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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Easy to make / people always ask me for the recipe... Oats, chocolate chips, vanilla, salt, and a secret addition of molasses @choccoveredkt

True story:

I was once on national television… in my underwear. 😕

It was when I was 5 years old, on a popular children’s show similar to Sesame Street. The goal of the segment was to teach young children how to get dressed by themselves: this was in the early 90s, therefore footage is thankfully not immortalized online.

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Possibly even more fun than the filming process was when the show aired and everyone reconvened for a viewing party. One child’s mother brought in three plates of gooey chocolate chip cookie bars for the occasion, and not a single person left that day without having asked for the recipe. The bars would become a staple in my childhood home for many years afterwards.

Today’s recipe is a healthy makeover of those addictive chocolate chip cookie bars.

I played around to find the perfect amount of applesauce to lower the fat, calories, and sugar while still maintaining the bars’ seductively gooey texture. The subtly-strong flavor of the surprise ingredient—molasses!—takes these bars completely over the top.

They are sure to win you over!

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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  • 1 1/2 cups spelt or all-purpose flour (180g) (oat flour works; the texture is just a bit gummier)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (20g)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or date sugar (90g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips, depending on how chocolatey you want the bars to be
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil (80g)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (120g)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (9g)
  • pinch stevia, or 2 tbsp sugar of choice
  • 3 tbsp blackstrap or regular molasses (43g)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line the bottom of an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, then set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together the first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all liquid ingredients, then pour wet over dry and stir to form a batter. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes. Makes 15-24 squares, depending on how large you cut them. (The ones in the photos are cut from 24.) I love the unique molasses flavor in these bars, but you can always substitute pure maple syrup or agave or honey (vegans don’t use honey) if you’d prefer.

*View Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Nutrition Facts*

Chocolate Covered Katie 2014

Completely unrelated: I can’t go any further without giving a long-overdue mention to Sara Kiesling, an extraordinarily-talented photographer and one of my favorite people in the world. I was lucky enough to work with Sara a few months ago when she came over to do some author photos, and we spent the entire day talking about basically everything under the sun.

When she sent me the images from our shoot, I was shocked at the incredible quality: the clarity, the sharpness, the white balance and brightness (especially the brightness, as they’d been shot on a cloudy day). Then Sara really shocked me by saying the photos weren’t even edited! I can’t say enough good things about Sara!!!

Link Of The Day:

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Healthy Blueberry Muffins

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Katy says:

    That’s a beautiful photo of you Katie! These cookie bars look delicious and it’s so funny that you remember them even though you had them when you were 5. I love those oats poking out.

  2. Ahhh Katie these look awesome! What a great treat!

  3. These sound amazing, I love anything with oatmeal or chocolate and these bars sound like the perfect portable afternoon snack;)

  4. I guess being on TV in your underwear is a small price to pay for a delicious dessert recipe? 😛 These look amazing, can’t wait to try!

  5. Andrea says:

    First off, I cannot say how proud I am that you chose a Minnesotan photographer (Go Minnesota!!).

    Secondly, I cannot wait to try out this recipe. Multiplied by 4 or 5 batches, approximately.

    1. Alyssa says:

      I didn’t realize she was a Minnesota photographer! Whoa! CooL!

      1. I thought it was an extreme long shot to get her to come to Texas, but I was very lucky. Her work is amazing!

  6. I love the little oats shining through in these 😉 I love a good oat bar and of course chocolate chips are always mandatory 😀

  7. becauseHeloves! says:

    These are calling my name…I must make them sometime this week! Beautiful picture by the way.

  8. YES, bar cookies! No idea why they are so much denser and richer than normal cookies, but wow, awesome. Loving your take on them.

  9. Swiftie22 says:

    Katie, you look SO pretty! Beautiful picture. And I can’t wait to try the recipe! 🙂

  10. Jenna says:

    You look happy, healthy & gorgeous!

  11. Megan says:

    Oh yum! These look amazing, and so worth trying out!

  12. Sarah S. says:

    These look so delicious and you look STUNNING!!!

  13. Sara says:

    You are the absolute prettiest and such an incredible person, I’m so glad we met and became BFF <3 <3 <3

  14. Haha, that’s hilarious! And those bars look fan-freakin-tastic.

  15. Lily says:

    Wow, Katie! I was just thinking of how you should try making cookie bars! I have two questions, can I bake these in a 9×13? They seem very thick so I was wondering if that was possible. Also, can I use coconut sugar in the place of the brown sugar? Thank you so much for the recipe, and you are absolutely stunning!

    1. I’ve not tried the 9×13 idea, so if you try it be sure to report back. You can definitely sub coconut sugar; just be sure it is packed.

      1. Lily says:

        Thank you so much, Katie! Have a great day! 🙂

  16. Lauren says:

    Hi Katie!
    I was wondering if you have an alternative to molasses. I see it in many of your recipes, but I don’t think we have something similar here in Belgium (at least not in a regular supermarket).
    Very nice picture btw!

    1. Lily says:

      Hi, Lauren! Katie said in the post you can substitute pure maple syrup, honey, or agave for the molasses. 🙂

      1. Lauren says:

        Oh wow I did not notice that she already gave substitute options. Thanks!

        1. Caroline says:

          Hi Lauren! If you live in Vlaanderen, “keukenstroop” is probably what you’ll need. It’s exactly the same as molasses but we use a different name! Good luck 😉

    2. Lisa says:

      To The belgian woman: molasses are kandijsiroop in dutch. There in The oven now 🙂

  17. Kathryn says:

    Katie, you are beautiful! And inspirational. Thank you for sharing your time and life with us.
    These bars look scrumptious (along with everything else on here…I am thinking about making the kale brownies this week. Of course, I will not share the secret ingredient until it is generally admitted that they are good! 😉 ).

  18. Am says:

    These look great! I think I will try them with a gluten free mix that I make that I find works well in sub for AP flour and let you know how it goes 🙂
    The picture is amazing!

    1. Maria says:

      Please report back on the GF flour version.

      1. Am says:

        Hi! Reporting back on my gluten-free experience: I followed CCK’s recipe, except for the flour and sugar. For flour I used brown rice flour and cornstarch: a little more than 1/4 cornstarch and the rest brown rice flour. For sugar, I subbed 1/4 honey because I feel better when I eat “clean”. They turned out well, overall. The texture was a little crumbly, but the majority of them stayed in a firm bar shape. I wasn’t crash-hot on the taste, but it could be just because I don’t always like the taste of molasses in baked goods for some reason. :/ I hope this helps 🙂 P.S. It was really fun to make; thanks CCKatie! 🙂

        1. Am says:

          Update: I shared them with my Mom and she loved them!!

  19. Isa says:

    Thanks Katie, I’m going to try those tonight to send in the lunch boxes tomorrow 🙂
    We have recently been told we can’t have eggs anymore (on top of wheat, dairy and various other things), so your site has become even more of a goldmine!!
    Thank you 🙂
    PS, picture is awesome (and you are truly pretty), I will check her website and share 🙂

    1. Thanks! The no-egg thing really does get easier the longer you do it. Good luck!

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