oh, and did I mention these are homemade? These delicious babies were made on my Thursday night “I have an hour before the new Office episode goes on… hmm what should I do with my life?” Well, I had a solid 6 miler this morning and while Face-booking over breakfast I saw that one of my favorite runner sites No Meat Athlete posted a recipe for “formula” protein bars. Oh, and I received a RAISE at work (boom!$$) So, I celebrated with a little kitchen experimentation time, that led to some tasty results.
This recipe is based on “formula” baking; ever heard of it? I hadn’t either. But it’s pretty genius. This recipe was originally posted by Fit Bottom Eats. I like to think of formula baking as a salad bar… you have different categories (like what kind of lettuce, or dressing you’d life) and you plug in whatever healthy options fit into your lifestyle (vegan, low sugar, or like me flexitarian!)
The six categories and quantities are:
- 1 can_ bean/protein (main source of protein: black, white, pinto, chickpea would all work)
- 1/2 cup_ “binder” (a healthy fat that will hold the ingredients together: almond or peanut butter, ground flax + water, mashed avocado, etc.)
- 1/4 cup_ sweetener (AKA the yum factor: maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc.)
- 1/4 cup_ puree/soft fruit (mashed over-ripe banana, applesauce, chopped dates, or mash whatever fruit you have lying around!)
- 1 cup_ dry base (protein powder, cocoa, whole-wheat flour, almond flour, etc.)
- 1 & 1/2 cups_ oats
- TSP- spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, instant coffee, ginger)
- TSP–extract (almond, vanilla, coffee, lemon, coconut)
- 1 cup_ add-ins AKA anything you want (choco chips, dried fruit, chopped nuts, chia seeds, dry cereal)
- pinch_ salt
OK, so the beauty is you are basically creating your own protein cookies/bars with whatever combos you want. Pick something from column A, something from B… bake, and there you have it- Protein bars made with 100% whole, real food. No added crap and you won’t taste the beans… I swear.
1. In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice and salt until smooth. Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine. Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine. If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good. If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient.
2. Spread mixture into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing into 12 bars. Can be stored on the counter for several days or refrigerated up to one week.
*NOTE: I decided rather than making bars, I’d put the batter in cupcake trays and press down a bit to make 12 cookies inspired by my FAV protein cookies from Naked Granola.
Here is the batch I whipped up:
1 can of Beans: low sodium black beans, drained
1/2 cup Binder: Justin’s peanut butter (best pb ever)
1/4 cup sweetener: agave nectar
1/4 cup soft fruit: UNsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon of extract: almond
1 teaspoon of dry spice: cinnamon
1 cup dry base: 1/2 cup of cocoa + 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 & 1/2 cups of oats: old-fashioned
1 cup of add-ins: 1/2 cup dried cherries + 1/2 cup coconut flakes
Enjoy runners! PS: I’m so never buying store bought bars again!