Each time I enter Trader Joe’s, I always stick the same 4 things in my shopping basket: bananas (I eat one every day), bagged spinach (ditto), a 3-pack of the red dark chocolate bars (remind me to write the FDA; dark chocolate should really have its own category in the Food Pyramid), and a box of chocolate chip brownie & oat bars.
What? You haven’t tried their chocolate chip brownie & oat bars? Why n…
Oh. Because I bought them all.
For a little while last year, I stocked up on those boxes like a grizzly bear about to hibernate for the winter. I added three, four, five of them into my basket every time—each box containing 6 individual brownie bars—and barely survived through a week or two. My guy made multiple “emergency” trips to TJ’s just for my brownie bars, and the cashiers probably memorized both of our faces from those purchases alone.
“Hey, look! It’s the brownie bar girl again!”
“Wanna bet how many she gets?”
Now that I bake for a living, I’m slightly embarrassed to be that dependent on factory-produced snack bars, so I resolved the make a copycat.
Well, maybe more of a copy-ish cat.
Trader Joe’s, Oroweat, Fiber One, and most other companies offering high-fiber baked goods don’t solely depend on oats or wheat flour as a source and often add in extra as a separate ingredient. To bump up the fiber in my bars, I would’ve needed to special order chicory root extract online, pay an arm and a leg, and wait 2-3 weeks for shipping. I didn’t think you’d want to do that either!
To compensate for less fiber, I added extra protein. I used the Gourmet Chocolate Designer Whey stocked at most TJ’s because it contained the largest amount of protein and the fewest number of calories per 1-scoop serving. If you choose a different brand, the calorie and protein content may change. With this Designer Whey, I more than doubled the amount of protein per bar compared to TJ’s version!
Finally, I made my bars fudgier than TJ’s because that’s the way I like my brownies! (See here and here.) The ooey gooey middles melt in your mouth, leaving you licking your fingers and reaching for another well.
That’s my personal experience, anyway.
My Chocolate Chip Brownie & Oat Bars are one of the healthiest snack bars you’ll ever make. They’re clean-eating friendly, low calorie, and packed with 6.5 grams of protein. Plus that taste like ooey gooey rich dark chocolate dessert brownies.
Running to your kitchen yet?