We have been on the run lately, so it was essential that I take half an hour and whip up a couple batches of various protein bars and snacks for grab-and-go snacks while in the car, running errands, or going to play dates.
During the week , Matthew and I have been enjoying quality time with a couple different groups of moms. Today we joined a new group of lovely ladies that we met through Allan at Lake Hiawatha Park. Matthew and I both had an amazing time. It was so nice to be with a group of like minded ladies!
Plus, Matthew napped for 3 hours and 15 minutes this afternoon! Around 11 months Matthew started resisting afternoon naps and wanting to only take LONG morning naps. So, we have been struggling for about a month trying to figure out what to do, but not we are finally getting into a new slepping groove.
Whenever I make protein bars and snacks, some variation of the following recipe is always on my must-make list. However, I realized that I have not posted the made-over version of my (and many of your) most beloved recipe.
Since I posted it over 2 years ago, my chocolate protein bar recipe has been very popular with many of my readers. Even though I really love the original recipe, I always felt like it was a bit ingredient and process heavy. So, the following is my attempt to simplify.
However, there may a another update to this recipe coming soon. This morning I made up a double batch of Mama Pea’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckwheat Bars and it got me thinking about these bars. I conjured up some ideas on how to simplify these bars even further. More kitchen experiments are still necessary. And even more simplified or not, these bars are delicious! Allan takes one in his lunch almost every day and is really sad if I don’t keep the fridge stocked. In addition, they lend themselves to a gazillion flavor variations, as demonstrated in the recipe below.
Speaking of Mama Pea, have you pre-ordered her new book yet? If not, when you are done reading this post, hop over to Amazon and reserve your copy. I may actually be looking forward to her book more than Tosca’s last cookbook… which, if you know me well, says a lot!
Chocolate Protein Bars
Makes 12-18 protein bars
2 cups rolled oats
12 scoops chocolate protein powder
4 tbsp ground flaxseed*
1/2 c nonfat dry milk**
1/3 c cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
2/3 cup peanut butter, room temperature
1/2 c water
1/2 c organic low-fat milk or nondairy milk****
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sucanat, optional*****
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. You can also grease the pan with coconut oil or spray with EVOO. But this can get sticky and I personally don’t like doing dishes.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients through sea salt.
If peanut butter has been refrigerated heat it slightly in the microwave, oven or stovetop. Do not skip this step or the next step will be a biceps workout.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix to combine with a large wooden spoon. At first it will seem like you do not have enough wet ingredients; but keep stirring and working at it. A wet, sticky dough will develop. Resist the urge to add additional water, if you add too much liquid the resulting bars will be extremely gooey.
Once a dough forms, dump into prepared pan and press into pan using a sheet of plastic wrap between your palm and the sticky dough.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.
* Chia seeds can be substituted for ground flaxseed.
** To make this vegan, omit the nonfat dry milk and use an equal amount of ground flax.
*** Any nut or seed butter can be used in place of peanut butter.
**** To lower calories, save money omit the milk and use 1 c water instead of 1/2 c water and 1/2 c milk
***** Any sweetener will do: agave, maple syrup, melted raw honey, stevia, brown rice syrup, etc. sucanat is simply cheaper
Mounds bar: chocolate protein powder + almond butter + 1/4 c dried coconut + 1/8 tsp coconut extract
Maple Cinnamon: omit cocoa powder, vanilla protein powder + almond butter + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp maple extract + maple syrup
Vanilla Bean: omit cocoa powder, vanilla protein powder + almond butter
Peanut Butter Banana: omit cocoa powder, banana protein powder + peanut butter + 1/8 tsp banana extract
Sunflower Carrot: omit cocoa powder and rolled oats, muesli mix + vanilla protein powder + sunflower butter + 1/3 c shredded carrot + 1/4 c sunflower seeds, reduce milk to 1/4 c
PIzza: omit cocoa powder, milk and vanilla, plain protein powder + cashew butter + 2 tbsp tomato paste + 1 tsp italian seasoning + 1 tbsp nutritional yeast + 1/2-3/4 c total water
What other flavor variations do you crave?
I love recipes that are easily adapted to many different flavors!