Lauren’s Recipe of the Week
I am not a baker. As much as I love healthy cooking, healthy baking and I just never seemed to get along. My idea of “baking” rarely takes place when I open up a box of brownie mix and add in a few nuts or maybe even some granola for a semi-homemade spin.
Although you will never see a seven layer cake come out of my kitchen, there are a few select items that I have been known to take a crack at from time-to-time, one of those being homemade protein bars. I’m often looking for something a little sweet a few hours after lunch and shortly before I head to the gym for a late afternoon workout so making a snack that not only incorporates good protein and fiber but rich chocolate is a great option.
What makes these bars so unique is the addition of Mesquite Flour. Up until recently, I have never heard of this ingredient; however, when I began researching its benefits, I was immediately impressed. This flour is derived from the pulp of organic mesquite pods and is full of fiber and antioxidants while remaining low in fat. It has a rich aroma, similar to mocha coffee, cinnamon and chocolate and is a fantastic addition to many baked goods.
The flour added a deep flavor to these protein bars while using minimal ingredients. The chocolatey essence came through strong but subtle enough to remain a healthy treat. I have a feeling I’ll be looking for more ways to bake with my new found appreciation for mesquite flour.
Chocolate Banana Protein Bars
Recipe makes 12 bars
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup oats
- 2 tablespoons mesquite flour
- 1 scoop protein powder (I used SunWarrior Vanilla, vegan)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 overripe bananas
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup milk (almond, soy, rice, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup organic dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, oats, mesquite flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir all dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until a paste forms. Add the egg whites, milk, agave, and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients until combine. In the large bowl, fold in your wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
In a greased 8 x 8 pan, pour the mixture evenly and bake for 17-20 minutes.