The idea was stuck in my head: coconut, almond and chocolate infused into a dessert fudge oat bar. I tried several no bake and baked versions, but all were a crumbly mess. Determined to use those wonderful Almond Joy-inspired flavors, I took a step back, and reformulated my original concept. The result was a batch of deliciously soft, chewy, cohesive and just-sweet-enough Almond Joy Oat Bars that are healthier and I think tastier than my first plan. I’ve since made them several times, refining the recipe to a perfect healthy treat or snack that I hope many of you get to enjoy, too.
This Almond Joy Oat Bars recipe post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, the pantry-filling brand that I’ve been buying for nearly a decade. Thus, the opinions, commentary, photos and recipe below are all honestly me.
One of the keys to making soft and chewy Almond Joy Oat Bars is to use quick oats. Many people are under the illusion that “whole rolled oats” are healthier than “quick cooking oats”. After all, one sounds like wholesome, while the other sounds like convenience. But in reality, quick oats are just sliced rolled oats, which is why Bob’s Red Mill now calls them “quick cooking rolled oats”. They’re smaller, thinner and therefore less tough, but they have all the same fiber, protein and micro-nutrients as their chunkier predecessors. Nothing is removed. The consistency makes them my go-to for cookies and no bakes, like these Almond Joy Oat Bars.
To keep this Almond Joy Oat Bars recipe gluten-free, I used certified gluten-free quick oats from Bob’s Red Mill. They have both Organic Gluten-Free and Conventional Gluten-Free Quick Oats (and rolled oats!) to choose from, and all are processed in the Bob’s Red Mill facility that doesn’t handle milk.
I love making no bake bars in perfectly portioned muffin cups. Something about the shape is just so much more fun, and they are quite easy to make. But just in case you prefer a more traditional format, I’ve included the prep for square or rectangle versions of these Almond Joy Oat Bars, too.
Special Diet Notes: Almond Joy Oat Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
For nut-free Sunny Joy Oat Bars just swap sunflower seed butter (or your favorite nut-free “butter) for the almond butter. And you can skip the sliced almonds on top or sprinkle on some unsweetened shredded coconut instead.
- ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon coconut oil, divided
- ⅔ cup creamy salted natural almond butter
- ⅔ cup maple syrup (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract (can sub vanilla or almond extract)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2¾ cup quick oats (I use Bob's Red Mill Certified Gluten Free)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅔ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, crushed
- Place ¼ cup of the coconut oil in a medium pan over low to medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the almond butter, sweetener, extract, and salt, until smooth.
- Add the oats and coconut, and stir frequently as it cooks for 5 minutes. The mixture will thicken to more of a dough consistency and this will help to remove the "raw" taste of the oats.
- Remove from the heat and let cool for just a few minutes.
- Press the mixture into 16 muffin cups or an 8x8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. If any oil comes to the surface, you can blot it with a paper towel (sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn't, but it's okay either way!).
- Refrigerate the bars to cool.
- Melt the chocolate chips with the remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil. If using a pan, pour the chocolate over the bars and level out. If making oat cups, invert them onto a plate or wire rack and spread chocolate on the tops.
- Sprinkle the almond joy oat bars or cups with the sliced almond pieces. Refrigerate until set.
- If making bars, invert the block onto a cutting board, remove the parchment paper, and cut into small bars (yes, I cut them upside down).
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer to retain freshness. You can eat them straight from the refrigerator, freezer or at room temperature.