Tag Archive | peanut butter

No-Bake Pretzel & Peanut butter fudge bars…OMG

I have to admit, I haven’t baked much since moving to Australia. I didn’t plan on this at all, especially since it is one of my favorite hobbies (second to shopping, of course). However, I attribute my lack of baking mostly to the fact that it is just so darn expensive to buy ingredients here. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that having a tray of desserts readily available for a household of two people is VERY dangerous. The mortifying realization of ‘where did all the cookie bars go? Oh wait…we live alone, I ate them’ has happened to me too many times to count. So when we have guests, I find it to be the perfect time to bake.

Brandon’s Dad is a diabetic, so I was on the search of a low-sugar dessert that we could all enjoy. Did you think this was going to be a low-sugar recipe based on the title of this post? Probably not, but it really is! I found this recipe on Pinterest, and after I read the words ‘Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Pretzel Candy Bars’ and saw the pictures, I figured it would likely be a winner. Pretzels, peanut butter, and fudge in one low-sugar recipe? SOLD. This recipe looks and sounds fantastic as-is, but I can say that adapting it to fit the ingredients I had on-hand proved to be pretty successful, too! I substituted chocolate protein powder for the vanilla, left out the butter extract, and opted to leave out the caramel swirl in favor of a sprinkle of sea salt on the top instead. Other than that, I followed the original closely.

I found these to be the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Oats & Pretzels on the bottom with peanut butter and chocolate on the top made each bite extra-special. Plus, these fulfilled my constant sweet and salty craving too, which seems to be a constant of mine this year. Seriously, a bag of pretzel m&m’s stand no chance around me. But these are WAY more fun to eat than pretzel m&m’s.

  Obsessed, obsessed, obsessed. Make these as soon as possible!

No-Bake Low-Sugar Pretzel & Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Adapted from Natural Sweet Recipes


For the Pretzel Crust Base:
1 Cup Pretzels
1/2 Cup Oats (I used whole oats)
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
2 Tablespoons Chocolate Protein Powder (Or vanilla)
1/2 Cup Butter (very softened)

For the Peanut Butter Fudge Layer:
1 Cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar Free Chocolate (or any chocolate)
1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

For the Topping:
3-6 Tablespoons Crushed Pretzels (depending on how much pretzel topping you want)
Sea Salt

1) Line a 8 by 8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray it well with canola oil cooking spray.
2) In a food processor or blender, blend the oats until they become a flour-like consistency. Add in the pretzels and pulse them together until fine. (I used a blender and it worked great!)
3) In a mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, pretzels, coconut sugar and protein powder. Add the soft butter and mix to combine well. The dough should be moist, but not too sticky. (If it seems too sticky, add a little more protein powder and mix well.) Transfer the dough to your prepared pan and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place this in the freezer while you make the fudge, for about 10 minutes.
4) In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and coconut sugar. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or until all the chocolate and coconut is melted and combined. (Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn!)

5) While the chocolate is warm combine I with the peanut butter. Allow the mixture to cool slightly for a minute or two and then add the vanilla and cocoa. Mix well. (Warning: this smell is intoxicatingly-good!)
6) Pour the warm fudge mixture over the chilled base and return it to the freezer to chill for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, crush up the pretzels. (I crushed mine up in a zip-loc bag!)  Sprinkle the pretzel mixture over the fudge layer, then add sea salt if desired. Return it to the freezer for about one hour. Then transfer them to the fridge, cut, and serve.

The natural sweetness of these bars is shockingly delicious. Although this was my first baking experience with coconut sugar,  I’ll be using it again and again. I made these yesterday, and they are nearly gone today. A good sign? I think so!


Peanut butter & cinnamon raisin no-bake snack bites

Hey there, how’s your Tuesday? My sinus infection is thankfully gone (thanks so much for all of your get-well wishes!) and while I’m feeling much better, my day was pretty darn boring thanks to countless hours of studying. However, it did get exciting once I got into the kitchen. I’m a firm believer in study breaks so I took one this afternoon in order to make quite a delicious treat:  peanut butter and cinnamon raisin no-bake snack bites. I realize it’s a mouthful, but I promise it’s a delicious one! Although I’ve seen a lot of “protein ball” and “energy bite” recipes circulating around Pinterest and the blog-world, these are a new-to-me treat. I have read countless versions that used ingredients like wheat germ, protein powder, flax seeds, chocolate chips and more. The combinations are truly endless.

For this version, I included all of my favorites things like peanut butter, oats, cinnamon chips and raisins. I’m sure happy I did…there’s a treat in every bite! The dough is delectable but the finished, chilled product is even better. Best of all, there’s no baking required. Simple snack bites…sign me up!

Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Raisin No-Bake Snack Bites
Adapted from Sweet Anna’s

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup ground or slivered almonds (I used slivered but any ground-nut would do!)
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (or any type of chocolate-chip)
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup creamy peanut or almond butter ( any type of nut-butter would be fine!)
1/4 cup honey
~4 tablespoons maple syrup (add more if needed)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until well combined. I used a spatula to do this. You’ll just need to stir well!
2) Once completely combined into a large ball, cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about an hour, until completely chilled.
3) Once chilled, roll the dough into small balls and place on parchment-paper or a wax-paper lined baking sheet.

4) Chill them again in the fridge or freezer before serving.


Not only are these easy-to make and super delicious,  they also make a great grab-and-go snack, which is something I’ve been in desperate need of since becoming a student again.  Ever since classes began in February, I’ve had a hard time figuring out a balanced eating schedule considering most of my classes and labs occur at very inconvenient times (always at a meal time!). I will most definitely be taking a few of these with me to class tomorrow…that is, if there are any left!  Hope you enjoy these as much as I did : –)

What’s your favorite grab-and-go snack?
Have you every made protein or energy bites? Please share!

Cocoa, Peanut Butter & Oat No-Bake Treats

Hey there, happy almost-weekend to all! I have the day off from class today, so I am psyched. I love having Friday as my study day. This way, I can do less studying come Saturday and Sunday, when it is the last thing I want to do. This morning I opted to sleep for a few extra hours and take a 9:00 a.m. rpm(spinning) class rather than attend 5:30 a.m. boot-camp, and it felt great to get some extra shut-eye. It also felt great to sweat…but when doesn’t it? I’m loving my new Australia work-out gear (the brand is Lorna Jane and it’s really similar to Lulu Lemon back home). Brandon gave it to me for Christmas, and I adore the thick waist band of the spandex capris, the bright colors, and the length of the tank. Basically, Lorna Jane rules!

Like our American flag in the background?  It is safe to say we are missing home!

Anyway,  this weekend, I plan on doing some baking, or should I say no-baking, in the form of cocoa, peanut butter, and oat no-bake treats. I made these a few weeks ago when we had a friend over for a barbeque, and it was extremely humid that night. It was definitely WAY to humid to bake, but of course I was craving dessert.  I’m pretty sure the guys both thought I was crazy, but I was determined to produce some-sort of chocolate treat without turning on the oven. Then I remembered a dessert I used to make with my Mom when I was younger: no-bake cookies. Voila, I knew what I was making! These are in no way healthy, but they sure are delicious, and they produce a lot of cookies with minimal effort. I don’t recommend making the mistake I made of leaving “extra” dough in a container. Me+cookie dough=disaster. I was in there with a spoon on a daily basis!

Cocoa, Peanut Butter & Oat No-Bake Treats
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 cups oats (I used whole oats, but quick oats will work too)
1/2 cup reduced fat creamy peanut butter (Any peanut-butter would work)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1)Lay out a large sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Set aside.  Combine the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a boil for about 1 minute.

2) Remove this from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients (oats, peanut butter, and vanilla). Stir the mixture and mix well.

3) Drop the mixture by teaspoons onto your wax paper. (I prefer to use a scooper to make them as round as possible, but I unfortunately don’t have one here!) Then place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until cooled.


These may not look very pretty, but they are truly delicious. Plus, with the inclusion of oats and peanut-butter, they are super filling, so you’ll  satisfy your sweet tooth with one or two.

Do you have a favorite no-bake dessert? Please share!

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars

 Have you ever had a dessert that combines all of your favorite flavors in one? Chocolate…check. Molasses…check. Peanut-butter…check. I was sold…are you?

First things first…lets thank Mommy Rowden for this recipe. Last year, she told me she had made her “favorite” dessert when I traveled home to Maine for a long weekend. Well, my Mom has a lot of favorites, so I didn’t know what to expect…but this favorite took the cake. When I tell you that once you try one, you won’t be able to eat just one…I’m serious, good luck. I honestly have to tape the pan to stop eating these each time I make them.

The best part about these bars is that they’re good in any form…piping hot from the oven, cold from the fridge, and even at room temperature. I suggest you make them three times, then you can try each way to see what you like best! They saying is true…this recipe is definitely “an oldie but a goodie!!” –check out the recipe card if you don’t believe me! It’s definitley been used over and over again! 

oldie but a goodie!

Mom’s Crunchy Surprise Cookie Bars


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet real chocolate chips
1 cup Sun-Maid seedless raisins
1 cup peanuts (optional—I don’t include these).
1/3 cup peanut butter (Crunchy or creamy works–I used reduced-fat crunchy).

1) Heat oven to 350°. Mix sugar, butter, molasses, egg yolk and vanilla with spoon. Stir in flour and 1 cup chocolate chips.

first ingredients

Mommy dearest, mixing away



2)Press dough in un-greased 13×9 rectangular pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. *I like mine under-cooked, so I usually take mine out after 22. Watch them closely!

delicious dough, spread evenly

3) While the bars are cooking, mix the remaining chocolate chips, the raisins, and the peanut butter in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted.

stovetop ingredients

the best chocolate sauce around!

4) Once the bars have been removed from the oven, spread the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the crust in pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours ( I usually stick mine in the freezer for 20 minutes, to speed up the process). Cut into bars. Enjoy!

spreading the sauce evenly

Mom's surprise bars!

Make-your-own-granola bars

Make your own granola bars

Lately, I’ve been making a diligent effort to eat less processed foods, and incorporate more protein into my diet. But as I’m sure many of you know, this can prove to be particularly difficult if you’re stuck in an office all day! I have to admit, I really wonder how in the world I get hungry from sitting at a desk and in meetings all day, yet somehow, I do. I don’t exactly enjoy sitting all day, which is my main motivaton that gets me to the gym each and every morning. I know it’s in my head, but I just feel better at 8:30 a.m. knowing I was already active that day, especially since I’m sitting there all day.

Anyway, something that’s even more difficult than sitting at a desk all day is feeling satisfied after breakfast and lunch each day. Up until last month, I continued to realize that I was starving within one hour after eating. I wasn’t eating enough protein at or between my meals, and was eating empty calories of “100 calorie packs” and sugar-laden granola bars, instead of choosing protein-packed snacks or whole-grain options. That’s why I love these granola bars. They’re full of wholesome, high in protein, and they satisfy my sweet-tooth….good things really do come in 3’s!

Make-Your-Own-Granola Bars

½ apple (I used a granny smith)
1 ½ cups whole oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup nuts (pecans or walnuts would work)
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup light maple syrup
¾ cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but chunky would do!)
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1-2 scoops vanilla or chocolate protein powder ( I used Arbonne protein powder)

Optional Ingredients
1.5 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

1) Chop apple, a cook Apple(or your choice of fruit) on stove, then mash in a large bowl.

cooking the apple

2) Add all ingredients to bowl and mix together.

Ingredients, all together

All mixed!

3) Smooth out in 8X8 pan, and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

granola bar goodness :)

One of the best parts about these granola bars is that you can adapt them to your taste. For instance, use a banana instead of an apple. Or, don’t include the chocolate chips and double up on the raisins instead. It’s up to you! Whenever I make these, I package them up in plastic wrap and take one to work each day for my afternoon snack. It’s quite the afternoon treat. Make these!!