You asked for protein bars. Repeatedly. And of all the things that I have on my interminable recipe request list – these were the easiest to keep pushing to the back of the queue. Repeatedly. I freely admit that I have procrastinated on protein bars because they scared me. I mean, where do you even start with making a protein bar?
Typically, it turns out the fear was far greater than the reality. The lovely Lori sent me a note with an idea of where I might start – and after a short dabble in the kitchen – Protein Bars 1.0 were born.
I dumped the dough in a storage container and took it to the office. All day long people were wandering into my office to cut chunks off of “The Blob”. The flavor was a *HUGE* hit. The problem was the consistency. Like peanut butter, almond butter gets oily and separates when left to its own devices. My bars suffered the same fate. If “The Blob” was kept in the ‘fridge it was fine, but 30 minutes after removing it from the big chill, oiliness ensued. Blast.
Back in the Marmalade HQ kitchen I tweaked the recipe here and there, tweaked the method here and there, and voila! Protein Bars 2.0 were exactly what I’d had in mind. Thanks for pushing me over the edge, Lori!
I’ll warn you now – they are a bit of a process. 10 minutes to make, but 12 hours to get them from dough to transportable bar. I’ll keep working on more bars, but I freely admit I am pretty darn pleased with how these turned out.
Here. Have some Cranberry Almond Protein Bars.
- ½ cup / 4 fl oz. almond butter, creamy unsalted
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ⅓ cup / 3 fl oz. COLD water
- 11 oz. / 310g vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 TBSP chia seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp guar gum
- 1½ oz. / 40g flaked almonds
- 2 oz. / 55g dried cranberries, finely chopped
- In a bowl, using a hand mixer or blender, mix the almond butter, almond extract and cold water together until completely mixed. This takes several minutes.
- In another bowl, add the whey powder, salt, guar gum, and chia seeds and mix well.
- Crush the flaked almonds in your hands and add them to the dry ingredients.
- Add the finely chopped dried cranberries and rub them through the dry ingredients with your fingers to separate them.
- Add the dry ingredients to the almond butter mixture and stir until it has formed a dry dough.
- Turn the dough on to a surface and knead the last of the dry ingredients in until you have a smooth, shiny dough. It will be slightly sticky.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and leave to rest for an hour.
- Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick and cut into bars.
- You will need to use a sharp knife to slide under each bar to get them off the surface you rolled them out on.
- Carefully move each bar to a flat plate or board.
- Leave the bars to dry for 12 hours. Every 30 minutes or so, using a sharp knife to pick them up, turn each bar over. This helps the bars to dry evenly.
- After 12 hours the bars will have firmed up considerably and formed a 'crust', making them easy to pick up with your fingers.
- Wrap each bar in parchment paper or store in an air-tight container with parchment paper between the layers.