Chocolate Protein Bars
Yields 12 Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chocolate whey protein powder
- ¼ cup nuts (I suggest chopped/slivered almonds or peanuts)
- ½ Tbsp. cinnamon
- (⅓ cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit--optional)
- ½ cup nut butter of choice
- ¼ cup honey (raw is best!)
- ¼ cup milk (any kind, you could probably also use water instead)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a different bowl, mix the wet ingredients together, then microwave the wet ingredients for 30 seconds. Stir the wet stuff together until creamy--this might require some extra microwave time. Pour the wet stuff onto the dry (or vice versa). Mix it all together. Feel free to add some extra mixins like more nuts or chocolate chips.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper (or wax paper, but it doesn't stick to parchment paper) and drop the mixture down into it, smooshing it down. Put another piece of parchment paper on top to help you get it uniform (it's pretty sticky). Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, but preferably longer. When you take it out, turn the whole thing upside down so it lands on the top piece of paper. Then cut it into bars, which is easiest if you use a pizza cutter. I did mine in an 8x8 baking dish and cut it into 12 bars. You could also make these into balls or cut into small squares if you want.
|Easy to cut with pizza cutter.|
I'll admit that these are pretty sticky. To make them not sticky, you could roll them in crushed nuts or even dip in chocolate almond bark if you're feeling ambitious.
There are a few things I'll do differently next time. I didn't have any almonds, so I threw whatever I had in there. Which were pecans. Yeah, I don't recommend those. I used regular creamy peanut butter, but I wonder if using a more natural nut butter (the kind you have to refrigerate) would make it less sticky too. I also might add some extra chocolate chips in at the end because I just love my chocolate.
I also wanted to see a cost breakdown to see if it was worth my time. (It took less than 15 minutes, so the answer to that is "most likely so.") But I'm a frugal and curious momma, so why not figure this out. This calculation actually took me longer than making the recipe because I had to keep converting volume measurements to weight (thank you WolframAlpha for speeding this process up).
The recipe above yields 10 bars, and the cost per bar breaks down to this:
whey protein powder: 0.13
peanut butter: 0.07
raw honey: 0.12
almond milk: 0.01
chocolate chips: 0.04
pure vanilla extract: 0.03
62 cents is about half what I spend buying these in the store, so I'm going to say that yes it was worth it for me!
UPDATE 7/2/2012 (Since this has been going around Pinterest.) I have made these about 5 times now, and the original recipe is still pretty awesome. I would recommend using the quick oats, just for texture's sake, but I still use either depending on what's in the pantry. Also, if you want to add more chocolate chips (or PB chips or white chocolate chips) for something crunchy in it, wait until you've mixed everything together (i.e., have a big sticky mess). Otherwise, the chips will melt. I think these are really really good with that extra crunch, as I've decided that using dried fruit in this just doesn't work for me. Another easy way to get a crunch is to use extra-crunchy peanut butter.
I have also figured out an easy way to use parchment paper to roll them up into individual bars that you can take with you, and will get pictures of that process soon, but here is the finished product.
|Protein bars to go!|
As for the price, I did my calculations based on the absolute most you would reasonably spend on each ingredient. Personally, I use non-raw Thrifty Bee honey, cow's milk, and regular peanut butter, so my final cost is closer to probably around $0.55.