There are so many varieties of protein bars available these days, suitable for a wide array of dietary issues and preferences. There seem to be choices that are gluten-free, paleo, vegan and everything in between; however, my challenge is to find one that’s tasty, low in sugar, and free of ingredients that don’t agree with me………so I decided to take a shot at making my own!
I really wanted to keep them simple, so my first decision was what type of protein to use. After giving it some thought, I decided on collagen protein as it doesn’t have a strong flavor, has a decent amount of protein per serving and I thought it would mix well with whatever other ingredients I chose to mix it with.
I started to think about the types and flavors of protein bars that are my favorites, and if given an unlimited choice, realized that the ones I really enjoy are those which are chocolate covered with a softer, creamy filling. Of course peanut butter or a cookie dough-like filling would be my first choice, so I decided to combine the two in the hopes of achieving that type of texture.
I took a look at the container of collagen protein that I use (Ancient Nutrition brand), and thought a good place to start would be to try making each bar contain a full serving of protein, and to do the same with the peanut butter. Since a serving of the collagen protein and a serving of peanut butter were each a tablespoon, I decided it would be easiest to make 16 bars, using an equal amount of collagen and peanut butter, 16 tablespoons of each.
Combining equal parts of the two gave me that “cookie dough-like” texture that I was going for. I thought the addition of cacao nibs would add a pleasant crunch without adding any extra sugar. I gave my mixture a little taste test and thought a little sweetness would enhance the peanut buttery flavor. Experimenting with liquid stevia, a drop at a time worked perfectly! Four drops tasted delicious to me, but it can be a matter of taste, so more or less, depending on preference.
Now that I was satisfied with my filling, it was on to the chocolate coating! I’ve seen packages of “Keto” chocolate chips available at the supermarket lately, and got to thinking that I could dip the filling using unsweetened chocolate chips which I sweeten myself, so I could control the level of sweetness as well as the sweetener I use. I like the way pure liquid stevia mixes into melted chocolate nice and smoothly so chose that as my sweetener. Again, going one drop at a time, eight drops gave me my desired level of sweetness.
Because these bars require chilling in between each step, they can be made over the course of a day or even a few days, doing the various steps as you have a few minutes here and there. Prepare the filling, allowing it to set. Cutting them into bars, freezing until hard, then dipping them in the melted chocolate, and allowing them to set. Although they may seem time consuming, each individual step is easy and they’re so worth it when they’re done!
Chocolate-dipped Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Collagen Protein Bars
These bars contain a full serving of collagen protein as well as a full serving of peanut butter, making them a portable quick pick-me-up or post-workout treat.
Ingredients for filling:
16 scoops Collagen Protein 1 1/3 cup Multi Collagen Protein (I use Ancient Nutrition brand)
1 cup all natural peanut butter, no sugar added (I use 365 Everyday Value brand from Whole Foods)
4 drops of liquid pure stevia (I use 365 Everyday Value brand from Whole Foods)
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (I use Natierre’s Natural)
Ingredients for Chocolate Coating:
1 3/4 cups dark chocolate baking chips, 100% unsweetened cacao (I used an 8.8 Oz package of Pascha Organic brand)
8-10 drops of pure liquid stevia (to taste)
Directions for filling:
Line an 8 x 8” glass pan with wax paper, making sure to have enough for overhang on the ends & set aside. Combine collagen protein and peanut butter in the work bowl of a food processor and mix until combined and it forms a dough-like consistency. Add cacao nibs and pulse to incorporate.
Press into prepared pan. Place freezer until firm, about 45 minutes to and hour.
Remove from freezer, gently lift out of pan,using wax paper overhang and place in cutting board. Leaving on wax paper, cut into 16 even squares (or as even as possible) place wax paper on a rimmed baking sheet and separate bars. Return to freezer until frozen.
Directions for Chocolate Coating:
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler on low heat or in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second increments, stirring until melted. Add 8 drops of pure liquid stevia and taste test. If not sweet enough, add 2 more & taste test.
Remove bars from freezer and dip each in the chocolate. Return to wax paper lined baking sheet until all have been coated. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened all the way through. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 16 protein bars. Wrap individually in wax paper, a perfect on the go treat!
Notes: this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free.