It’s time again for another Recipe of the Week here on the blog! This week, Employee Alex is back with a no-bake, vegan, gluten-free, & paleo-friendly Cookie Dough Protein Bar recipe (with NO protein powder!) from Feasting on Fruit. Read on to see how this recipe went for Alex before trying it yourself. Enjoy!
Cookie Dough Protein Bars
Hello Maple Lovers, Alex here! I’m back, and I brought with me a recipe I found from Feasting on Fruit that everyone can enjoy. I was really excited to try this one because I’m always looking for new ways to work extra protein into my diet. This recipe is simple, contains whole ingredients (superfoods!), and sounded tasty to boot!
If you’re feeling impatient and you want to head right over to her recipe, I don’t blame you. Find it here! As for the rest of you; let’s get started!
The ingredients for this one are pretty simple: cashews, hemp seeds, flax seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, sea salt, and chocolate chips. She leaves this one pretty open to your own personal preference (which I find both awesome and frustrating), so I went with raw & unsalted cashews, ground flax seeds, shelled hemp seeds (hearts), and dark chocolate chips. I did notice, after I bought my ingredients, that she states her personal preference on some of the ingredients in the comments below (raw cashews & unshelled help seeds).
I chose Amber maple syrup to minimize the maple flavor on this one, but I think Dark would also work. The flax, cashews, hemp seeds, & chocolate chips were purchased online for this one, but I expect you could probably find everything you need in your local natural foods grocery store or co-op. As usual, I recommend using organic and/or locally produced ingredients wherever possible.
Assembling the Protein Bars
Everything went pretty smoothly here. Blending the nuts/seeds together was pretty straight forward. I will mention that the recipe states to create a “fine flour consistency”. Mine came out much coarser than I would think this would be (mostly because my Ninja blender doesn’t get things very fine). I checked the video on her recipe and hers seemed even coarser than mine. So, don’t get too stressed if yours doesn’t seem “fine” enough.
She doesn’t specify how to melt your chocolate chips. It would probably work in a microwave or on the stove (it seems like she microwaves hers in the video). I didn’t heat mine long enough because I was worried I might burn them, so the chocolate on the top of my bars ended up having some lumps.
I also failed entirely in getting my parchment paper into the pan as cleanly as theirs. It didn’t affect the flavor, it just made things look a little less smooth. Make sure you use the right size pan when you put your bars together. She is using a 7.5 x 5.5″ pan in the original recipe. I tried to find one that was a similar size based on how thick I wanted my bars to be. Since these are no-bake, I imagine you can be flexible on your choice.
She advises setting the bars in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I put them in the fridge for 2 hours, then moved them to the freezer for one more since I wanted them to be done in 3 hours. She does say in the comments that freezer & fridge are both okay for these bars, you just want to avoid room temperature.
The Final Result
My first thought when removing these bars from the freezer was that the advice to allow them to set for as long as possible is a good one. These bars are soft and gooey. However, when I let them set longer, the chocolate got very hard and shattered when I cut it. When I make these again, I will use softer chocolate.
The flavor is definitely reminiscent of cookie dough, and I could see how this would be a special treat for someone avoiding things like real cookie dough. It also has an undeniably nutty taste that I think would appeal to someone who really enjoys nut butters. Overall it was a pretty pleasant way to add some protein with whole superfoods & no compromises.
I had some friends try these bars and they really enjoyed them. Everyone raved about how good they were and how similar the taste was to real cookie dough! Marking this one down as a keeper. 😉