Posted on Jun 22, 2011 in All Recipe Posts, Chocolate, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bars, Special Diet | 18 comments

Whoaaaa … back on the healthy side of the fence for this post :)  I did promise, after all.

I’ve got something a bit different for you this time around.  Not only do these little bars give you a good energy boost and some heart healthy fats but also a good little protein kick and some complex carbohydrates.  Not so shabby as a pre-workout snack.  Maybe even a great little recovery snack.  All fantabulous stuff.  But wait, that doesn’t make them different …

Well, usually, I’d be throwing in almond meal or some other ground up nuts in place of refined flours, yeah?  Yeah.  But that leaves a lot of people out in the cold.  With sad faces :(    So I got me some quinoa flour.  I thought these bars might just be interesting with quinoa flour.   A little hesitant … quinoa flour smells rather beany.  But ay carumba, once these bars have cooled, that beany smell and taste I worried about is so mild, it’s actually more nutty than beany.  WIN!  So, that’s different.

You might have noticed that they’re also gluten-free and wheat-free.  That’s a WIN-WIN scenario, if that’s your brand of issue.  They can also be lactose-free and still yum.  WIN-WIN-WIN.  No losers here.

So you can make these with almond meal or coconut flour (as I’ve indicated below) or a combination.  Mostly, that’s how I’d do it for me.  The almonds would certainly increase the amount of protein in each bar.  BUT … and there’s always a BUT … if you have a nut allergy, give the quinoa flour a go.  It’s very high in protein compared with other flours (about 17%) and is a nutritionally dense food with iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and a host of amino acids.  I hear the nut-allergy folk cry YAY!   Totally.   A lot of people with tree-nut allergies find coconut poses no problem.  If it does for you, substitutes are provided in the recipe.   Using the different ingredients for variety is actually great as it makes these bars very versatile and you don’t get bored with them too quickly.  Just quietly, I’m a fan of the cacao butter.  Of course.  Winning to the power of infinity.

I used ASN HP-100 protein in this as it packs a high-quality whopping 25 grams of protein per 28 gram serving.  I also used Valrhona Guanaja 70% chocolate.  Protein bars don’t deserve bad chocolate anymore than you do.  So use the good stuff.  It’s actually got its own decent protein and fibre contribution plus all those woohoo antioxidants.  Ditto the cherries.  Delicious powerhouses of antioxidants plus natural anti-inflammatory properties and there’s a lot of talk about them helping muscle recovery.  I’m not even going to rave about the chia seeds or I’d have to use the term superfood.  Oops.

When it comes down to it though, the important thing is that these bars are really light, moist, and delish.  And they’ve got chocolate.  You cannot lose.  KAPOW!

I feel inspired to go for a run.  Enjoy :)

If you’re feeling inclined towards something a little more pastry oriented, check out my guest post at the lovely Gourmantine’s Blog!  Her blog is fabulous as are her recipes.  I’m just a lucky baker, fortunate enough to be invited onto her culinary stage.  It was a lot of fun to do and hey, after being good munching on these bars, a few eclairs with zabaione cream make for a decent cheat treat. :D

Makes 12 large or 24 small bars

Ingredients
3 large egg whites
60 grams coconut sugar or brown sugar
12 grams coconut butter/oil or cacao butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
10 grams chia seeds
50 grams whey protein powder
120 grams quinoa or coconut flour or almond meal (or a combination)
3 teaspoons baking powder
165 millilitres skim milk (<0.1% fat) or oat/rice/almond/soy milk
120 grams fresh or frozen pitted cherries, chopped (sweet or tart)

100 grams 70% chocolate
10 grams coconut butter or cacao butter

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a 18cm x 28cm (7″ x 11″) pan with baking paper and set aside.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until frothy. Add all the other ingredients, except the cherries, and mix well until smooth.   I actually did all that in a food processor.  Easy.  Stir in the cherries.   Don’t do that in the food processor :)

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set on a wire rack to cool.

Melt the chocolate and coconut or cacao butter together. Cool until it is starting to thicken. Pour over the cherry bar slab and spread evenly. Cut into 12 large or 24 small bars. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Profile

Data for this nutritional profile is based on standard profiles for all ingredients.  Amounts for the chocolate are based on Valrhona’s Guanaja chocolate (70%) and the whey protein powder quantities are based on ASN’s HP-100 protein supplement.

Nutritional Profile: Cherry Protein Bars (Quinoa version)