Upscale Protein Bars

Fin-a-lly, got around to making two recipes that have been torn out of a magazine papers for months.  In scanning through the ingredient lists I notice that I had most of what was needed and what I didn’t have, what the heck, we’ll wing it.
Making your own protein bars not only makes them more appealing but you can customize to your tastes and health standards.
First things first, credit where it is due…….the original Upscale GORP Bars.
I made changes, as I mentioned on account I didn’t have some of the ingredients.

1½ cups (375 mL) whole roasted almonds
I made a double batch the second 1 1/2 cup was salted peanuts
¾ cup (175 mL) chopped cashews
½ cup (125 mL) organic puffed rice cereal
¾ cup (175 mL) dried cranberries
¼ cup (60 mL) unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup (60 mL) dark chocolate chips
omitted salt due to salted peanuts used
½ cup (125 mL) agave
¼ cup (60 mL) honey
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Fully line a 9 inch (23 cm) square pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine almonds, cashews, quinoa, cranberries, coconut, chocolate chips and salt in a heatproof bowl and stir to combine.

3. Combine agave and honey in a small pot over medium heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 260°F (127°C). (I don’t have one and guess-timated) Immediately scrape syrup into nut mixture and stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Place pan in the oven for 10 minutes, then stir again to ensure that all ingredients are evenly coated in syrup. Let cool slightly, then use your fingers to pack nut mixture into an even layer.

bar2

4. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool until just slightly warm. Use parchment paper to pull solid bar out of pan, and cut into bars. Let cool fully, then wrap individual bars and store in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

*I find these extremely sweet.  The next round I will omit agave and use only 1/2 honey.  I did make a double batch.  Storing them:  cut and each bar individually wrapped in parchment paper – their sticky and I wanted them in a grab and go style.  Placed in an air tight container they will be stored in the freezer.
As well, you can find the original recipe here in Food & Drink for the second recipe, Packed With Protien Bars.
½ cup (125 mL) honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil
¾ cup (175 mL) mish mash of almond butter, sunflower seed butter and peanut butter -all organic
¼ cup (60 mL) ground almonds
¼ cup (60 mL) Chocolate NUTIRMEAL
¼ tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
1½ cups organic puffed rice cereal
⅔ cup (150 mL) dark chocolate chips, melted
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped cashews

1. Line a 9-inch (23-cm) square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Place honey in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 30 seconds then remove from heat. Add coconut oil and nut butter and stir until combined.

3. Scrape nut butter mixture into a bowl, add ground almonds, protein powder and salt, and stir until incorporated. Add puffed brown rice and stir until well coated. Pack mixture into prepared pan and chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Remove from fridge.

4. Use parchment paper to pull solid bar mixture from pan. Melt chocolate chips. Drizzle chocolate over chilled bar mixture and spread into an even thin layer. Sprinkle with chopped cashews. Chill 30 minutes then cut into 16 bars. barWrap bars individually and store in a sealed bag or box in the fridge for up to 1 month.
*again, I made a double batch.  These can be cut and stored in an air tight container stored in the freezer.  Storing them in the freezer makes them just a little less accessible.

In making both of these I noticed that having the time to make them could be a reason why you won’t, as well, the cost.  Both of these require quality ingredients.  Which drew me to reflecting on the consumption of granola bars.  Why? I get the busy lifestyles and the need for quick nutritious foods, but store bought granola bars hide so much in them.  It’s not only the preservatives but the high amount of sugars.  About the only time I can see use for this product is before a workout when your body is more likely to need and will use the sugar and protein as fuel.  Aside from that, most protein/granola bars are cookies masquerading as a healthy food.

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