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.
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