During my second quarter of college, I had such a low priority for picking classes that I ended up with a three-hour block of lectures starting at 7:30 am two days each week. Even worse, my chemistry lab ended at 10 pm the night before, so I barely had time to bike home, finish the post-lab questions, and fall asleep before my alarm rang.
That was the winter quarter too, where the sun rose just as class started. Pretty rough!
Since I knew I’d collapse on my bed as soon as I arrived back at my room, I started to pack my running shoes in my bag and stopped by the gym for a workout after class ended. The building was fairly empty at that time of day, so I could always snag my favorite equipment and machines.
Because I had poured myself a small bowl of cereal for breakfast nearly four hours earlier, my stomach usually began rumbling a little bit before I walked through the doors of the gym. My stomach would cramp if I ate too much before a workout, so I tucked a granola bar into my backpack to nibble on during the last few minutes of class to get me through my run.
I usually turned to those 100-calorie ones with either lots of chocolate (I am a chocoholic, after all!) or a fruit and yogurt blend. The grocery store near my apartment often placed those varieties on sale, making it easy to stock up on snacks. Back then, I was mainly looking for a quick energy boost that tasted good too!
But now, I prefer my snack bars to pack in more protein to keep my stomach feeling full and my muscles happy as well. When I realized this past spring just how easy it was to make my own, I started brainstorming different flavors to try… And these Healthy Fudgy Brownie Protein Bars were at the top of the list!
Yes, healthy protein bars that taste like dessert… They’re a dream come true!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY BROWNIE PROTEIN BARS
This super easy protein bar recipe starts with three main dry ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, and protein powder. Coconut flour behaves very differently than normal flours because it’s three times as absorbent, so it’s extremely important to measure the coconut flour correctly. Any extra will dry out the protein bars and make them crumbly. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure! This is the inexpensive one that I own, and I use it for every recipe that I make for this blog.
Note: The spoon-and-level method will work too, but a kitchen scale is much more accurate!
For the protein powder, I turned to one of my all-time favorites: Bob’s Red Mill soy protein powder. Unlike many other protein powders, this one contains only one ingredient… Soy protein! No crazy ingredients, sweeteners, or preservatives. This soy protein powder is also essentially flavorless, making it a great backdrop for recipes. And it’s relatively inexpensive too! I buy mine in bulk from Amazon because I go through it so quickly.
You’re more than welcome to try substituting other protein powders, but this recipe was specifically designed for plant-based protein powder. Whey-based protein powders will NOT work! They’ll turn the mixture into a sticky mess than never sets, so save those whey-based protein powders for these muffins or these cookies instead!
These bars are sweetened with two stevia-based sweeteners: granular Truvia and powdered stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener, but since it occasionally can have a slight aftertaste, I prefer to use a blend of different brands to reduce the chance of any funky flavors in this easy recipe. Certain brands are more expensive than others, so combining a few different types also helps reduce the cost!
After you’ve mixed together the dough, simply press it into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan. Use a spatula to do this! The dough will stick to your hands… But I won’t judge if you lick your fingers. 😉 To ensure the parchment paper stays in place, I use binder or bag clips. (You can see them in the photo above!)
Then pop the pan in the refrigerator to chill and set. It’s pure torture to wait, especially for chocoholics like me who always seem to have a huge out-of-control craving, but…
When it means your healthy snack secretly tastes like brownies, I promise it’s worth the wait! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy brownie protein bars!
Healthy Fudgy Brownie Protein Bars
- ¼ cup (28g) coconut flour (measured like this)
- 6 tbsp (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- 6 tbsp (30g) soy protein powder (see Notes!)
- 3 tbsp (37g) Truvia (see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tsp powdered stevia (see Notes!)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp (150mL) unsweetened cashew milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp (14g) miniature chocolate chips
- Line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper. (See photo in blog post above.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, protein powder, Truvia, stevia, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, cashew milk, and vanilla. Add in the coconut flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated. Fold in half of the chocolate chips.
- Press the mixture into the prepared pan using a spatula, and gently press the remaining chocolate chips into the top. Chill for at least 3 hours before slicing into bars.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Mocha Brownie Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Brownie Energy Bites
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bites
♡ Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites
♡ Healthy Dark Chocolate Strawberry Energy Bites
♡ Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Energy Bites
First of all: all the best for 2018! I just tried this recipe and waiting to taste them. I did not have coconut oil, so I used an orange-flavoured olive oil (I’m hoping to get a chocolate bar with a hint of orange). Now I was wondering: do you use coconut oil to firm up the bars, as it is a solid at room temperature ?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Hans! Since there’s so little coconut oil in these bars, it doesn’t have a major impact on their texture. As long as you used the same exact ingredients as I did (with the orange-flavored olive oil as the only substitution!), your protein bars should have the correct texture. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how they turned out!
Laura Poole says...
Can I bake this so it’s like actual brownies instead of just the batter?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Laura! These protein bars aren’t meant to be baked. If you baked them, they’d turn out much too dry. The “brownie batter” reference is actually to their flavor — not their texture! They already have a fudgy, brownie-like texture as written. 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think if you try them!
Laura Poole says...
I have tried them and thought they were delicious. Just wanted a way to solidify them a bit so I can eat them on the go a bit more without them coming apart as easily. Can you reccomend any alterations to achieve this?
Oh! I see — I’m sorry for the confusion! If you’ve already made them before and the texture is too soft, then I think baking at 300°F for a short amount of time might be okay. You can also put a bar in the freezer for a few minutes before eating to help it firm up too! 🙂
I’m about to try this recipe and was wondering if I can use almond flour instead..?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Marcela! I actually cover this exact question on my Protein Powder FAQ Page, and there’s a link to it at the bottom of the Notes section (located directly underneath the Instructions). I know it can be easy to miss that link! 😉 I can’t wait to hear what you think of these protein bars if you try them! 🙂
Would you happen to have the nutrition facts for these??
Yes! The full nutrition information is already included directly beneath the recipe. It can be easy to miss! 😉 I’d love to hear what you think if you try these protein bars Stephanie!
Can anything be subbed for the protein powder?
(I already looked at your protein powder FAQ page)
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Cacey! This recipe was specifically designed for protein powder. If you’re just looking for plain brownies, then I have a wide selection of brownie recipes here! You’re welcome to try substituting your preferred flour, but I haven’t personally tried and don’t know how that will turn out. I’d love to hear what you think if you try that — or any of my brownie recipes! 🙂
Thanks so much! I would love to try these. If I sub flour for the protein powder, what flour would you recommend?
It’s my pleasure Cacey! Oat flour would probably be the first thing I’d try. 🙂
My turns out like a play dough texture after staying in the fridge for over three hours. Any suggestions?
It means a lot that you tried my recipe, Chris! I’m happy to help figure out why that might be. In order to do so, I have some questions for you! 🙂
Did you make any substitutions or modifications to the recipe, including those listed in the Notes section?
Did you use a kitchen scale or measuring cups/spoons to measure all of the ingredients?
Did you use the exact same protein powder that I did?
What brands of coconut flour and unsweetened cocoa powder did you use?
What was the mixture’s texture like before pressing it into the pan and chilling?
By “play dough,” do you mean it was tough or gummy — rather than moist and fudgy? (I just want to make sure I fully understand what the consistency was like! 🙂 )
How was the flavor? Was that okay, and it was just the texture that was off?
I know I just asked a LOT of questions, but I’ll have a better idea of the culprit once I know your answers to all of them!