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.
48 thoughts on “Carob Covered Coconut Protein Bars/Energy Squares”
Oh goodness, this is like a Mounds bar on steriods. Delicious! I’m a finicky coconut fan (I only like it in certain forms) but I have a feeling that this is something that I can fall in love with. Another Nora winner 🙂
HAHA I always love your comments Cara! Thank you! I’d say if I can win over a finicky coconut fan then I have done something right 🙂
Ooooh, yum! Although I love anything peanut and chocolate, your variation looks awesome too! You can’t go wrong with coconut 😀
I totally agree Heidi! I love ANYTHING with peanut butter and chocolate – just didn’t to step on Sonia’s toes too much hehe 🙂 I used to not like coconut…but you can see how my tastes have clearly changed! 🙂
Mmm I love that you chose to make them nut free! Many of these sorts of bars have nuts, so it’s good to see something different!
Oh my, these look DEEEEE lishus. What do you use to make those perfect little nutrition labels?
Thanks Lindsay! They are little squares of happiness in my mind 🙂
To make the labels, I use http://www.shopncook.com/nutritionFactsLabel.html
I used an online recipe nutrition calculator and then entered in the macro nutrients with the shopncook program. It’s time consuming so that’s why I haven’t done it previously – oh how I wish I had more hours in the day! 🙂
These look sooo good! Probably one of the best energy/protein bars/squares I’ve seen in awhile!
Thanks Kathy! You just made my day 🙂
Wow, Nora, your version looks totally amazing! They look like chewy, yummy, decadent fudge, coated with chocolate… and I am a total fudge fanatic.
Oh god, I want a bite now… especially since I’m starving. It’s way past breakfast time for me. Got to go take care of that tummy before it goes crazy on me. Could you please send me a few of these? That sure would calm him down.
Thank you so much for creating something so decadent looking based on one of my recipes. Glad I could inspire THAT! Now I think I’ll have to try your recipe out. YUM!!!
Fudge bars – that’s about right! Well I have you to thank for the inspiration Sonia! I wish we lived closer, I would 100% bring you over some if I could! 🙂 These went quickly, too quickly I must say so, I’ve made them again in a larger batch and have been eating them for breakfast (I’m on a sweet breakfast kick these days).
Wow, those look great! Almost more protein than carbohydrates. That’s fantastic. They’re like little power warriors. 🙂
I just had to giggle – your comment about “little power warriors” is an awesome description – I may have to use this name for my next batch and give your props!
These look and sound amazing! I love your take on them in coconut form. I don’t think I’ve ever seen coconut flour though – where did you find yours?
Thank you! These are some seriously addicting bars 🙂 I find my coconut flour at a bulk health food store and I have ordered it online at nuts.com as well. Bob Red Mill makes a good product and it can sometimes be found at grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can grind up unsweetened shredded coconut until it’s fine and that should do the trick 🙂
i love coconut and i love chocolate… these are perfect!
Thanks Katie 🙂 I love coconut and chocolate too — yummmmm!
Oooh, these look delicious! I love the look of the texture and imagine they would be dangerously good out of the freezer, which is where I usually hide treats I don’t want to eat 🙂 Great recipe!
Thank you! They are actually my favorite out of the freezer – dangerously good is right! These don’t keep long in our house at all! 🙂
Had to pin – http://pinterest.com/pin/149744756329989829/
You rock Meg, thank you! 🙂
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Any ideas what would be a good substitute for protein powder? We have MSG allergy.
I bet you could use non-fat milk powder – or does that contain MSG as well?
I can’t wait to try these… they look great!
I hope you enjoy Becky! 🙂
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These look fantastic. I have been looking for a new protein bar recipe and this is so unique! Did you come up with the recipe yourself?
Thanks so much! Yes, I sure did 🙂 I love experimenting in the kitchen, so fun!
I sure did 🙂 I love playing with recipes, I started throwing ingredients into my food processor and tasted along the way!
These taste really good! Just wish you had posted a few step by step pics. Mine don’t look like bars at all. It would be nice to see the actual pan size and how you spread them in the pan
What did they look like? Glad you liked the taste though!
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No coconut butter here….should I sub regular butter…or coconut oil?
Coconut oil and butter have a different consistency and taste…you can use a nut or seed butter instead though!
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Do you know a good substitute for oat flour and oat bran? I can’t eat oats and really want to make these!
You can substitute more flaxmeal instead of oats or add about 2 tsp more of coconut flour 🙂
HOLY COW! SO good! I just made these for a Friday night post workout treat! Definitely going to make these again and again and again! I used Almond Meal in place of Oat Flour since I didn’t have any on hand. Thank you for the recipe!
🙂 Thanks so much for your feedback, and I am so happy to hear you enjoyed these!
Thank you so much for a gluten-free, nut-free recipe that sounds really delicious. I can’t wait to try it!
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Thanks foor a great read