couple weeks ago I received an email asking if I could create a recipe that doesn’t have chocolate in it for a Valentines’ Day treat? Their sweetheart doesn’t like chocolate. 

Yes, I can, there are so many treats to choose from. What do you like? Fruits? Nuts? Peanut butter? I love peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies are not special enough for Valentines’ day. 

Have you tried salted peanut butter bars? 

How did Valentine’s Day and chocolate become synonymous? Cadbury Chocolates. In 1861, the company made heart shaped boxes with cupids and roses on top. The boxes were so beautiful people kept them for keepsake letters and other mementos that remined them of love—marketing genius! 

I’ve written about chocolate before. It was the most coveted treat of all time, but some people don’t like it.

When I was growing up, I liked a little chocolate. Too much gave me a sore throat. I was more of a peanut better fan. I loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I still do—hint, hint). I’d eat the peanut butter first, carefully peeling off all the chocolate and eating it last or I’d give it to my dad who loved chocolate.

Now that I’m all grown up, I love all things chocolate AND peanut butter. 

These bars are the perfect treat for peanut butter lovers. I made these last week and my boys couldn’t wait until they were set. I told them I had to take a photo of them before they ate the whole pan, and it was like I’d told them I was putting them up for adoption. 

The bars can be cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter if you want to make them extra special. I like that idea, because then I get to eat all the scraps!

I may only get scraps for Valentines’ Day, but I don’t mind! I’d rather have peanut butter scraps then a box of chocolates any day!


Salted Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

10 Tbsp. butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla

½ corn syrup

½ cup unsweetened peanut butter

4 cups of oatmeal


1 cup white chocolate chips

2/3 cup unsweetened peanut butter

½ cup peanuts

1 tsp. good quality sea salt


Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray; set aside. 

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, and ½ cup peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is mixed in and add the oatmeal. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. 

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and peanut butter together in 12-15 second increments at full strength in the microwave, string between each, until white chocolate is melted. Pour over the warm baked bars and spread over the top to the edges. Sprinkle peanuts and salt over the top. Cool completely. Cut into squares or triangles and serve. You can also use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes like hearts. 


Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at

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