Since I joined the study circus, the task of juggling has become somewhat challenging.. You see I still work in an IT sales role where the pressures of forecasting and meeting sales targets are never ending, it is not a myth that you are only as good as your last sale. The pressure from my studies is very overwhelming especially when assessments are due and for this reason I have been slacking off at the gym because I have been terribly tired.. Who would have thought that using your brain would result in higher exhaustion than participating in a 20km Tough Mudder obstacle (speaking from experience here). For this reason I have decided to make an extra effort to go to the gym and two days ago I started a vitamin regime that should get my energy levels back on track.. I also figured that if I went to the effort to make these nutritious, no preservative protein bars that it would motivate me to get back on track so watch this space!!!
For those of you following “The Quirky Calorie” facebook page you will have seen a few days ago I shared the link (that I found on the 180 Nutrition website) for this recipe of homemade protein bars. A special thank you to Keira Rumble who concocted this awesome treat!!
I made these in a brownie tin that was 20cm by 20cm and when these were ready I cut them into 4cm squares which gave me 16 pieces (when I took it out of the tin, it was closer to 18cm x 18cm).
Based on all ingredients I have listed below these protein snacks contain 148 calories per piece. If you didnt want the extra protein hit you could minus the protein powder and just have these as a nutty snack. I used Sun Warrior protein (this is a brown rice protein) and if this was omitted from the recipe (143 calories), the nutty snack would yield 139.5 calories.
The original recipe called for 1tsp of stevia but I only had agave so I substituted, if you do not like 80% cocoa dark chocolate you may want to add more agave or stevia to this recipe, I think it is fine as it is but I am a fan of the dark chocolate!!
1 cup hazelnuts (145g)
½ cup raw cacao powder (45g)
2 scoops protein powder (I used Sun Warrior Vanilla but I think a natural flavour would be a better option) (43g)
15g agave nectar (you could use 2 teaspoons stevia)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (3g)
½ cup melted coconut oil (105g)
2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of almond butter (this is optional but I had some in the fridge so I used it) (10g)
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (15g)
1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoons melted coconut oil (13g)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (1g)
7g agave nectar (you could use 1 teaspoon of stevia)
You will need a food processor for this, I have a Kitchenaid so I used the smallest bowl.
1. Blitz the hazelnuts until just crushed (this should take approximately a minute)
2. Add cacao, agave, protein powder, coconut oil and the almond butter
3. Blitz again until combined and a thick almost dough like consistency is formed (approximately a minute of blitzing)
4. Line a freezer safe tray (as stated above I used a 20cm x 20cm brownie tin) with baking paper and pour in the mixture, press down the mixture firmly and evenly (don’t miss those corners)
5. Put in freezer for 15 minutes minimum
To make the ganache:
6. Whisk the cacao, coconut oil, agave and cinnamon together in a small bowl
7. Pour the ganache over the slice and freeze again for approximately 5 minutes
8. Remove from freezer and take out of mould
9. Slice the protein bars in to even slices and enjoy!!
*** NOTE *** These can be stored in a container in the fridge or freezer