Remember how I told you about the first attempt on the Paleo Zucchini Protein Bars with Cranberries? I attempted to make a “1/4-cup of all ingredients” recipe and they turned out way to thin instead of fluffy. I turned them into sandwich-cookies and while devouring these my head worked on the actual problem: how to get a fluffy and delicious protein bar, keeping the ingredients as natural as possible.
The solution of my problem popped up in Cologne this weekend. I mentioned before that I met a good friend, who I see two or three times a year and everytime we meet we have lots and lots of catching up to do and spend the whole day talking our heads off. It is also nice that we share our interest in healthy eating and an intuitive attempt to health. Thus, when we spotted an organic grocery store, we just had to hop in. I can tell you, I found my personal grocery-nirvana, that is how beautiful, modern, amazing and out-of-the-world this store was. It is probably a good thing, that it takes me close to 2 hours by train to go to Cologne, otherwise I would soon be broke.
But, let’s come back to the initial story, my protein bars: I found a new cheaper brand of coconut flour exhibited (I totally felt like walking through an art exhibition) and remembered why I used almond flour in my first attempt – my coconut flour was nearly emptied. I purchased the art piece and spend the train ride home thinking about how to combine it with the other ingredients – arriving at the decision to completely omit the protein powder and make the protein bar all natural, since to me this feels like the healthiest way to eat.
Paleo Protein Bars
yields 16 small square bars (or 8 bigger ones)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup zucchini, finely grated
- 1/4 cup pear, finely grated or apple sauce
- 2 eggs
- 2 T honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cranberries, dried
Preheat the oven to 175°C/350 F.
Mix the dry ingredients (1-5) in a bowl, add grated zucchini and pear (or applesauce), eggs, honey and vanilla and mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Fold in the cranberries, leaving out a few for decoration.
Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with baking paper, pour in the dough. You get best results when using your fingers to evenly press down the dough in each corner and smoothing it out. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. topping:
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (*use almond butter for paleo version – as kindly pointed out in the comments)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 T honey
- dash of salt
- 1 T coconut flakes
- few cranberries
Let the baked bars cool for a few minutes. Microwave peanut butter and coconut oil for 30 seconds, whisk, if not quite liquid yet, microwave for additional 30 seconds. When both are melted whisk in the honey and salt. Spread the mixture on top of the bars, sprinkle with coconut flakes and cut up cranberries.
Now place the baking tray in your fridge for about 1 hour, so that the peanut butter firms up. When firm you can take the parchment paper with the bars out of the baking tray and start cutting them into squares (or rectangles).
You can experiment with this recipe, if you like thicker bars you can double the ingredients for the dough and add some baking time. I like them thin, so the topping can shine through and so I can justify eating 3 of them at once …
Place the remainings in the fridge, using clear film to keep the bars from sticking. Enjoy as a snack or dessert.
Do you use protein powder or prefer protein from all natural sources?