I think I’ve mentioned before that I try to keep the freezer stocked with homemade muffins and granola bars. These are for John to grab on his way out the door for breakfast (thawed out over night of course). I like to mix it up occasionally and thought I would try making protein bars this time.
Eating these protein bars is like eating a no-bake cookie (you know that delicious blend of oats, peanut butter, chocolate, lots of sugar and butter?). But these guys have no butter, and no added sugar (besides the little bit of sugar in the protein powder) and they still taste delectable. Seriously. They would make a great Valentines day gift for your workout buddy, your pal who loves running, or the buff (?) man (or woman) in your life (or anyone really!)
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
3/4 c oats
4 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/2 c natural peanut butter
1-2 tbsps honey
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp flax seed
1/4 c raisins (optional)
Milk of choice- enough to make the mixture moist enough. I would start by with 1 tbsp, then add a little more if needed. You don’t want it to be wet, just moist enough so it all sticks together.
Melt peanut butter, then stir in honey.
Stir in oats, protein powder, cocoa powder, flax seed, and raisins.
Add enough milk so that everything sticks together.
Press into a 8×8 pan that is lined in wax paper. It may not fill the whole pan but that’s ok. I pressed waxed paper over tap to make them really smooth and to keep my hands clean.
Refrigerate for about an hour, then cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator (or freezer). Makes about 10. I wrapped mine in wax paper for storing.
Edit: I made these again substituting 1 c butternut squash cubes for one of the bananas and adding a tad more cocoa, instant coffee powder, and sugar. They didn’t taste so much like bananas after that. Get creative! I intend on substituting pure pumpkin puree for the bananas once fall gets just a little bit closer. And I’m thinking of trying sweet potatoes and carrots after that.
Don’t let the name scare you! These things are so delicious! Not to mention chock full of fiber and dare I say, healthy for you? Minus the sugar of course? Which for 12 brownies is pretty minimal. and they’re so easy to make too! Mmm…so moist and fudgey. I am going to be making these all the time.
Black Bean Brownies
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 bananas (or 3/4 c apple sauce or pureed pumpkin)
1/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c oat bran (or regular oats)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor except oat bran. Process until smooth. Add oat bran process a little bit more. If using regular oats you may want to process it a little bit longer. Pour into greased muffin pan or 8×8 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Enjoy! And relish in the fact that something so delicious could actually be at least a little bit good for you!
I saw these on one of my favorite blogs: The Avid Appetite and knew immediately that I had to try them. However, although I love sweets, I don’t like baking for just John and I. That would be a real problem for people like us who try to eat healthy. So when I girl in our Bible study asked someone to make a dessert, I seized the opportunity. These suckers were to die for! I love that salty and sweet mix, and the icing was so easy to make! Forget the fact that there is a ton of butter in these guys…it’s ok to indulge every once in awhile.
P.S. My picture isn’t very good…as this was the last brownie left. I decided to take a quick picture before I gobbled it down.
Brownies with a pretzel base and buttercream frosting
Recipe from: The Avid Appetite
4 cups pretzel
3/4 c unsalted butter
1/2 c sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degress F. Line 9 x 13 pan with aluminum foil then spray with cooking spray.
Pulse pretzels in food processor until roughly chopped. Mix together with melted butter and sugar. Press into 9 x 13 pan and bake for about 10 minutes
4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c butter
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
change oven temp to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter and chocolate in microwave until butter is melted. Then stir until all chocolate is melted as well. Mix in all other ingredients until blended well.
Pour and smooth brownie mixture onto pretzel crust. Bake for 35 minutes. Do not overbake because you want the brownies to still be fudgy! But not raw of course.
1/2 c butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
Beat the butter until fluffy (I used my stand mixture with the paddle attachment but you could also use a hand mixture. Gradually add sugar and keep beating, then add vanilla and milk.
Then spread over cooled brownies. Put a pretzel on top of each brownie if desired. It’s helpful as it lets guests know what is in your dessert!