Many of us might feel the need for a protein boost from time to time to boost our strength or reserves. Protein bars are an easy and efficient way to get this boost, but if you’re like me you might find not only that store-bought protein bars are expensive but that most of them don’t really taste all that great — kinda funny, in fact, even if the strange taste is tolerable.
So I decided that there was nothing stopping me from making my own protein bars, with the help of an idea from my copy of Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Like a great many of the store-bought protein bars, these homemade bars feature the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter — with the much added benefit of being able to control the quality of all the ingredients that go into your protein bar. Moreover, these homemade chocolate and peanut butter protein bars coated with an extra layer of peanut butter and coconut oil are soft and smooth like a frosted brownie. They’re tasty enough that you’ll be inclined to eat them whether you feel the need for a protein boost or not!
Aside from all the good quality ingredients giving these protein bars a flavor boost, each 4-inch bar provides 16 grams of protein — as good as or even better than most of the store-bought bars.
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate protein powder (without whey)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
Line a 8 × 8 inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with sesame oil.
In a food processor, grind the peanuts into a fairly fine powder, but stop pulsing before they turn into a paste. Add the peanut butter, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla, and process until the mixture is well blended. Now add the protein powder and cocoa and process until the mixture comes together. Add a bit more almond milk if the mixture is too dry. Transfer to the prepared pan, and using a piece of parchment paper, press down firmly to evenly distribute. Place in the freezer until the top icing layer is ready.
To make the top layer, combine the peanut butter, almond milk and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt, and immediately pour over the bottom layer and spread evenly. Place the bars back in the freezer until well set.
Lift the bars out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into small squares or 12 4-inch bars. These store well in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for at least a week, or longer in the freezer.