Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Week 24: Protein Bars

I am an afternoon snacker! By around 3:00 pm I need something to eat or I overeat at dinner time. I usually have a piece of fruit and string cheese, a protein shake or bar. We have been making a lot of muffins lately since the calories are pretty low and it takes the edge off. I have been making cranberry muffins like crazy lately since my boyfriend bought about 20 bags of fresh cranberries during the holidays and we are still going through them! Now that we have cleared up some freezer space...I decided maybe a change in afternoon snacks would be good. So, after watching an Alton Brown, Good Eats, episode on the Food Network, I thought an attempt at making my own homemade delicious protein bars would be a good alternative to cranberry muffins. The result, well, was pretty good and easy. I did need to go to the store and buy some dried fruit and tofu, which I did not have in the house, but the rest of the items were pretty standard in my kitchen. Test them out. I think they would be great snacks for kids and certainly adults too. Enjoy!

Protein Bars

  • 1 cup soy protein powder, vanilla

  • ½ cup oat bran

  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup wheat germ

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup raisins

  • ½ cup dried cherries

  • ½ cup blueberries (they were so expensive, I used white raisins instead)

  • ½ cup dried apricots

  • 1 package (14 oz) soft silken tofu

  • ½ cup unfiltered apple juice

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter (less sugar)

  • Cooking spray

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Coat muffin pans with cooking spray. Recipe makes 24 standard/medium sized bars.

Step 3: In large mixing bowl, combine protein powder, oat bran, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside.

Step 4: Coarsely chop the raisins, dried cherries, blueberries if you are rich, and apricots. Place in a small bowl and set aside for later.

Step 5: In another mixing bowl, (just about used up all my bowls), whisk the tofu until smooth. (Not exactly sure how that would be done, but I just whisked the soft tofu until it was mostly broken down, it wasn’t really very smooth, but I think it worked fine)

Step 6: Add the following items one at a time and whisk after each. Add apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter.

Step 7: Add your liquid mixture to the protein powder bowl and stir until combined. Fold in the dried fruit.

Step 8: Put mix into muffin tins. Alton Brown has you put them in a baking pan, but I didn’t want to cut them after, so I think as long as you are good with "round" shaped protein bars, you will be good.

Step 9: Bake for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees. I just poked an oven thermometer in one of them and the timing was pretty close.

Step 10: Remove from oven and let cool completely before eating. Well, I couldn’t wait and ate one that was piping hot! Storage for up to a week in an airtight container. They should also freeze well.

This was actually a pretty easy recipe and the taste is really nice. Okay, they are nothing like the protein chocolatey bars that you get in the store, but they are a little sweet with all the dried fruit and have a nice light peanut butter flavor. These might have been easier than the Granola Bars I wrote about in Week 17, only need to bake once. So enjoy this healthy little snack, and do something hillbilly today!

Serving size: 24 muffin tins. Calories: 152 each.

Recipe credit to: Mr. Alton Brown, Food Network.


Jnette said...

These look delicious! Where do you buy soy protein?

Jen said...

I found my at Whole Foods, but any health food store will have Protein Powder and Whey Powder. I bought vanilla flavor. Gyms or body building stores also sell them. I love making protein shakes with milk, the powder, bannana and any other fruit you have. A great afternoon snack & pretty healthy too.