April 24, 2014

Sugar Free and Low Carb Chocolate Protein Bar

I posted this recipe after I made them up in 2012.  Although I'm not a big fan of chocolate or peanut butter, my husband absolutely loves these healthy, protein packed bars.   Using natural sweeteners in place of refined sugar, and no wheat or grains makes these bars his 'go to' snack at work when he gets a break or needs a pick me up.

I plan to make these for him again today.  You can 'play' with the ingredients based on what you have on hand or the products or brands you like.  When baking low carb or sugar free the brand of ingredients you use can completely change the outcome of the dish.  From texture to taste, even using a different brand of sweetener or protein powder changes the finished product.  

I choose to wrap mine in plastic wrap or place into a snack sized ziploc baggy and store in the refrigerator.  This allows my husband to grab one or two quickly on the way out the door to work.  Just as easy as grabbing a candy bar, but so much healthier.

Homemade Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1 3/4 c chocolate protein powder (I use Isopure)
1/4 c (kind of heaped) peanut flour
2 T cocoa powder
2 T Xylitol or other natural sweetener
1 t vanilla 
1/4 c butter
2/3 c sugar free, natural peanut butter (I used Smuckers*)
1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
1/4 c water
1/3 c peanut butter (low or no sugar version)
1 T butter
2 T cream
2-3 T  sweetener

Blend the protein powder, peanut flour, cocoa, vanilla powder and sweetener in a bowl.  In a microwaveable bowl, place the butter and peanut butter and microwave until melted.  Stir in the cream and water - and if you are using vanilla extract instead of powder, add it to this bowl.  Blend the wet and dry.  It seems a bit crumbly at first but use your hands and continue mixing until it starts to bind.  You can add 1 teaspoon of cream more if you really need to.  Pat and press the mixture into a lined or sprayed 8X8" pan.

Melt the 1/3 c peanut butter and butter in a bowl in the microwave and add the cream and Ideal or Splenda.  Spread this over your bars.   Refrigerate until the topping sets up then slice into long bars.  I get 10 bars from this.

I then wrapped each individually in saran wrap to make them portable and quick to grab.  We keep ours in the refrigerator. 

*I use Smuckers brand because other brands of 'natural' peanut butter tend to be runny and won't set up well.  Be careful not to use a 'spread' because your bars won't set up well and the topping might not set up and stay runny.

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