These protein bars were inspired by two bars: by Snickers candy bars and by the Crunchy Caramel & Dark Chocolate protein bars that feature on page 158 of the new Protein Pow Cookbook. I made these bars because YOU chose them, over on facebook, when we played our latest game of Pick the Next Recipe (click here for evidence). And I gotta say… thank you!
Thank you for choosing these bars because, seriously, I wouldn’t have attempted to make them had you not chosen them first.
Please make these bars. If you’re anything like me, they WILL leave you speechless. Seriously, you’ll look like this guy below. Or this girl to the right….
The ‘caramel’ layer I made for them is thigh-slappingly* delicious and I hope you try it. It involves only one ingredient and that ingredient comes straight from Mother Nature. That ingredient is: the mighly medjool date! ‘Caramel’ just can’t get any healthier than THAT. And the filling, oh… the filling, ah! *sigh*
I really have nothing else I can say by way of an intro at this time, except that you MUST make these. I mean, guys! A healthy twist on Snickers bars! A bar that tastes of candy but is full of goodness instead! If my words don’t manage to sell the idea to you, let me try to convince you by way of photos, ingredients, directions, and macros.
As always, remember to read the notes (or in this case, the note) below – and click on the pics if you want a close-up of the bars!
1/2 cup of whey protein powder (see my note below for flavors, subs, and other comments)
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1 tbsp of coconut flour
1/4 cup of almond or cartoned coconut milk
Ingredients for the ‘Caramel’ Layer
3-4 pitted medjool dates (I say 3-4 because it depends on how big they are; you basically want about 65 grams’ worth of dates)
1 tsp caramel extract (this is optional but loooovely)
4 squares (40g) of dark chocolate (use anything fro 70 to 85%)
2 tbsp chopped nuts
1. First, make your protein bar filling by mixing together all the filling ingredients until you get a dough that you can shape with your hands. Divide this dough into four or six balls (depending on how big you want your bars) and shape each ball into a bar. Remember to ‘bang’ the bars against a hard surface when you’re shaping them so they’re properly rectangular.
2. Once your bars are made, move on to make your caramel layer by just blitzing your fat medjool dates in a food processor +/- the caramel extract. Be aware that you HAVE to use medjool dates, not regular dates, because medjools are really beefy, in a way that regular dates aren’t. If you’d like to get a smoother caramel layer, feel free to add a teaspoon of coconut oil to the mix when you’re blitzing the dates.
3. Layer your bars by adding your ‘caramel’ – or ‘date paste, rather – to each one of your bars along with the chopped nuts. You can use chopped peanuts, chopped macamamia nuts, chopped cashews, chopped almonds or a combination of any (or all) of the above. It’s up to what kind of nut you like best.
4. Melt your chocolate in a bain marie (a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water) and coat your bars using the Chocolate Bed method outlined in the protein bar ebook – you basically just make a bed of melted chocolate on either a baking tray or some alumnimum foil, you add the bars on top, and you finish them off by pouring more melted chocolate on the top and the sides of the bars.
5. Finally, transfer them to the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) and… KAPOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They’re ready.
Macros per bar (out of six small ones, each weighing 48.5g or 1.7oz): 193kcals, 12g protein, 14g carbs (out of which 2g is fiber so net carbs: 12g) and 11g fat.
Note: You can use unflavored whey protein powder to make these bars or you can use vanilla or coconut-flavored whey (if you want more Bounty-Bar-Style protein bars). You can use concentrate or isolate whey protein powder though the former tends to be a bit more milky in flavor so I’d say go for concentrate if you have the choice. You CAN also use casein protein powder BUT, if you do, you’ll have to adapt the rest of your ingredients to account for the fact that casein absorbs a lot more liquid than whey. I’d say, if you want to use casein, just ditch the coconut flour and work your mix until you get to the right consistency. In other words, ‘play it by eye.’
PS: If you’d like to make your bars lower in carbs, consider using a sugar-free dark chocolate or an ultra-dark one like 90-100%. You can also ‘kill’ the caramel layer – that’ll bring down the carbs considerably (though, of course, you won’t end up with the caramel layer so… weigh your options carefully).
*Please forgive my usage of ‘thigh-slappingly’ which I know straddles the border between The Cheesiest and The Cringeworthy. I could just not find any other way to describe this ‘caramel’!