Say hello to my new favorite protein bar.
I really, really, really just want to tell you that these babies are the bomb.com and leave the recipe here without saying anything else about them. They’re almost too good for words.
So good that I might never frantically run into Trader Joe’s after the gym and buy a hard, sticks-to-my-teeth, tastes totally weird protein bar again.
Okay, I probably will. But, that’s life, right?
I’m so excited about these protein bars that I’m fighting off the urge to go make another batch of them right now, even though I need to get this blog post typed up and ready for tomorrow. Okay, deep breaths.
These protein bars are the result of years of thinking, planning, complaining, recipe testing, more complaining, and finally- finally!!-getting a craving for almond butter balls, making a few tweaks, and realizing I already had the base of my protein bar figured out. I took it as a sign from the universe and immediately made another batch, this time pressing the dough into a loaf pan and cutting it into bars to see if they would really hold up.
Spoiler alert: they did.
These protein bars start with a base of almond butter, raw honey, oats, and protein powder. I used an unsweetened, unflavored pea protein powder to fill these up with plant protein without adding any extra flavor to the bars (I love this one -it’s only like $12 if you actually go to Trader Joe’s to buy it. I just linked to amazon so you can see what it looks like!).
Next, I stirred in chopped up dates for extra caramel-y sweetness, plus a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Somehow the simple flavors of almond butter, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon make for an absolutely crave-worthy protein bar. Unlike the energy balls they were based off of, these bars hold their shape well when not chilled. The protein powder definitely firms them up a bit and makes the bars extra filling.
Also, there’s chocolate. I could have stopped here and had perfectly protein-packed bars, but, really, you know I can’t help myself. If chocolate is an option, I’m adding the chocolate. I almost dipped them completely in chocolate like a store-bought bar, but then I was feeling lazy and just poured some melted chocolate on top. I’m glad I did, because I actually think dipping them in chocolate might be too much chocolate.
Yes, you’re reading this correctly.
I love the flavor of these protein bars so much that I don’t want it overpowered with anything- even chocolate.
If that’s not a sign that you need to run to your kitchen and whip up a batch of these right now, I don’t know what would be. I mean, I already described them as the bomb.com, so you know I’m not messing around.
Whether you’re looking for a protein-packed snack to fuel your hikes, gym sessions, extreme Netflix binge-watching, long days at work, or you’re just looking for a tasty snack that will fill you up when you’re hungry, these bars are for you. You could absolutely use any protein powder you love, but if you can find it, I highly recommend the pea protein, or at least another unsweetened protein powder, since it lets the flavor of almond butter shine.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below, or take a picture of your protein bars and tag me on Instagram. I love seeing what you make!
- 1 cup almond butter, creamy (no added sugar/oil)
- 1/4 cup raw honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup oats
- 4 large Medjool dates, finely diced (about 1/2 cup total)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pea protein powder (or other unsweetened protein powder of choice)
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
- chopped almonds and flaky sea salt, to top (optional)
- 1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- 2. Put first 5 ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine. Add all remaining ingredients, except chocolate, and stir until a dough forms.
- 3. Press the dough into the loaf pan with your hands, forming an even layer. Put the loaf pan into the freezer to let bars set up while you melt the chocolate.
- 4. Put chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Pour melted chocolate over the pan of protein bars and smooth with a spoon. Top with chopped almonds and flaky salt, if desired. Put pan back into the freezer for 5 minutes to let the chocolate firm up.
- 5. Remove pan from freezer and lift the parchment paper to remove the loaf. Slice into 6-8 bars, depending on your preferred size. Store bars in the fridge for up to 10 days, or in the freezer for several months. I wrapped mine in small strips of parchment paper so I could grab them and throw them into my gym bag. These hold their shape well at room temperature, but have a longer shelf life if stored in the fridge.
- See blog post for link to the protein powder I used in this recipe. I recommend sticking with an unsweetened/unflavored protein powder, unless you know you love the flavor of a particular brand. Otherwise, the flavor of these bars will change and may not be as pleasant as the originals.