transfer them to the refrigerator until the chocolate layer is set.


Once the chocolate is set, cut these in to bars. They should fall right out of the pan when you turn it upside down, if you buttered your pan thoroughly. Use a large knife to cut them in to whatever size of squares or rectangles you want. I transfer them to an airtight container, and store them in the freezer to grab on an as-needs basis! These freeze really well for up to a month, if they even last that long!





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