Bobo's Oat Bars was born in 2003 in a Boulder, Colorado kitchen when a mother-daughter duo decided to spend a gloomy day baking up some treats. They took what they had in the pantry, and what emerged became the basis for the first bar that started their business. The key to these bars is four standard wholesome ingredients: 100% whole grain oats, coconut oil, whole cane sugar, and brown rice syrup.
To these, other clean ingredients are added. These ingredients are certified gluten-free, non-GMO, Kosher, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan. While some oat bar flavors contain nuts, Bobo's has an allergen program established to prevent cross-contamination. That said, it recommends those with severe allergies exercise caution and consult a medical professional with any questions or concerns.
This company's oat bars are available from retailers across the nation. I had the opportunity to sample 18 of Bobo's oat bar flavors, including the bar that started it all: Original. My criteria for ranking each flavor from worst to best included categories like aroma, texture, and flavor. If a bar didn't showcase its flavor accurately in its name, I placed it lower in the ranking, even if it had a decent taste. Read on to see how each of these Bobo's oat bars varieties fared.
Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip
At the bottom of my list of Bobo's oat bars was the Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip. Each bar contains 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. What I was hoping for with this bar was something akin to an Almond Joy. It did not deliver.
The aroma is all coconut with no chocolate chip evident. The texture is quite dense and a touch dry. Like all of these oat bars, this is a bit of a belly bomb. Like a meal in a bar. The flavor is less coconut-forward, with a hint of the almond and chocolate coming through, but not enough to offset the coconut and oat flavors. The sweetness of this bar is well-balanced, but the flavors are not, and for this reason, it ranked last on my list.
Next on my list was the Almond Butter oat bar. Again, this was a bit of a hefty bar, with each bar containing 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. The biggest issue with this bar was its density, which was more like a thick cookie and slightly dry, even though it was still chewy.
Its aroma did have an almond-forward nose that was quite pleasant. The flavor was almondy but not enough to counterbalance the oats. The sweetness was tempered and just enough to help offset a slightly bitter aftertaste. Overall, I was underwhelmed with this variety, perhaps because I am an almond lover and wanted to love this. For this reason, it landed second to last on my list.
The Coconut oat bar was third to last on my ranking. Frankly, this bar executed what it was tasked to do. It is the ultimate in coconut aroma and flavor. For the coconut fan, this bar would likely rank higher. While I enjoy coconut, it may have been a hint too much for me. From the first sniff to the last bite, the coconut made itself known. This bar was sweet but not cloying. And its texture was firm but not dry, with a pleasant chew.
Each bar contains 340 calories, 14 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. As with all these bars, this was filling, though perhaps less so because it wasn't as dry. That said, coconut tends to be a more acquired taste, so I ranked this bar toward the bottom of my list.
I was shocked that the Peanut Butter oat bar didn't rank higher on this list. I love peanut butter. It is one of my go-to protein sources. Because of this, I had high expectations of this snack. When I first opened the packaging, the aroma was sufficiently peanut-forward. The texture of this bar was chewy, moist, and had a hint of crunch, even though it was dense.
Where this bar failed was the flavor, which felt less peanutty than oat-like. While I appreciated the sweetness level, which was moderate, it felt like the peanut got lost in the sea of oats.
This bar contains 360 calories, 14 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. The lack of peanut flavor sabotaged this bar.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
I am sorry to report that adding chocolate chips to the peanut butter did not make things that much better for this oat bar. Yet again, the peanut was lost in translation somehow, getting overshadowed by the oats. This time, the aroma even seemed muted, with the flavor following suit. Neither the chocolate nor the peanut butter was prominent in the taste. The oats stole the show, dashing any hopes of a hint of peanut butter cup action.
This bar has 360 calories, 14 grams of fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. The one thing this bar had going for it over the plain peanut butter flavor was its texture, which was chewy, moist, and perhaps a touch less solid, edging it into 14th place.
The lowest-ranked fruit flavor oat bar on this list was the Peach variety. This bar excelled in texture. Adding peach jam to this recipe helped to improve the moisture and chewiness, giving it a less dense constitution, which was quite a reprieve for my tummy. Each bar contains 340 calories, 10 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
This bar lost me in its aroma and flavor. It had virtually no smell, at least nothing resembling peaches. While a hint of peach peeked out in the taste of this snack, it was hardly the star. This left me underwhelmed. The sweetness was spot on, being pleasant but not cloying. That said, its lack of peach punch was problematic.
Banana Chocolate Chip
The Banana Chocolate Chip oat bar ranked next on this list. This bar suffered the same fate as a few others in terms of the flavors not being prominent enough. The aroma of this snack had little to no banana or chocolate evident. The texture was quite dense, though still moist, thanks to the bananas. The flavor was almost all oats with a kiss of banana and no chocolate present. Its sweetness was en pointe.
Each bar contains 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. The best way I can describe this bar is like a chocolate chip banana bread that went slightly stale. It was okay but not great. For that reason, I had to rank it where I did.
The Cinnamon Raisin oat bar came in next on my ranking. This bar had an almost imperceptible aroma but improved from there. Its texture was chewy, softer, and not dry. The flavor, while more muted than we would have enjoyed, did taste like cinnamon with hints of raisin chunks. It was a bit like eating an oatmeal raisin cookie, which was quite pleasant.
These snacks have 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. While this oat bar was enjoyable, it was slightly under-seasoned, needing more cinnamon to earn its moniker.
It may seem anti-climactic for the Original Flavor oat bar to place in the middle of this ranking, but sometimes you should not mess with the basics. There is a reason these bars caught on. They are a great, quality, simple oat snack that is nutritious and tasty. Each bar has 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.
The texture of this bar is what makes it a solid bar. It is moist, chewy, and soft despite its hefty structure. Its aroma and flavor are whole grain oats through and through. While there is a hint of bitterness, it isn't distracting, and its sweetness is very mild, befitting of the simplicity of this snack. This bar tastes like good quality oatmeal in a snack bar delivery form, and I was pretty fond of it.
The Gingerbread oat bar is only sold from September to February. It seeks to capitalize on the holidays by adding bright spices like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and all-spice to infuse warmth and festivity into the classic oats. These bars are 340 calories each. They contain 12 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.
The texture of these bars is moist and chewy. The aroma and flavor reminded me of a fig newton without the fruit. The sweetness was beautifully balanced. Though I appreciated the flavor profile, I did think the spices could have been a bit more pronounced. That said, I enjoyed this snack. Its slightly dry texture and under-seasoning are why it ranked ninth on this list.
Chocolate Almond Brownie
I desperately wanted to rank the Chocolate Almond Brownie oat bar higher than I did. It is a variety made in conjunction with the There With Care organization. All the proceeds of its sale are donated to help this organization provide critical services to families experiencing a medical crisis.
These bars contain 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Their texture is a bit dry and quite dense.
The aroma and taste of these bars are cocoa powder-forward. They are not overly sweet and have the characteristic bitterness you'd expect with cocoa powder. While almond butter is present, it is almost indistinguishable. Calling this a brownie is perhaps a misnomer. It insinuates a texture and flavor that this bar does not encapsulate. For this reason, it ranked eighth on this list.
The limited edition Pumpkin Spice oat bar came in next. This festive snack contains 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein per bar.
With so many pumpkin spice-flavored snacks, this bar had high standards to uphold. When I busted open the packaging, the aroma was promising, redolent with the warm spices quintessential to the holiday season. The texture of this bar was soft and chewy, if not just a hint denser than others.
The flavor of this bar was mildly pumpkin-forward and sweeter than the other bars but not cloying. Where these bars shone was the careful yet assertive use of cinnamon and cloves, which were present but not overwhelming. As pumpkin spice-flavored foods go, this was a stellar example. That said, since pumpkin spice isn't everyone's thing, I ranked this in seventh place.
The Chocolate Chip oat bar could best be described as a take on a classic oatmeal chocolate chip cookie but denser. The texture of this bar is moist and chewy, with a hint of crunch. The aroma is mild, with chocolate present but not assertively so. Its flavor is equally mellow, with hints of chocolate punctuating the hearty oats. The only thing missing was perhaps a pinch of cinnamon for some warmth.
Each of these bars has 360 calories, 14 grams of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. While I enjoyed this bar, I wanted more chocolate flavor to peer through. This was a tasty bar, but it lacked the nuance of others that ranked higher.
As I move into the home stretch of my rankings of Bobo's oat bars, I arrive at the Maple Pecan variety. If you enjoy pecan pie, you will love this bar. From the aroma to the flavor, pecans feature prominently. That said, pecans do have a distinct flavor that can be a hint bitter and earthy, which can make it an acquired taste. This bitterness is balanced with a hint of sweetness from the maple flavoring.
Where this bar shines most is its texture, which is moist, chewy, and crunchy. This perfectly captures the texture of a pecan pie in a less messy delivery format. These bars have 360 calories, 14 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. While I appreciate pecans, not everyone does. For this reason, I ranked this bar in fifth place.
I wrestled with where to rank the Cranberry Orange oat bar. The flavor profiles of tangy cranberries matched with the floral and slightly sweet notes of orange are personal favorites. That said, I recognize that not everyone loves them, so I placed this flavor fourth on my ranking of Bobo's oat bar varieties. Each of these bars has 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
The aroma of this bar is rife with orange peel. The texture is soft, moist, and chewy. The flavor is not overly sweet, with hints of cranberry chunks popping through. The orange flavor is the star. Its prominence makes the cranberry take a bit of a back seat. If I were being hypercritical, I would have preferred a slightly more balanced degree of cranberry to orange.
The Lemon Poppyseed oat bar is another variety that left me with an existential crisis in the ranking department. Again, this is a flavor combination I enjoy but understand is not everyone's cup of tea. These bars contain 340 calories, 12 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.
From the moment I opened the packaging of this bar, lemon essence clobbered me over the head in the best possible way. The flavor of lemon was less aggressive than the aroma. It was well balanced with the oats and a modest sweetness that was pleasant. I will note that the poppy seeds were noticeably sparse. These bars could have benefitted from more of them for a hint of bitterness. The texture of this bar was perfectly moist and toothsome. That said, these still ranked third on my list.
Dark Chocolate Almond
My second-place pick for Bobo's oat bars was the Dark Chocolate Almond. This bar hooked me with dark chocolate. It was sophisticated and nuanced. The second I opened the package, notes of dark chocolate wafted through the air. The texture of this bar was solid but not dry. It had a chewy and crunchy mouthfeel. While the chocolate was present in the taste, it did not dominate. It was well balanced with a hint of bittersweet complexity that offset the oats beautifully.
These bars have 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, 380 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. If I had anything negative to say about this bar, I did not sense the almond much. Frankly, it did not matter. These oat bars were dynamite.
It is hard to argue with something as American as apple pie. So I didn't. My favorite oat bar from Bobo's was the Apple Pie variety. This bar had it all. It smelled like an apple pie that had just come out of the oven, chock full of cinnamon. Its texture was made infinitely juicier by the apples, helping reduce the heft and making this a more delicate bar.
The flavor of this bar was on the sweeter side, but that is appropriate. As I chewed it, the warmth of the spices almost had me convinced I was eating an apple pie. Each bar contains 140 calories, 12 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Overall, I gave this bar a solid A and heartily recommend it to anyone needing a delicious snack.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.