I don’t know about you guys but I can’t stand it when I find out things I’ve loved and thought were healthy are actually full of basura (aka trash).
There used to be this one brand of protein bar that I loved when I was in my preteen years and I ate them all the time. Seriously, they were so good. I’m talking creamy peanut buttery filling coated in a thick layer of chocolate. My sister and I would have lived on them if we had been allowed.
She and I were having a flavor flashback the other day (don’t you love those?) to our fave childhood foods and she said that I had to come up with a copycat version of these bars. I wanted to find out if there were any ingredients that I needed to try recreating them so I looked them up via the oh so helpful internet. Come to find out, the #1 ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and closely following was soy protein isolate (not a fan)! What!!! Yeah, you probably already know this, but that applies to most of your mainstream brands of energy bars that populate the fitness food aisles these days. Those sneaky marketers try to hide the truth behind pretty packaging and words like ‘refuel’ and ‘power’ but for anyone who cares to find out the truth, read the labels.
With so many unhealthy options floating around the grocery stores it’s so easy to just say “forget it” and give in to all the lies, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. Okay, so I’m definitely no expert and I have no right to claim being a healthy role model when it comes to food. I mean, have you seen the shenanigans that go down around here? My thing is that I don’t like being lied to by my food. If I’m eating something or using ingredients that claim to be healthy, they sure as billy better be. This way of thinking is so illogical, I know, but I think you can at least agree with me on the fact that making things from scratch at home is always the better option.
So by “no powder” I mean no soy protein isolate, and there’s obviously no corn syrup in these either. The protein in these is coming partly from the peanuts of course, but to replace the protein powder that you’ll find called for in almost every recipe like this, I used a mixture of cooked grains and lentils. It’s super easy and it only requires a little time to cook them together, but the combination makes these bars really filling. Not to mention that grains and rice are like way cheaper than buying protein powder (that stuff is such a rip), so plus 1 for your budget!
Before you make these, just keep in mind that when you’re making your protein grain/lentil base it likes to pop when it gets thick so please be careful and don’t let the heat get too high. I may or may not have a burn or 2 to show from take 1 of this recipe. Slow and steady wins this race my speedy little hares. Don’t let that scare you off though, these are so worth the effort.
Also, these are a bit soft at room temp, so I like to store them in the fridge or even the freezer and that also helps them last longer for easy snackage!
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup uncooked lentils
- 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup old steel-cut (rolled will work too)
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup (turbinado) sugar in the raw
- 1/2 cup dried figs or dates
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2/3 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, palm syrup, or agave (honey works also)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine lentils, rice, and oats with water in a medium saucepan with lid. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. (Be careful of it popping while cooking, it burns [ask me how I know this]) Add more water during cooking if needed.
- Once completely softened, cool for about 15 minutes. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan with oil and set aside. Pour mixture into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
- Add all remaining ingredients for bars except oat flour and blend until well combined. Add flour and pulse a few times until mixed, you should have a thick dough now. Press mixture into prepared pan and place in freezer for at least 1 hour or until frozen solid. Remove pan from freezer and cut into desired size bars.
- Combine coconut oil, syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Add cocoa and vanilla and stir until smooth and remove from heat.
- Dip bars in coating and place on a parchment lined tray about 1 inch apart to dry. Place tray in freezer for about 15 minutes until coating is solid. These bars are very soft at room temperature so they are best stored in the refrigerator and served cold. They should keep for up to 2 weeks in fridge or you can freeze them if you want to store longer.