For the last year or more I’ve been working with the Palm Harbor Library to develop a cooking program for patrons. The program kicked off with an event for adults that was hosted by a local personal chef friend of mine, Cheryl from Pook’s Pantry. I really enjoy working with kids in the kitchen. When you teach kids to cook they are more likely to make good food choices and less likely to turn to fast food. So I worked with the youth librarian to plan an event before the holidays. We couldn’t use the oven because we only had an hour to make cookies. So I decided to go with these no-bake peanut butter chocolate chip oat bars.
I love opportunities to get kids in the kitchen. Seven kids, ages 8 – 12, attended this hands-on class and they were so interested and engaged. They asked questions about cooking, I taught them about kitchen safety and sanitation. They all washed their hands before beginning the program. As I introduced myself and talked about the importance of washing hands and not touching your mouth or nose, we had a few giggles when I noticed two participants who had to go wash their hands again. It was all in good fun. While the majority of kids were girls, there was one boy who had never helped in the kitchen before or cooked a thing. How exciting to see him enjoy himself. He not only asked questions but he asked for help when he needed it.
It was challenging to come up with a recipe that didn’t require the stove or oven. There just wasn’t enough time. I had initially thought about my peanut butter fudge but that requires heat. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with these no-bake bars. They were perfect and relatively easy for the kids to make. The hardest part was mixing it all in because they had to use a bit of elbow grease for the stiff batter.
While the kids were mixing we talked about different things that could be added into the mix. One child’s Mom is allergic to chocolate so they thought of dried fruit and nuts. Another girl made the suggestion to use Nutella in place of the peanut butter. How brilliant for an eleven year old to think of that substitution for these oat bars.
All in all the no-bake peanut butter chocolate chip oat bars were a hit, along with the program. I’m hoping to work with the youth librarian on more programs for the children.
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Place peanut butter and honey in a bowl. Stir well to combine. Add oats and chocolate chips stirring until all is combined. Pat into an 8 x 8 greased baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour. Slice into squares or bars.
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