Healthier Monster Cookie Bars

Lower in sugar, whole grain, and easy to make vegan and gluten-free, Healthier Monster Cookie Bars are the perfect treat to make for Halloween or any time. Kids can easily help make this recipe since everything is stirred together in one bowl. It can also be t vegan and gluten-free with a few simple swaps.

Kids in the Kitchen:

  • Measure: You can make this recipes super quick and easy to bake with kids by remeasuring some or all of the ingredients. It’s also great to leave one or two things that young kids can measure. That way they can learn to measure and level properly.
  • Mix: Kids can easily dump and stir the ingredients together. Just make sure to use a larger bowl than you think so everything stays inside.
  • Top: Even if kids don’t do anything else to help, they will love placing the candy on top of the pan before baking. Be sure to set a couple of chocolate chips or candies aside so kids can “taste test” without using all of the chocolate meant to go into the recipe.

Subs and Tips for Healthier Monster Cookie Bars

  • Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free oats and substitute a gluten-free flour blend for the whole wheat flour.
  • Oats: I like to use “quick” oat for this recipe. If you don’t have any, you can make you own. Pulse regular rolled oats in a food processor until they are chopped and have the texture of the quick oats.
  • Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, use a flax “egg” (1 tbsp of ground flax mixed with 2.5 tbsp of water and set aside for 10 minutes). Also make sure the chocolate you are using is dairy-free.
  • Nut/Seed Butter: You can use any nut or seed butter in this recipe. I used a natural, no sugar added or salt added peanut butter. Tahini is a great sub to make these nut-free.
  • Candy: You can use regular M&Ms for this recipe or I like to use the naturally dyed ones from Trader Joe’s or the UNREAL brand candies. You can also use any other chocolate bar or chocolate candy that you’d like such as mini Twix or Snickers that might be leftover from Halloween.
  • Halloween: To dress these bars up for a spooky night, stick some candy eyes or homemade chocolate ones!

Healthier Monster Cookie Bars

Lower sugar, whole grain, and so easy to stir together in one bow!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 small squares


  • 1 large egg or flax "egg"
  • 1/2 cup natural "runny" peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup avocado or vegetable oil or melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or 2/3 cup coconut sugar)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, all-purpose, or gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup candy coated chocolates M&Ms or any chocolate candy bars, chopped


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment or grease well with oil spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the egg, peanut butter, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Add the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined. You should have a thick and sticky dough.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips and half of the chocolate candies.
  • Spread the dough evenly in your prepared baking pan. Press the remaining candies into the top.
  • Bake until golden brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let the pan cool for at least 30 minutes then cut into bars (I usually do 16 small squares, but you can make them larger if you prefer.)
  • Store bars at room temp for 3 days or in the fridge for a week.


To make a flax egg: mix 1 tbsp ground flax seed with 2 1/2 tbsp of water. Set aside for 10 minutes then use in the recipe.
Keyword baking with kids, Halloween food, peanut butter

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Other Treats to Try:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Treats

Healthier Monster Cookies (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Lower Sugar One-Bowl Cupcakes



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