Protein Bars

Goodness, this first week back at school was exhausting! There’s several things I’ve been meaning to tell you about all week, but every evening when I get home and sit down at my computer there just aren’t any coherent words in my head. I think I need to reinstitute nap time. However, the payoff of having such an exhausting week is that I have Friday off. So to celebrate my return to being a well-rested, functional human being, let me tell you about the protein bars I’ve been noshing on all week.

Cut Bar

John and I have been looking for a snack to bring to school. Our criterion are: it needs to be something that we can just grab on our way out the door in the morning; it needs to taste good (duh); and it needs to be filling enough to keep us going if we’ve forgotten to bring lunch, since that happens a lot. Conveniently, just as were were trying to come up with something that fit all three requirements, Alton Brown did a show on snack bars. We decided to start by trying out his protein bars, and I am glad to say they were a big success!

Uncooked Bars

This is another recipe that supports the fact that anything homemade is better than its store-bought version. I generally dislike protein bars. My main complaint is that you’re paying a lot of money to eat something that is incredibly dry and doesn’t usually taste all that good. But these aren’t like that at all. First of all, they are super moist. And they also taste really good, sort of like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in bar form. But at the same time, they taste just healthy enough that you can feel virtuous eating them.

Chopping dried fruit

After we cut ours, we wrapped them individually in plastic and put them all in a big bag in the freezer. They freeze really well, so I think we’ll probably start making a batch every couple of weeks with a few variations on the dried fruits to keep them interesting. They’re fairly inexpensive to make. I didn’t do the math but one of the reviews said they were about $.60/bar, which sounds about right. Also, I’ve included the nutritional info after the recipe, and they’re fairly good for you. Plus, they’re filling enough to get me through the day. I think these may be the perfect school-day snack.

Protein Bars

Alton Brown

Time: About one hour, 25 minutes active time

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Ingredients

4 ounces soy protein powder, approximately 1 cup
2 1/4 ounces oat bran, approximately 1/2 cup
2 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1/2 cup
3/4-ounce wheat germ, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces raisins, approximately 1/2 cup
2 1/2 ounces dried cherries, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces dried blueberries, approximately 1/2 cup
2 1/2 ounces dried apricots, approximately 1/2 cup
1 (12.3-ounce) package soft silken tofu
1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/2 cup packed
2 large whole eggs, beaten
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
Canola oil, for pan

Preparation

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat with canola oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oat bran, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside.

Coarsely chop the raisins, dried cherries, blueberries and apricots and place in a small bowl and set aside.

In a third mixing bowl, whisk the tofu until smooth. Add the apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition. Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutrition Info (based on 24 bars)

154 Calories
21g carbohydrates
8.4g protein
4.8g fat
2.14g fiber
92mg sodium
17.7mg cholesterol

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4 Comments »

  1. michelle said

    I saw that episode two, but have shied away from making the bars because of my strong distrust of the whole protein bar genre of foods. Thanks for the pics and review!

  2. Karina said

    I know, protein bars are usually so gross! I’m actually really satisfied with these, however. Although I think I’m going to have to try the other recipes from that show, just to spice things up a little. The recipe for “healthy” rice crispy treats is calling my name!

  3. Forrest said

    The rice crispy treat recipe sounds really good…Thanks for writing back. I am planning to make the protien bars over the weekend with my “spare” time. They sound really good! Do you know of any good vegetarian recipes?

  4. Karina said

    Forrest: I hope you have fun making the protein bars. I’m glad to hear you’re getting into cooking, maybe you can convince Ana to do the same. What kind of vegetarian recipes are you looking for? I’d be happy to email you a few. Have a good weekend!

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