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.)
- ¼ cup unflavored protein powder
- ⅓ cup old fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
- 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar (Splenda works too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 dried, pitted dates
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup raw, slivered almonds
- In the bowl of your food processor, combine protein powder, oatmeal, cocoa powder, and sugar. Pulse to chop finely.
- Add vanilla, dates, oil, water, and salt. Process until mixture resembles very fine crumbs.
- Add almonds and process until the mixture forms a sticky dough ball. If your mixture seems too dry, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it forms a ball.
- Refrigerate dough until chilled- about 1 hour.
- Roll out dough to 1" thickness and cut into bars. Garnish with additional slivered almonds, if desired.
Layer bars between wax paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
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