So, I know I’m pretty much always saying that whatever treat I just made for the first time is the “best thing ever!” but seriously, once you’ve tried these, you’ll never think of pre-packaged protein bars as “first choice” again, ever. There’s no denying that a protein bar makes a good, filling snack when you’re hiking or after a workout, but sometimes they’re a little… not so delicious. Even my very favorite ones are only good if they are fresh- which is fine if I buy them at a store that does a lot of turnover, but not so much if they aren’t a popular item, and there’s no way to tell how long they’ve been on the shelf until you bite into one.
If you’re making your own bars, you won’t wonder if you’re about to bite into a stale protein bar and be left with a mouth full of regret. You’ll know when you made them, and you can whip up a quick batch any time. (Ok, I confess- I have been stealing pinches of the dough out of the food processor bowl before I even chill it during the test cooking for these. Yum.)
This Sea Salt Brownie version got a 100% taste tester approval rating. They are easy to whip up, require minimal dishes, and are ready with almost no waiting. If you want bite size nibbles for a hike, cut them into 24 pieces and roll into balls with your wet hands instead of cutting them into bars. Roll them in crushed nuts or powdered sugar to prevent sticking, and pack them in a sealed container or zippered bag. (Coming soon: a completely NUT FREE version.)
Have you ever thought that waiting almost an hour for the perfect brownies to come out of the oven is just too darn long? Well, either way, I’ve got your back. You can make these fudgy and delicious in just four minutes in the microwave, or fudgy and delicious with a crispy top in the oven. Either way, you will be deep in love after your very first bite.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8" square pan. Unless you have a Pampered Chef round covered baker and you're a sundae junkie like me. In which case, just grab your RCB.
Stir together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in bowl. (Unless you're using a round covered baker. I melt the butter right in mine- about a minute in the microwave, and then add the sugar and extracts to the baker. Use a silicone spatula to mix.)
Add eggs; mix well. Don't overmix. Use a spatula, not a hand mixer, or your batter will have too much air in it. You want these brownies to be nice and fudgy!
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, mixing until well blended. (Again, don't overmix.)
If you are baking these conventionally, bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan, then cool completely in pan on wire rack. If you're using your Round Covered Baker, 4 minutes on high in the microwave and you'll have a delicious, fudgy, brownie base for your ice cream. (Sometimes there is a liquid layer on the bottom- this happens when you don't mix the eggs and the butter 100% thoroughly and it does NOT mean your brownies are underdone. Just that they are extra delicious!) These brownies will have a crumbly sugar crust on top if you bake them in the oven. If you prefer a tender top, substitute ½ cup canola oil for the butter.
These are the standard Hershey's brownieswith my own twist. You will want to eat the whole pan! Personally I love these as a base for ice cream sundaes.
Adapted from Hershey's Best Brownies