It’s time … remember I made those Strawberry Ripe protein bars a while ago, using freeze-dried fruit? They are the bomb.
The thing with protein bars is that you really want to be able to pack them into your lunch box or bag or wherever you keep your snacks or post workout stuff when you are on the go. That is what makes freeze-dried fruit so amazing. You get a big flavour punch from whole fresh fruit (no additives) and all the goodness, but they’re not perishable as fresh fruit tends to be, right? Plus, when ground into a powder, they help make the texture of your protein bar fantabulous and your bar can travel more safely with you.
There is mounting evidence on this blog of my
love adoration worship of banana and chocolate together. I know a lot of you share this love. So here is one of my simple, fast, but absolutely yummilicious protein bars. Nothing fancy, just a banana bar with some oats and a dollop of peanut butter, coated in 100% dark chocolatey goodness.
I have never tried it but I would guess you could substitute banana chips for the freeze-dried banana. Or simply use a good quality banana flavoured whey protein, although you won’t really get that real banana flavour. I’ve actually made these bars using only unflavoured whey as well as a combination of unflavoured and banana flavoured whey. Both are great. I did not add any sweetener as the banana is sweet enough for my taste. If you use a flavoured whey, it will already be sweetened so take that into account.
The small amount of peanut butter in the bar does not give the bars a strong PB flavour. If you want a stronger flavour you can add more but you will have to add more oats to balance out the texture and use less almond milk. Alternatively, a small amount of peanut flour (if you can get it!!) would be great.
They are sticky but that’s what makes them so awesome when you eat them. The texture is not dry. They are delicious and almost creamy! If you don’t like chocolate, finely chop up some dry roasted peanuts and roll the bars in that to coat them for a Banana PB bar. Wow.
I love using Willie’s Cacao 100% Chef’s Cacao for this, especially the Madagascan Sambirano Superior. But a good Pralus 100% or any good 85% plus bar will do. The intensity of the thin chocolate coating with the banana protein filling is amazing.
If you love the idea but not the fruit, substitute another favourite freeze-dried fruit or even coconut. Just remember that all these changes will impact the macros one way or another.
I hope you love these. They are one of my favourite post workout bars. I gave a piece to my father to see if he could tell it was a protein bar … he thought they were banana chocolates!
That has to be worth points on some scoreboard somewhere 😀
Store them in the refrigerator or even freeze them if you are so inclined. Wrap them up and pop into your lunch or workout bag. I love them straight from the fridge on a hot day.
Macros are included below.
Makes 4 bars
40 grams freeze-dried banana* (I used Absolute Fruitz)
70 grams unflavoured or banana flavoured whey protein isolate**
30 grams rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
25 grams 100% peanut butter (or peanut flour)
20 – 30 millilitres almond milk (I used 30 ml. You could also substitute coconut or other non-dairy milk)
40 grams 100% chocolate, for enrobing the bars (or q.b. … this is about what I used to coat them all over)
sweetener, to taste (optional)
*If you cannot get freeze-dried banana, try using banana chips!
**I’ve tried this with 70 grams of this one and a combination of 40 grams of this with 30 grams of this one. The latter gave an extra banana oomph. You could substitute with peanut butter flavoured whey, if you can get that too.
Place the freeze-dried banana in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the whey and rolled oats, and process until the mixture is fine.
Add the peanut butter, almond milk, and sweetener (if using) and process until the mixture comes together. It will be fairly sticky. Toss in a little extra whey powder or oat or peanut flour, if required. Cover and refrigerate until it firms up. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form into bars. Alternatively, you can immediately divide the mixture into four equal portions and form in to bars and then place on a tray, lined with silicone paper, in the fridge until they firm up enough to coat. A little trickier than doing it the other way round but it’s up to you.
Place the dark chocolate into a microwave-safe plastic bowl and microwave for about one minute. It might need another 15 seconds or so. Stir the mixture until melted. Keep stirring the mixture as it cools slightly. You can also melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (a bain marie). Once melted, remove from the heat and stir until it cools slightly.
Dip or coat each bar in the chocolate and set on to a tray, lined with silicone paper, to set completely. You can set the bars at room temperature or place in the refrigerator for ten minutes or so until the chocolate sets.
Now, you can temper the chocolate and coat the bars for a shiny finish with a nice snap to the coating, if you are like me and prefer them this way. To do this, I generally temper a large quantity of chocolate and use a dipping fork to dip and coat the bars. I still end up having used about 40 grams of chocolate, as you only need a think layer of chocolate.
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They are great straight from the fridge. Wrap well if packing into a lunch box or gym bag.
I’ve included macros based on the recipe as stated and using the ingredients I specified above. If you make variations to the bars, you will have to account for those, of course.