Tuesday, October 21, 2008 by Daniel

Eureka! Home-made protein bars

I have been plagued by discontent with protein supplementation for quite some time now. At first I liked ThinkThin bars, but then I read about the evils of aspartame and all the other crap that's in them. Clif Builder Bars are good-tasting with responsible ingredients - but they have a lot of sugar in them, and cost about $2 a pop - which adds up. And the protein mixes are no better - I couldn't find anything that didn't have sucralose or worse, and they're always cloyingly sweet and frequently have highly questionable ingredients.

A lot of research pointed me to TrueProtein.com, which lets you make custom blends of various types of high-quality proteins with various flavors, including no flavoring or sweetener at all. So I took the plunge and ordered three pounds (a fair amount) of mostly high-quality whey with some casein, which came out to $38. Now I just needed to figure out the most palatable means of ingesting the stuff.

After much experimentation, I have finally figured out a home-made protein bar recipe that I'm really happy with. With only four ingredients, these little puppies taste EXACTLY like raw peanut butter cookie dough, provide 19 grams of protein with only 4 grams of carbohydrates, and have no artificial chemicals or sweeteners. AND they only cost 72 cents each! In short: just about perfect.

Ingredients (per bar):
For experimentation, I found it was better to make them two at a time, and now that I have the recipe I make a batch of 8 or 10 for the week.

  • Mix peanut butter, protein and stevia in a bowl - it will be dry and flaky, with small chunks.
  • Add cream and mix until blended
  • Portion out (each bar is 1/4 cup), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Nutritional info (per bar):

Calories: 276
Fat: 21g
Carbs: 4g + 2g fiber
Protein: 19g

  • It's kind of hard to overstate how much these taste like raw PB cookie dough. It's uncanny.
  • I have tried almond butter in several permutations. The texture comes out very gluey. It's not inedible, but it's not really enjoyable. The peanut butter makes them nice and crumbly with a great mouth feel, while you really have to choke down the almond butter. I have read about people mixing almond butter with coconut oil for a snappier texture, but haven't had the nerve to try that yet. I also need to try cashew butter.
  • I broke out the prices of the ingredients, and it comes to 72 cents per bar. This would go down even more if I bought the protein in batches of more than 3 pounds, or found a cheaper source.
  • It's important to use heavy cream. I tried half-and-half, and the texture was gluey and chewy like with almond butter. Nowhere near as good.
  • Despite all their positive attributes, these ARE gut-bombs. DO NOT EAT within two hours before exercise. You will deeply regret it. I did. There is a lot of fat in them, and they will fill you up like crazy.


Melissa Byers said...

These sound AMAZING. I mean, peanut butter + cookie dough = Y.U.M. I will have to give these a shot - especially since they work out to less than $1 a pop. Thanks for sharing!

Evelyn Rodas said...

Dude! I am going to make these with my "designer whey"--(what the hell that brand name means, I don't know, but it sounds ostentatious as all get out). Yum, I can't wait!!! You rock, rock on girl!

Rebecca said...

girl? LOL These are wholly Daniel's (awesome!) creation. He's the kitchen based experimenter in our family. I venture into the kitchen mainly to keep him company, and even occasionally to help clean up - but almost never to cook - and DEFINITELY not to experiment. When i cook i need exact measurements. Those little joke measuring spoons that say "a pinch" and "a dash"? I'd need those.

Maximus Lewin said...

Damn man this sounds great. If you make extra I would gladly pay 20.00 for 10 of them.

Maximus Lewin said...

Evelyn needs the "pinch" and "dash" spoons as well...

Jennifer Barney said...

Can I send you a free jar of Barney Butter Almond Butter so you can try it again? www.barneybutter.com
It's not like the other almond butters-- you are going to love it and it will work in your bars, I promise.

Daniel said...

Lol, you haven't even tried one, Max! I'll try to remember to bring one to class tomorrow for you to sample. Warning: there ain't nothing paleo about these guys.

Jennifer: Far be it from me to turn down free almond butter!

Evelyn Rodas said...

LMAO: "Evelyn needs the "pinch" and "dash" spoons as well...


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