The Sweet Side of Ancient Grains

book cover

My friend Erin (of the delectable blog Texanerin Baking) has a gorgeous cookbook coming out on April 20, and I was fortunate to get a review copy to peruse (and salivate over)!

The Sweet Side Of Ancient Grains is chock full of desserts made with whole grains.

To whet your appetite, listen to some of these enticing recipes:

  • Spelt Dulce de Leche Apple Streusel Bars
  • Buckwheat Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies
  • Teff Espresso Hazelnut Brownies
  • Quinoa Molten Lava Cakes for Two
  • Emmer Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart
  • Barley Black Forest Cobbler

It was NOT easy to choose one recipe to share with you, but No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Chocolate Bars caught my eye and I couldn’t shake an instant craving for them.

pb coconut chocolate bar

These bars came together in no time, and although it was tough to wait for them to cool completely in the fridge, it was well worth it because they are nothing short of perfection! I can’t think of a more delicious combination than chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut, and these bars deliver on all three flavor fronts. Plus, the coconut flakes retain some of their crunch when enrobed in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture, adding a fun textural element.

I think I’m going to need to make another batch once we blow through the first one… which shouldn’t take very long!

pb coconut chocolate bar


No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Chocolate Bars

It doesn’t get much easier than this. You just melt and stir everything together and voila – candy bars packed with better-for-you ingredients! Think of these as chocolate coconut candy bars with a hint of peanut butter. If you want to pump up the peanut butter flavor, slather some peanut butter on top after cooking slightly. If you’re watching calories, it’s probably best to think of these as candy bars. A small square goes a long way!

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 5 minutes

READY IN: 15 minutes, plus cooling

YIELD: 16-20 bars




  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (224 grams) salted natural peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons (60 grams) honey
  • 1 cup (170 grams) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 3/4 cup (161 grams) rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) chopped peanuts or 1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened shredded, flaked or desiccated coconut, as garnish (optional)


  1. Line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter or coconut oil. Add in the peanut butter and honey, and when well combined stir in the chocolate chips and continue stirring until melted. Stir in the coconut and then the oats.
  3. Spoon the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts or coconut, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Cut into bars and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

TIP: These freeze wonderfully and would make a great treat for the lunchbox. Note that these will melt and become a mess in the heat.


No-Bake Energy Bites

energy bites

We currently have three… no, four open jars of peanut butter in our pantry.

Why? Well, one is John’s preferred kind for adding to his daily morning smoothies, (but it has added sugar, so I don’t usually eat it), the second is a practically empty jar waiting to be filled with warm stovetop oatmeal, the third is the brand I usually have on hand, and the fourth one is a new jar of Crazy Richard’s sent to me by the company to try out.

energy bites

My parents buy this brand of peanut butter, so I have no idea why I forgot about it… but I am so glad I was reminded with this jar because it is so good! Creamy & smooth, with no added salt, sugar, or oil, this is what peanut butter should taste like; because the only ingredient is peanuts!

energy bites

After enjoying a few small spoonfuls straight from the jar, I used the peanut butter to make these simple, easy, and tasty energy bites. Most of the sweetness comes from dates, (with a tiny bit of maple syrup added for moisture), they are packed with energizing ingredients, and – of course – the main flavor is peanut butter.

I added cocao nibs for crunch, but if you don’t have them on hand, you could either omit them or sub them with something else. This recipe is versatile; you can add dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes, etc… customize them however you like!

energy bites


No-Bake Energy Bites

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (10 bites)

  • 1/2 cup all-natural unsweetened drippy peanut butter, well-stirred
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed pitted soft Medjool dates, finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cocao nibs (optional)


In a medium bowl, add all ingredients (starting with 1/4 cup oats) and stir until well combined. If your peanut butter is thick and somewhat dry, 1/4 cup oats will suffice. If your peanut butter is drippy, then you’ll want to add the full 1/2 cup oats (I did).

Using a mini ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out dough and roll into balls between your palms. Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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