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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Protein Bars

Protein bars are huge business!  These bars come in at a similar caloric value as a chocolate bar but they are considerably higher in protein.  For example, a Snicker's chocolate bar has 250 calories, 33 g carb and 5 g protein but a Pure Protein chocolate deluxe has only 180 calories, 17 g carb and 21 g protein plus it has Vitamin A that the Snicker's bar doesn't have as well as a higher calcium and iron content.  In short, the Pure Protein bar is a better nutritional value for your food dollar especially since it is only 8¢ more than the Snicker's bar.  The advantage of protein bars aside of their nutritional value is their portability.  Pop one in your purse as a healthy substitute for a chocolate bar.  The downside to protein bars is the long list of ingredients, some of which we try to avoid.  Be sure to read the label if you decide to buy protein bars!

I decided to experiment making my own protein bars.  Homemade protein bars are a practical solution to the ingredient issue.  They are tastier and lower cost.  Trust me, after sampling several brands of mass produced protein bars, taste and texture is not exactly a high priority!  Not only that, homemade protein bars are incredibly simple to make.  Homemade protein bars consist of a base, protein powder, binder and flavour.  They can be baked or no bake.  They are easily modified as desired for you own unique flavour combination.

pressing the protein bar mixture into a block
My first attempt at making protein bars was using whey protein powder.  Whey protein is often used in mass produced protein bars.  Homemade protein bars using whey tend to be sticky even after sitting for a period of time.  I wasn't concerned over this as the bars were intended for after my morning exercise routine.  I had three goals in mind when I started: lower carb, high protein and low calorie so chose the ingredients on that basis.  These bars came in at 98 calories with 12 g carb and 5 g protein, far from ideal or even close to mass produced but it was a start!  The texture was very much like some of the mass produced protein bars so I'll be working on that as well.

I simply mixed the ingredients then formed the no bake chocolate protein bar mixture into a block on a sheet of parchment paper.  It definitely was sticky but workable.  I covered the block with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for an hour to firm up.

cutting the chilled protein bar mixture
Once the block had firmed for an hour, I cut the block into 10 equal sized pieces.  Originally I was going to cut into 5 bars but they would have been too large.   A longer rectangle and cut into 8 slightly larger bars would have worked as well.   They could also be cut into smaller bars suitable for children if desired.

I covered the   cut bars and returned them to the refrigerator to continue setting up overnight.  Some using whey protein powder put their bars into the freezer to set up.  Mine set up well in the refrigerator but they still had a bit of stickiness to them. 

drizzling melted chocolate over the protein bars
Chocolate is likely the most popular flavour for mass produced protein bars.  Chocolate and peanut butter is a common combination for mass produced protein bars.  I used cocoa and chocolate flavoured protein powder so kept the chocolate topping to a minimum as an accent flavour.  A lot of mass produced protein bars are coated in chocolate similar to a chocolate bar but that really adds to the carb content.  I melted two squares of Lindt 85% cocoa chocolate then simply drizzled over the cut bars using a spoon and slight sideways movement.  Reducing the topping reduced both the calories and carbs of the finished bars.

chocolate protein bars ready to enjoy
The warm chocolate drizzle quickly firmed on the cold bars.  I removed them from the parchment paper and placed in a storage container for the refrigerator.  Overall, I am pleased with my first attempt.  I plan to decrease the carbs and increase the protein in the next batch.  I also want to tinker with the texture, making it a bit creamier closer to a nougat texture.  I suspect that the caloric value will increase a bit with the modifications but

Each of the ingredients in my protein bars were chosen for a specific purpose.  With the exception of the Truvia, all of the ingredients added protein.  I used Truvia specifically for the natural sweetness of stevia without the calories of sugar.  I'm still sitting on the fence with stevia so may experiment using honey or molasses instead.  I used organic peanut butter because it does not have salt or sugar added. 

No Bake Chocolate Protein Bars
recipe by:  Garden Gnome

1 (42 g) scoop Pure Protein 100% Whey, Frosty Chocolate
1 tbsp Truvia baking mix
2 squares (20 g) Lindt 85% Cocoa chocolate
1 tbsp organic peanut butter
1 tbsp Fry's cocoa
1 tbsp chopped peanuts
 ½ c almond milk
1 tbsp coconut flour
1½ c rolled oats, quick cooking

Mix all ingredients together except for Lindt chocolate.  Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper.  Form into a rectangular block.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for an hour.  Cut into bars.  Cover and return to refrigerator over night.  Place the chocolate squares in a small bowl.  Place the bowl in anther bowl of very hot water to melt the chocolate without getting water into it.  Carefully drizzle the chocolate over the separated bars.  Place the bars in a storage container.  Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 10 bars

Nutritional value per bar: 98 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 5 g protein, 31 mg sodium, 3 g fibre

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