Protein Bars

Get ready for the longest recipe of your life. That’s actually really easy.

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 cup protein powder (I’ve been using soy. It’s cheap.)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 for a glass pan). Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, then spray the foil –  this is so it’s easily lifted out to cut into bars… no pan sides to get in the way. Get out a cookie sheet and either spray it or line it with parchment paper.

Mix together the protein powder, flour, oats, oat bran, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar, making sure there are no clumps. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Measure the yogurt, oil, and vanilla into a second bowl, stirring until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix until thoroughly blended. I end up using my hands, since it’s a super thick batter – almost like dough.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, patting it evenly into place with your hands. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cut into bars of any size or shape.

Put the bars on your cookie sheet and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. (For extra-crunchy bars, turn off the oven and leave them in there for up to 45 minutes longer.) Remove the bars from the oven, and place them on a rack to cool.

Eat the bars within a few hours, or seal them in a heavy zip-style plastic bag and store in the freezer. If you want them extra crispy, stick ’em in the toaster after defrosting.

 

Variations – you can make the main recipe with any combination of the following adjustments:

• Replace the canola oil with 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (softened in a microwave).

• Replace the flour with quinoa, ground to a powder in a blender or an electric spice grinder.

• Replace the yogurt with mashed silken tofu (soft or firm). Add an extra pinch of salt.

• Add up to 1 cup chopped nuts and/or sunflower seeds.

 

Notes: for nondairy bars, replace the yogurt with unsweetened applesauce, canned pumpkin, or mashed banana (or try the silken tofu option mentioned before). Add an extra pinch of salt if using pumpkin or silken tofu. I’ve never done any of the variations, actually, so I can’t speak for their taste.

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