I am a sucker for bars. By that I mean snack/protein/granola bars (I like the other kind of bar, too, don’t get me wrong!). I prefer chewy protein bars, but will try just about anything. I have spent years trying every snack bar on the market, looking for the perfect combination of taste, texture, protein, fiber, calories, ingredients and staying power. It’s hard work! I’ve found a few I like, but each one leaves something to be desired (a little more protein, fewer processed ingredients, etc…). I love the portability and ease of bars, but not always the end product. It only took me about ten years to realize I could possibly make my own!
I am just starting the process of pouring over the hundreds and hundreds of recipes for protein and granola bars I’ve found. I have a few criteria that I’m trying to follow: the bar has to be chewy (I’m not a fan of crunchy or crumbly bars), portable, easy to make and have a nice balance of protein, calories, good fat and fiber. There are some awesome recipes for seedy, crunchy bars, but they remind me more of a cracker and I really want a bar. I also love the idea of raw bars, reminiscent of Larabars, but they don’t have enough staying power for me personally. They taste great, but the high natural sugar content and low protein leave me on a glycemic high sometimes.
I recently found a recipe at Running With Spoons that seemed it might fit the bill. I tweaked the recipe slightly to add some seeds and nuts for more nutrient density, and played with the amount of sweetener. The end result? Winner winner and the perfect chewy protein bar!
These bars came out moist and chewy and beautiful. They are really simple to put together, and cook in no time. The dough itself tastes like glorified chocolate chip cookie dough, so how can you go wrong? You can play around with the add in’s and replace the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with any nut and seed you wish (sesame seeds or sliced almonds would be awesome). Use any dried fruit in place of the gogi berries if you don’t have those on hand.
Let me know if you try them, and please pass on any protein or granola bar recipes you love!
My Favorite Chewy Protein Bar Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats use gluten free if you want the recipe to be gluten free
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips can use regular but the mini ones distribute nicely in the bars
- 1/3 cup gogi berries
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup vanilla or plain protein powder I used Usana Nutrimeal Free
- 1/4 cup almond butter or any nut butter
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey for a little more sweetness
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Combine wet ingredients thoroughly in a separate bowl. Pour the wet mixture into your dry mixture and combine until everything is evenly distributed.
- Pour into a 8x8 pan that you have sprayed with cooking spray or prepared with coconut oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes (until edges are a light golden brown). Cool thoroughly and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days, or in the freezer for 1-3 months.
- Note: I use the coconut oil in the recipe as a binder to keep the bars together. Coconut oil melts in the heat, so I keep the bars in the fridge just to make sure they don't fall apart. If you like to keep your bars on the counter and live in a hot climate, you might want to just leave the coconut oil out.