There are several sources of protein in these bars – nut butter, sunflower and sesame seeds, hemp hearts, and pumpkin seed protein powder. The whole recipe contains about 100 g protein. So if you cut the bars into 12, you get just over 8g of protein for each bar. The protein content in these bars combined with nutritious sources of carbohydrates and healthy fat helps stabilize blood sugar levels, provides energy, and will help you feel satisfied. And we can’t forget the star ingredient – dark cocoa powder – that makes these protein bars decadent!
We like pumpkin seed protein powder because it is a high quality and easy-to-digest protein source. It is naturally high in vitamin K and important minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and iron. The mild flavour also makes it a versatile protein powder that can be easily added many recipes and smoothies. We use Omega Nutrition Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder. If you’re a ‘Monctonian’, you can find this product at Corn Crib, otherwise check with your local health food store.
*Inside Scoop: So, after the first experiment with this recipe, I was feeling pretty good about myself – this recipe came intuitively to me and I got the exact flavour that I wanted! But ,the texture was a little runny… so I thought I would try to tweak a few things to get the right texture. But that didn’t work out so well, so I tried again. And again… and again… It wasn’t until ‘Experiment #12’ that I finally got the bar that I had envisioned – taste, texture, and all – so I hope you enjoy these little bars of imperfect perfection as much as we do
- ½ cup pumpkin seed protein powder
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds or raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds, raw
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)
- 6 Tbsp natural peanut butter or roasted almond butter
- 3 Tbsp honey (& maybe a few squirts more, if needed)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup dates, pitted
- ¼ cup hot water
- Line a 10"x6" or 8"x8"glass baking dish with wax paper. Set aside.
- In a kettle, heat some water to near boil.
- Place chopped dates in a blender (a magic bullet works well, or immersion blender), add hot water, and cover. Let sit for 10 mins.
- Place all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix together well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together a little bit. (At this point, there won’t be enough wet ingredients to combine with the dry).
- When dates are done soaking, blend on high for about 20 seconds (stopping to scrape down the sides) until you get a date paste. A magic bullet-like blender works really well here.
- Add date paste to dry & wet ingredients. Mix together really well with a large spoon. If you need a little more moisture, add a few extra squirts of honey.
- Spoon ingredients into wax paper-lined baking dish.
- Wet your hand, and smooth out mixture - this prevents the mixture from sticking.
- Refrigerate for 3-24 hours.
- Cut into bars and store in a covered container in fridge (for 10 days) or freezer (for 3 months or more). Place wax paper between the layers of bars to prevent bars from sticking together.
Don’t have pumpkin seed protein powder? If you’d rather use whey protein powder, you can substitute in 1/2 cup whey protein powder and 1/4 cup almond meal in order to get the a nice chewy texture. But, since whey is derived from milk, it is no longer dairy-free. As well, whey contains small amounts of lactose, so if you are really sensitive to lactose, whey could cause digestive upset. Whey protein isolate, however, goes through an extra filtering process to remove the carbohydrate (lactose). If you think you’re lactose intolerant but whey protein isolate still wreaks havoc on your digestive system, then it is likely the whey protein itself that you’re reacting to.