Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Squares

I’m an emotional eater.

Still.

I’m working on it, but it’s not always easy.

For me, emotions and food mix just as good as oil and water.

Whenever I go through highly emotional times or circumstances, my stomach seems to lock up on me and completely forgets just how much it actually loves food.

It just tightens up in a knot and refuses to eat. Just like a pouting kid.

Mind you, I still prefer that to feeling an uncontrollable urge to eat everything within site, but still.

Not exactly what I’d call ideal when you are a food blogger AND are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not eating, or even skipping meals, is definitely NOT good for you.

Since I’ve been going through a roller coaster of emotions lately, it’s been kind of hard for me to keep my appetite in check. So I have to think of ways to stimulate my appetite and create meals and snacks that will trick my tummy into wanting to eat.

Now, if there’s one thing that my tummy will never say no to, it’s chocolate.

I mean, chocolate is the ultimate feel good food, is it not?

Add peanut butter to the equation and food suddenly regains a very decent amount of interest!

Since I too often tend to rely on commercially prepared protein bars, especially when my tummy goes into hunger strike mode, I figured I would take a shot at making my own.

I mean let’s face it, no matter how “good” they are, these commercially prepared things are way too sweet and contain way too many questionable ingredients. They’re a great life saver, but if you’re going to have them every day for a snack, I think you’re better off making some at home.

I have to say that I’m fairly happy with my first attempt. The bars hold together real great, their sweetness level is just right, at least it is for my taste. I love their somewhat dryish and crumbly texture. And that top chocolate layer? Oh yum. Tummy likes!

In fact, I don’t think that I’d change a thing tastewise.

However, I’d like for them to have way more protein. As they stand, you’re looking at roughly 175 calories per bar. Each of 24 bars contains approximately 8.5 grams of proteins for 13 grams of carbs and 20 grams of good healthy fat.

I’d like to swap the fat and protein contents, if at all possible. Or at least find a way to up the protein a bit.

So it’s back to the ol’ drawing board, I guess.

Not that I won’t be making these babies again, though. They’re good enough to be called dessert, if you ask me, but healthy enough to be enjoyed as a light morning or afternoon snack.

Or even late night, with a nice cup of green tea, why not?

And THAT is precisely what I would be doing right now. ;)

And you know what?

Grumpy tummy is enjoying it!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE ENERGY BARS

INGREDIENTS
(Yeld 24 bars)

Bottom layer

Middle layer

  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • ½ cup all natural peanut butter
  • 140g vanilla flavored protein powder

Top layer

  • ¼ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unpasteurized liquid honey
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted peanuts, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Bottom layer

  1. Add almonds and dates to the bowl of your food processor and process until the mixture turns into a sticky paste with tiny little chunks of almonds throughout.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined
  3. Press to the bottom of a 9 x 9 square pan lined with parchment paper

For the Middle layer

  1. Add coconut butter and peanut butter to your food processor (you might want to clean it first…) and process until smooth and creamy. Add protein powder and process until just incorporated.
  2. Press that mixture evenly on top of the chocolate/almond layer.

Top layer

  1. In a small mixing bowl, delicately whisk together cocoa powder, melted coconut oil and honey, until smooth and creamy
  2. Spread thinly on top of peanut butter layer
  3. Sprinkle chopped peanuts overtop
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cutting into bars

A neat trick to help cut your bars more cleanly is to use a serrated knife, run it under hot water and wipe it dry before each cut.

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Comments

    • says

      Make your own! It’s so easy… and a lot cheaper. Well, providing that you have a good food processor, that is. Just process a good quantity of unsweetened shredded coconut until it turns into butter. There’s nothing more to it! :)

  1. says

    Ahhh I’m totally digging these! My fav combo by far is pb and chocolate! I make some bars similar but I’m definitely giving yours a try pronto – nice work! Those photos, wow!
    I’m such an emotional eater too, that’s one if my biggest things I need to work on…especially now with way too much stress from moving, the store and the holidays…I need to make a point to really work on it!

    • says

      Really? You like the photos? To be honest, I was really disappointed with them… but then again, maybe it’s an “emotional thing” ;) Thanks for the compliment, though, it sure feels good to hear! And I totally hear you… you must be nothing but a bundle of nerves at this point. I just can’t believe that you still manage to post so regularly! And eat that good, too! Hats off to you, my dear. :)

      • says

        Oh no, it’s just the emotional thing, i love the photos…I wanted to dig into these bars right from the first look!
        I am trying to keep up the posts but some days it’s hard when I am stressed and emotional – I’ve been indulging way too much lately…I am blaming it on the holidays – what I should post is “what I ate today” instead of one recipe…I’ve gone overboard on junk and sweets, and my body isn’t liking it one bit…I think its time for more of your smoothies!!!!!!

      • says

        LOL, sometimes, “what I ate today”, we better keep to ourselves! ;) I’m not too proud of what I ate today (well, ok, I only had 2 measly little Christmas cookies AND 2 glasses of red wine, but still…) Tomorrow will be the real baddie for me, I think. It’ll be smoothies and salads for a full week after that!

  2. says

    Holy smokes…those look good!!! Recently a friend of a friend gave me some dark chocolate almond “thingies” and they had a splash of mint and I have to say I didn’t really like them too much but had to put on a good face. Now those..I might grab a couple extras when know one was looking. We’re all “emotional eaters”, that’s what makes us human. Problem is there is more food to consume and most of it is in bags and have “nuclear-like” shelf lives. Looking at those Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Squares is something to behold. Thank you Healthyyy, you made my day with those… :/)

    • says

      Erm… chocolate, almonds and MINT? I’m sorry, but no way! I wouldn’t even had put on that good face! ;) YUCK. That combination just sounds awful to me. And I really laughed out loud at your “nuclear-like” shelf life. I totally agree. I mean, what’s up with that? It’s just not normal. How can food keep for that long is beyond me. Every single time I have one of these bars, I think about this. Yet, I keep eating them. Well, maybe not for long, now that I can make some “decent” ones at home. Glad to have made your day… and thanks for the burst of laughter. :D

  3. says

    ok, these look good. like really good. quick question though: do you have a particular protein powder you like to use? i plan on making these asap :)

    • says

      I don’t have a particular one that I recommend, but I strongly advise that you try and find one that uses stevia as a sweetener. I recently started using Ergogenics New Zealand Whey and have to say that I am very happy with it. :)

  4. says

    These look amazing. You know I have a thing for peanut butter and chocolate. AMAZING. I stopped by here to see what was going on before heading out for some cardio…and these make me want to skip the cardio and make the bars! But I shall resist the urge…

    I’m thinking you could up the protein content by using some vanilla (or chocolate!) whey powder. I think that would work really well in the topping (maybe sub out some of the honey). They look amazing as is, but you could likely sneak a lot of whey in where you want! I can’t wait to try them.

    • says

      I’ve already got quite a lot of whey protein powder in there… but maybe I could add some to the bottom layer and reduce quantity of coconut to lower fat contents. I shall experiment!

      So super happy to know that you stop by here just to see what’s going on. I am truly flattered. Hope that I didn’t interfere with your workout, though, ‘cuz that would be bad. Work out first, have the bar after! ;)

  5. says

    Aw, I know exactly what you mean. I think everyone must be an emotional eater to a degree. I used to be awful for it but I’ve slowly been getting better and better now that I’ve realized it. That being said I’m already trying to prepare myself for having a newborn in the house in April. These look really awesome. I wonder if they store well in the freezer, have you tried? I’d love to have some of these on hand. They remind me of nanaimo bars with the three layers, but I honestly think chocolate and peanut butter is better than the traditional nanaimo bar :D

    • says

      I haven’t tried freezing them, seeing as how I just made those a few days ago and am still loving on them (in fact, I am having one as I type!). I have, however, put 2 in the freezer this morning, just for you! Hey, why ruin just one if it doesn’t work, you know! ;)

      I will take them out in a couple of days and let you know the results.

      To be honest, I’ve always been a huge fan of nanaimo bars, but I think that these bars are even better. Less sweet, better texture AND subtle peanut butter flavor. They’re that good! :) And I could see how convenient it would be to have a few (dozen) in the freezer with a newborn in the house. :D

      • says

        Well, Miss Heidi, the test has been conducted and you’ll be happy to know that the bars passed with flying colors. I took them out of the freezer yesterday and ate one today, it tasted just as good as they did the day I made them. I give their “freezability” factor a big 10 out of 10.

  6. says

    These are absolutely genius! I can’t believe all the healthy ingredients you have managed to include in what looks like an absolutely delicious dessert. I cannot wait to try!

    • says

      Thank you so much! I truly hope you like ‘em. I say if you didn’t know that they are made with healthy ingredients, there’s no way you could tell. They taste like a decadent little treat. Let me know how you like ‘em if you end up making them!

  7. says

    Hey Sonia, thanks for the coconut butter tip….I am definetely doing this…I have tons of unsweetened shreeded coconut :-) I was actually searching online for it..now I don’t :-)

  8. says

    What the HECK. I keep looking at the date, trying to figure out how I missed this. I’m so mad at myself!

    Anyway, I found this just now when I searched through recipes of yours that use dates. Look what I bought today! You’re going to be so proud. Coconut butter, coconut flour, and dates.

    But then I read what you said about making your own coconut butter above and I’m so confused. The stuff I bought translates to coconut fat, which I thought was coconut butter, and the internet translates it as coconut oil. But it doesn’t taste like coconut and it’s really hard. Harder than Crisco. And it was only 88 cents for 250 grams. It came in a paper wrapper, like a stick of butter does. I have no idea what I bought but after researching this issue for the last half hour, I know it’s not coconut butter! I read a German recipe for making homemade coconut butter using coconut flakes, so I’ll try that.

    I’ll just use some melted chocolate for the top to avoid the coconut oil problem so all I need is protein powder! I’ve always avoided it but I don’t know why. I’ve seen those 1kg containers of the stuff, but if I can’t find vanilla, is it best to just leave it out all together?

    And those pictures are amazing! Good job. :)

    • says

      Good girl, Erin! I can’t wait for you to try the coconut flour and tell me what you think! It’s my personal favorite food discoveries of all time. Well, one of my… ;)

      It sounds like what you got is coconut oil. Coconut oil becomes really solid, but you can melt it back to its oil form, or just soften it some, much like you would regular butter. Also, it doesn’t have much of a coconut taste to it, and if fairly light in colour.

      Coconut butter, on the other hand, is just plain coconut reduced to a spreadable mixture, much like regular nut butters. This, you can easily make at home by processing shredded coconut, unsweetened, of course. You need large quantities, but still, it’ll cost you a fraction of the price that it costs to get ready made coconut butter. It does become very firm and crumbly when at “standard” room temperature. However, it can be softened by popping it in the microwave for a few seconds, but really, just a few.

      Coconut oil IS what I used to create the top layer. Just melt you solid block and mix the oil with the cocoa powder and honey. You should be fine!

      The protein powder I wouldn’t leave out. You can buy plain, if you can’t find vanilla, and maybe add vanilla and a tad more sweetener… or not! ;)

      Still, here goes… Lastly, thank you so much for your kind comment on my pictures. I’m always flattered. :)

      There… my original reply was much more fun. This one sounds so… boring. Sorry about that. :( And now, to hit reply and NOT backspace…

  9. says

    Wow, thanks for the lengthy reply. :)

    And woohoo! All I need to find is protein powder and coconut flakes, which I can get everywhere.

    You should have heard my husband when we were in the store looking for this stuff. “12 EUROS per KILO?! What do you need this stuff for?! It’s flour. Whole spelt is 89 cents a kilo. What is this?! Whaaaaat?” But I assured him I would create something yummy with it. :)

    That reply wasn’t boring at all. It was very thorough and informative. I’ll let you know as soon as I make them, which hopefully be in the next week or so. Thanks for the reply!

    • says

      Oh geeze… somehow, my replies got all mixed up. I had lost the first one, made a second one… and now I sound like I’m some sort of weirdo. Anyway, guess you got what I was talking about, that’s what really counts! ;)

      And I hope your husband finds that the flour really is worth the price. Make sure you make something REAL yummy! ;)

  10. says

    Weirdo? No. Only one sentence was repeated. :)

    What is your favorite recipe with coconut flour? But one that doesn’t use a gigantic amount. I have to ration the stuff! I’m definitely making these but I’d like a backup for the weekend in case I can’t find the protein powder.

    • says

      Yeah… I fixed that. I don’t know what’s with me and comments lately. I had commented on your gorgeous chocolate cupcake post, and somehow, my comment is now gone. I must’ve hit backspace again. ;)

      The first recipe that you want to make using coconut flour is THIS ONE If you don’t fall head over heels, then I guess you’ll have to tell your husband that he might have been right. And you don’t want that, do you? So you better LIKE THEM, alright? ;) Seriously, that’s what got me completely, totally hooked on coconut flour, regardless of how expensive it is. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

  11. says

    I didn’t ever see your comment so I guess you were just having a backspace issue. :(

    Haha, yeah. I spend a lot of time trying to prove him wrong! You know me so well. I will like them but he will be the challenge. We’ll see how it goes on Saturday morning! I can’t wait to try them.

    • says

      Yeah, I thought so. Guess I’ll have to go and re-leave that comment. Darn, I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it was definitely a fun one. I hate when that happens! :(

      Can’t wait to get your feedback on the pancakes! :)

  12. Katie says

    PB2 might be the solution. Its powdered peanut butter, and comes in chocolate too. Good way to get the PB taste without all the fat and calories. Theyre sold at health food stores, and online too. Not too good just mixed with water as a PB substitute straight, but mixed into other stuff—yum!

  13. Brandi says

    Hi Sonia! I just finished making these and wow they were great!! (i sampled each layer as I assembled it!) my husbands favorite combo is chocolate and pb so he was so excited when I said that is what I was making! It tastes like a dessert! I had a little trouble making the homemade coconut butter so I had to add a little extra peanut butter to get to to all stick together (darn ;) )! I can’t wait until they are done setting up. I think I will have to put some in the freezer asap to make them last for the weekend for after workouts and not just for a yummy snack! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • says

      Alright! Thanks for that super awesome feedback Brandi. Glad you and your hubby liked. They DO taste like dessert don’t they? Funny, I just had one today, as I tested their “freezability” factor and had put a few in the freezer just to see how they would hold up to being frozen and thawed, and they tasted just as good as fresh.

      Now I want to make more… maybe I should come up with a new flavor! ;)

      Again, thanks for taking the time to share your experience and appreciation. This means a lot to me. :D

  14. GeoLin says

    These look amazing and I want to make them. I have wheat, egg and dairy allergies so this recipe is perfect! What type of protein powder do you use? I’ve been trying to find one that works around my allergies (and that tastes good) but am having a hard time. Any suggestions? Your pictures are great!

    • says

      I currently use Ergogenics’ and I’m super happy with it. It dissolves great and tastes extremely good. Plus, the vanilla flavored version is not too sweet, wich is a big plus for me. It’s a tad pricey, but it’s my favorite so far! It is whey, however, so not sure it would work for you, since you’re allergic to dairy… :(

  15. says

    Try replacing the peanut butter with a mix of defatted peanut flour (available through golden peanut online) and water or anothe acceptable liquid or fat. The peanut flour is unsweetened and works really well in recipes that call for peanut butter that also contain another source of sweetener.

  16. SarahD says

    i came across this recipe on pinterest about a month ago and bookmarked it. i hope to make these this weekend.

    i just have a question about the dates…i don’t particularly like them. are they necessary to have in the bottom layer and what can be used as an alternate?

    • says

      Well, the thing is, you can’t really taste the dates, per se. They do act as a sweetener, as well as a binding agent, so it would be kind of hard to replace them, unless you went with another kind of dried fruit that is really sticky and sweet… figs could work, but you’d get that grainy texture from the seeds. Raisins, apricots, or prunes would be another possibility, but you would probably taste them some. Or maybe you could mix a few different kinds?

      Hope this helps, and if you do try the bars, I’d be super happy if you let me know how they turned out for you!

  17. Aubrey says

    made these yesterday :) mmmm so good! i found a great way to up the protein:
    1 can of garbanzo/chickpeas, drained and rinsed, blended in with the peanut butter and coconut oil. can’t even taste it, but adds a protein punch.. i guess you could call the filling peanut butter hummus :)

    • says

      Peanut butter hummus. I LOVE the sound of that! It could probably be made into a glorious sweet dip for fruits and such… I have to work on that idea. Thank you so much for the inspiration! :D

      And I’m real happy that you tried and liked the bars. Thank you so much for your great feedback AND ideas! You ROCK! :D

  18. Christina says

    These look amazing! Just wondering if you have the nutritional info for them? I count a lot of my intake to keep track and I would hate to pass these up.

    Thank you!

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