A few weeks ago, Sonia at the Healthy Foodie posted a recipe for her peanut butter and chocolate energy squares. These little squares looked and sounded so appealing, I had them on my mind until I was able to get into the kitchen and whip a version up myself!
Though I love peanut butter and chocolate together, I opted for a caffeine free and nut free version, just for kicks 🙂 I admit, these bars are quite addicting and were the perfect pre and/or post workout snack when I was needed something quick. They taste SO, SO yummy that these squares were enjoyed for dessert on several nights as well. Next time (umm, this week), I will triple the batch because I went through these so fast!
Sonia wanted to up the protein a bit in her bars; for 8 bars mine came in around 12 grams of protein per serving, plus its low in sugar, contains healthy fats, fiber, potassium and calcium! I rarely ever calculate the nutritional information for recipes, but was curious how mine stacked up…
If you wanted to increase the protein content by several grams, substitute half of the coconut butter for almond or peanut butter and use almond meal/flour for the coconut flour if preferred. If you want a lower calorie bar, cut them smaller into 10 or 12 servings – it’s up to you!
Carob Covered Coconut Protein Bars/Energy Squares (inspired from The Healthy Foodie)
1/2 cup coconut butter, melted (I used homemade coconut butter)
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla)
100 grams all-natural vanilla protein powder (I tested this with Jay robb’s whey protein, was 3 scoops)
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp oat flour or oat bran
2 Tbsp coconut flour (could sub your favorite flour but would need to increase amount by a 1-2 Tbsp)
pinch of sea salt
2 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (I used unrefined for more coconut flavor)
2 – 3 Tbsp carob powder (or cocoa or cacao powder)
1 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup
pinch of sea salt, optional but enhances the flavor
For garnish, optional
Chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas or shredded coconut
For the bottom layer
1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine coconut butter, applesauce, sweetener and extracts. Process until smooth.
3. Add in protein powder through sea salt and pulse until combined and well incorporated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a bit more flour (the bottom layer will firm up when refrigerated though). Spoon and spread into the loaf pan and refrigerate until firm (I left the bars overnight, but you also freeze the bars for an hour or so before finishing them with top layer).
For the top layer
1. Combine all of the topping ingredients and stir with a spoon or fork until well combined. Pour/spread over the chilled bottom layer and sprinkle with chopped nuts/seeds/coconut.
2. Place bars back in the refrigerator or freezer until firm (several hours). Cut into bars and enjoy!
I stored these bars in the freezer (these tasted fantastic cold) but refrigerated works well too.