The other day, I went to a friend’s birthday party and decided, along with her present, to give her some chocolate protein bars. She’s vegan, you see, and she’s always talking about how there’s no vegan protein bars out there that taste like ‘real food.’ She says they all have a weird aftertaste and stick to her teeth! So I figured to make her some really nice brownie-life protein POW bars! She loves brownies and all things chocolate so I went with pea protein and lots of cocoa. I added some freeze-fried berries on top too. Have you ever had those? They’re basically just berries, dehydrated until they become completely dry. And crrrrrrrunchy.
It’s funny, you know, as soon as you put them in your mouth, say, if you just open your mouth and leave them there (without chewing), they start coming alive! Animating in your mouth, gaining their body back. Absorbing moisture and growing. Kind of like those dinosaurs you hatch in a glass of water? You probably think I’m nuts if you’ve never heard of those or seen them so let me share a link with you (they’re really fun, hehe!)
Anyways, dehydrated berries are awesome to add on top (or inside) protein bars because they pack all the nutrients than fresh berries do but because they have none of the water, all they add is flavor.
The first time I tried freeze-dried berries was years ago actually! In a clothes store in Brighton. The store sold all kinds of futuristic neon clothing and, in the middle of the room, they had a table full of ‘space food.’ Being ever curious about the idea, I bought a bag and then realized, hey-ho! These are just berries!
In the last few years, freeze-dried fruit has popped up all over the place – gone from weird novelty to a healthy snack. Nowadays, you can find freeze-dried fruit in most supermarkets and health food shops. Get a bag if you see freeze-dried berries, or bananas even, near you.
They’re awesome on top of bar, chocolates, and on top of breakfast cereal or yog! The only downside is they’re pretty expensive. But as a one-off thing, they’re cool to experience. Kids find them fascinating too! They have such an unusual texture and the whoel process of eating them – going from completely dry to wet in your mouth, well, that’s pretty fun.
Back to these bars though. I made the filling using just five ingredients. Here’s the recipe for two small bars which you can, if you want, also roll into truffles:
1/8 cup pea protein (I used our plain Canadian pea one, see note below for subs)
1/2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or your sweetener of choice)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsps almond milk (or your nut milk of choice)
30g dark chocolate
1 tsp freeze-dried strawberries
2 tsp peanuts
First, make your filling by simply combining all the filing ingredients together in a bowl until you get a smooth batter that you can shape with your hands into two rectangles (or balls). Taste the batter to ensure that it’s sweet enough for you and, if it isn’t, add more of the sweetener. Then, melt your chocolate and add a layer of peanuts +/- some freeze-dried berries on top!
On top of that, I added a layer of peanuts and then some 90% dark chocolate (my friend likes dark stuff) and freeze dried berries! The result was these cute little bars which, I’m pleased to say, my friend absolutely loves so wooopa! Let me know your thoughts if you try them too! They’re a nice little bite of chocolatey protein karaka… POW!
If you don’t have any pea protein and/or if you want to use whey, you can! Just don’t sub the pea 1:1 for whey because you won’t end up with bars if you do! What you need to do is sub 1/2 of the pea protein I used (so, I tbsp) for whey and the other tbsp for ground almonds or coconut flour! That way you’ll end up with a similar texture and, above all, bars :-)