Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

I recently went away on vacation and knew that there would be many occasions, while traveling, where I wouldn’t be able to get proper food or enough protein in my body… I figured I could easily fix that problem by packing protein bars in my bags, but alas, I wasn’t able to find anything decent locally. All were filled with tons or artificial junk, not to mention grains and sweeteners, and I wanted none of that. Surely I wasn’t going to replace crap with more crap…

There was but one thing left to do for this foodie: start experimenting with Homemade Protein Bars. I figured I would start with a classic flavor combination: Toasted Almond and Chocolate. Hey, you can’t go wrong with that, can you?

I have to say that I am extremely happy with this first attempt, and I can already tell that there will be many more to come… These protein bars turned out just the way I like them: dense, chewy and sticky, with just what it takes of crunch and sweetness. Since I wanted these bars to be an actual meal replacement, I made them quite big and substantial, and packed a great deal of protein, fat as well as a fair amount of carbs in every single one of them. They sure will keep your tummy full and satisfied for a long while!

Of course, you could make yours smaller if that better suited your needs…

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Before you do anything, start by greasing a standard loaf pan with coconut oil and then line it with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang on either side. This simple precaution will allow for easy unmolding later.

Now put the almond butter, coconut butter, date paste and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Equip the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until well incorporated. Note that the mixture might look like it’s kind of separated at this point, but don’t worry about it, we’re going to make it come together.

Add some hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and mix until the water is well incorporated between each addition. Continue adding water until the mixture comes together and becomes sticky and smooth, which should require a total of about 6 to 8 tablespoons of water.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

At this point, you want to add your whey protein and cacao powder and beat on low speed (really, go with the lowest possible setting, unless your idea of fun is to send protein powder and cacao flying all over your kitchen) until the mixture becomes crumbly and has the texture of coarse gravel.

Stop to scrape the bowl a few times during this process to make sure you get every last bit incorporated.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

We’re getting there, but the mixture is now way too crumbly and will never stick together to form bars, so once again, we’re going to add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until the water is well incorporated between each addition. Keep adding water until the mixture comes together once more and becomes real thick and sticky. You shouldn’t need more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of water this time.

Be careful not to add too much water, too, otherwise the final product will be way too soft; Add just enough for the mixture to turn into this very thick, sticky dough.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Transfer this batter to your prepared pan and then, using your fingers, spread the dough as evenly as you can all the way to the edge of the pan; smooth the top as best as you can by pressing down on it with a flat spatula.

Cover loosely with plastic film and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Once your bars to be are completely chilled, remove them from the pan by pulling gently on the parchment paper, then cut this massive block of protein crosswise into 8 even bars.

Flip the bars to their side and place them side by side on a piece of parchment paper, leaving no more than ¼” between each bar.

Like I said earlier, these bars are quite big and will unquestionably replace a full meal. If you wanted smaller, snack-kinda bars, you could cut them in half again crosswise at this point, so you’d end up with a total of 16 bars instead.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Now sprinkle the toasted almonds on top of the bars and delicately but firmly press them down into the bars with your fingertips.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Place the cacao paste, coconut oil and honey in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, until just melted, then mix until smooth with a flat whisk.

Do not leave the chocolate in the microwave for too long, as you don’t want it to get too hot or even worse, burn on you. You only want it to get warm enough so it will melt.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Spoon that melted chocolate over the bars.

No need to get real fancy about it, let it drip along the sides, it’ll only make the bars look that much yummier!

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes over the bars. Return to fridge until fully set, about an hour.

Oh, and here’s a tip for ya: for easier transportation, slide the bars onto the backside of a jelly-roll pan by pulling one end of the parchment paper.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Once the bars are fully chilled, wrap them individually in plastic film and keep them refrigerated.

These will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but can be frozen for up to several months.

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

I find that these protein bars are at their best when eaten straight out of the fridge, as their texture is firmer and stickier when they are cold. They’re still pretty yummy at room temperature, but they are a bit on the soft side…

If you have to take them out of the fridge several hours before eating them, especially if you’re gonna be carrying them in your purse, I strongly recommend storing them in a rigid container, so they maintain their shape and don’t melt on you. Melted chocolate tends to make a big mess in one’s purse!

Another trick if you are going to take your bar with you somewhere and keep it out of the fridge for a while before eating it is to keep it frozen and then throw it in your bag just before you leave; chances are, by the time you’re ready to eat it, it will have thawed to the perfect temperature and consistency.

And then you’ll find yourself in protein bar heaven!

Toasted Almond and Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars
 
Serves: Yields 8 bars
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and then line it with parchment paper leaving a bit of an overhang on either side for easy unmolding.
  2. Put the almond butter, coconut butter, date paste and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Equip the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time and mix until the water is well incorporated between each addition. Continue adding water until the mixture comes together and becomes sticky and homogeneous, which should require a total of about 6 to 8 tablespoons of water.
  3. Add whey protein and cacao powder and beat on low speed until the mixture becomes crumbly and has the texture of coarse gravel. Stop and scrape the bowl a few times to make sure you get every last bit incorporated in there.
  4. Again, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the water is well incorporated between each addition, until the mixture comes together once more and becomes real thick and sticky. You shouldn’t need more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of water.
  5. Transfer this mixture to the prepared pan; with your fingers, spread as evenly as you can all the way to the edge of the pan and then smooth the top by pressing down on it with a flat spatula.
  6. Cover loosely with plastic film and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
  7. Once completely chilled, remove from the pan and cut crosswise into 8 even bars. Flip those bars on their side and place them side by side on a piece of parchment paper, leaving no more than ¼” between each bar. If you want smaller bars, you can cut them in half crosswise again, so you’ll get a total of 16 bars.
  8. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top and press them down into the bars with your fingers.
  9. Place the cacao paste, coconut oil and honey for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave, until just melted. Mix until smooth with a flat whisk.
  10. Spoon that melted chocolate over the bars, sprinkle with toasted coconut and return to fridge until fully set, about an hour.
  11. Wrap each bar individually; keep refrigerated for up to a week or freeze for up to a few months.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: NF based on 1 of 8 bars

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com

Almond Chocolate Homemade Protein Bars | thehealthyfoodie.com