Have you been looking for the perfect post-workout snack? Something that will refuel your system and taste delicious but without all that artificial crap found in most convenience foods? Well I gots the perfect recipe for ya: No-Bake Paleo Chocolate Protein Bars. Yum!
A few weeks back at the Affiliate Allstars CrossFit competition, when we weren’t on the arena floor competing, we were on the floor (literally) foam rolling, stretching, and…eating. Such abnormally high levels of energy expenditure required lots and lots of refueling! I brought a batch of these Chocolate Protein Bars (well, they were squares, so more like protein ‘bites’), and they went down a treat with our athletes.
In fact, I was tempted to make another batch for Day 2 of the comp and walk around with a plate, offering them to all the cute, buff, shirtless guys…(to promote my blog, of course) But to be honest, I was so exhausted after Day 1 all I could do when I got home was shower, eat more food, and drop into bed!
These protein bars are grain-free AND sugar free. Plus, they don’t even need baking. Too easy.
No-Bake Paleo Chocolate Protein Bars
(Adapted from Sarah Wilson’s very popular Chocolate Nut Ball recipe)
What you need:
- 2 cups of nuts (I used almonds and cashews that I roasted)
- 2 big handfuls of shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/3 cup nut butter
- 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter (if you’re not Paleo or vegan)*
*Note: I use a mix of coconut oil, butter and cacao butter. Cacao butter is the fat extracted from the cacao bean. It smells AMAZING but tastes super rich on its own. I get it online as it’s quite expensive in the shops. If you can find it, I definitely recommend mixing some in with the coconut oil. It WILL take your protein bars to the next level, I guarantee it!!
- 1/2 cup protein powder
- stevia (natural sweetener)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1-2 tbsp rice malt syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice (I use rice syrup as it’s fructose-free)
What to do:
- Blend the nuts in a small food processor or blender until finely chopped – as opposed to ‘roughly’ chopped. See below for a pic. I find if the pieces are too big the bars won’t stick together. But don’t blend for too long otherwise you’ll end up with nut meal. And if you blend even longer it will turn into nut butter, which is delicious, but not quite what we’re aiming for here…
- Pop the blended nuts into a mixing bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined
- Melt the coconut oil/butter and syrup (if using) in a small bowl in the microwave, or over the stove if you can be bothered (I can’t)
- Add to the dry ingredients, and mix around until everything is combined. Have a little taste, and add stevia and/or extra sweetener to reach your desired sweetness levels. If the mixture is really wet, add some extra chia seeds (or almond meal, psyllium husks etc) to thicken it up. If it’s too dry, add some extra coconut oil.
- Line a small square (about 21 x 21cm) baking pan with baking paper (no need to grease it). Tip the mixture in, press it down and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to set.
- When set and hard enough to cut, lift the whole lot out on to a chopping board. Cut into squares, rectangles, triangles (they will definitely taste better), trapezoids, or maybe even a congruent geometrical double helix? It’s up to you, really. But I highly recommend squares for easy sharing and friend-making.
One final tip
I like to keep these bad boys in the freezer. They actually taste really good when semi-frozen! If you take them out, they will eventually get a bit soft at room temperature. And please don’t take one as a snack for during your next fun run; if you keep them in your pocket they’ll turn to goop and you’ll have people wondering if you missed the halfway toilet stop. And that’s not good for making friends.
Happy training :)
Oh yeah – they also make good building blocks…