Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars are simple, requiring just 10 ingredients and 30 minutes to make. #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan
Happy news… these peanut butter chocolate protein bars are delicious, loaded with protein and packed with good for you stuff like ground flax, peanut butter, rolled oats and honey.
Sad news… since these bars contain protein powder, and protein powder cannot be found in nature (i.e. growing on a tree, in the leaf of a plant, etc.) this recipe cannot officially be titled #wholefood, #clean #realfood. Told you it was sad news.
With that said, I do not get all judgy about protein powder. Most people that use it regularly are not going to stop, even if they re following a whole-food lifestyle. Annnd, besides that.. forcing people to adhere to some kind of strict diet isn’t at all what I’m about. It’s about balance and making informed decisions about the food that we do or do not choose to put into our bodies.
Soo.. I feel responsible to share this bit of information with you. All protein powders are definitely NOT created equal. There are some out there that are made of complete junk and way too many ingredients. We use Tera’s Organic Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Whey Protein. This powder is cold pressed, made from whole food whey concentrate, and from organic fed cows who are not treated with hormones or antibiotics. It also contains only 4 ingredients, many popular brands have more than 30!
- Read the label of your protein. Their are some really popular companies out there that are making really big claims that are completely false.
- Homemade bars are almost always healthier than store-bought, so if you are taking the time to do this.. pat yourself on the back (no matter what type of protein you are using).
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Prep: You can preassemble the dry ingredients and store them in an airtight container in your pantry for up to a month, if not longer. Add the wet ingredients and you will be ready to pop these in the oven!
Make Ahead: Make and bake these bars. Let them cool. Wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, they won’t last that long!
Freezer: Wrap in parchment paper and place them into an airtight Ziplock bag. They will keep up to a month!
- 2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free blend if desired)
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (gluten-free and/or vegan blend if desired)
- 2 Tbs ground flax
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup + 2 TBS almond milk (you can use regular if preferred)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chunks (sub sweet dried fruit if vegan or dairy-free)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.
- In large mixing bowl combine oats, protein powder, flax, cinnamon, and salt. Mix.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine peanut butter, honey, milk, and vanilla. Mix until fully combined.
- Pour dry ingredient mix into the wet ingredients. Mix until fully combined. The batter will be very sticky.
- Pour into prepared baking dish. I wet my hands and them use them to firmly press the mixture into place. Use a rubber spatula to ensure that it is distributed evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Cut bars into desired serving size. Store in refrigerator.
- This mixture should be goopy, but not runny! Different brands of protein powder have different size scoops and ingredients so it makes it a little difficult to give an exact measurement for how much protein powder to add. If your mixture seems dry add a little extra milk. If your baked bars are dry, ease off the protein powder next time.
- Don’t allow the mixing bowls to sit in your sink without rinsing. Trust me, just go ahead and wash it!
- You should buy peanut butter that does not contain extra sugar. Look for a jar that lists peanuts as the only ingredients. The peanut butter is easier to work with if you allow it to come to room temperature prior to making this recipe.
- Make sure you buy ground flax. Flax should be stored in a cool dark place. I keep mine in an old coffee can in the pantry. It goes rancid easily.
- Watch out for additives such as oils and preservatives in your dark chocolate. The fewer ingredients the better. The percentage of cocoa used should be 60% or higher. It is easier to find healthy dark chocolate if you buy a bar instead of chocolate chunks and just smash it up.
- Different protein powders make these bars turn out differently. You may have to adjust the amount given in the recipe to get the texture that you desire.
- To make bars dairy-free and vegan, eliminate chocolate chips and replace with sweet dried fruit. I like to use dried cherries.
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