On New Year’s Eve, my family generally celebrates with New York City when the ball drops in Times Square, even though it’s only 9 pm here in California. As a bunch of early birds who rise with the sun, staying up late and feeling groggy the next day lacks any big appeal for us!
We continued the tradition this year, so in the morning on New Year’s Day, I ran errands and grabbed groceries for the weekend before most of our town woke up to avoid any crowds. Although empty roads are practically unheard of in our suburban area, I only saw three cars while driving around—but a rather large number of people out jogging to start working on their New Year’s Resolutions!
After picking up a new bottle of vitamins (I’m a kid at heart and still buy these berry-flavored gummy ones!), I turned to check out the display of energy and protein bars on the same aisle. I spotted familiar flavors like chocolate and peanut butter, as well as some fun ones like salted caramel and cookies ’n cream—and chocolate chip cookie dough developed by Food Network Chef Robert Irvine!
But when I picked up the boxes to check the Nutrition Information, I nearly gasped. Many of the brands contained as much sugar as a candy bar! In addition, they had just as many calories from fat as they did from protein. I suppose some bodybuilders who are bulking up wouldn’t mind, but as for me… When I eat a protein bar, I want it to contain mostly protein!
So I put the boxes back on the shelf and walked out with just my groceries and vitamins, but back at home, I mixed up a batch of these Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Bars to enjoy instead. They have the same flavors as a Reese’s peanut butter cup (so did my last breakfast recipe post—it’s one of my favorite candies!) but no sugar or strange ingredients… And a huge protein punch!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BARS
To make these healthy protein bars, you’ll need a few key dry ingredients, starting with coconut flour. Coconut flour is about 3 times as absorbent as regular flour, so we’ll use a lot less… But that also means it’s extremely important to measure the coconut flour correctly! Too much will quickly dry out your protein bars and make them crumbly. The spoon and level method will work, but I highly recommend a kitchen scale. This is the inexpensive one that I own, and I use it in every recipe that I make for my blog because it ensures that my treats turn out with the perfect taste and texture every time.
Next comes peanut flour. Peanut flour is made from finely ground, partially defatted peanuts, so it contains a lot fewer calories than regular peanut butter, which is perfect for these protein bars! Protein Plus is my favorite brand because it only contains one ingredient: peanuts. Any other brand of peanut flour that only contains roasted peanuts will work, such as JIF peanut powder, but I don’t recommend substituting PB2 because it contains sugar, which can change how the mixture behaves and your protein bars turn out.
For the protein source, you’ll need soy protein isolate (aka powder). I buy Bob’s Red Mill on Amazon, and I actually make a smoothie with it every single day! Unlike many protein powders out there, it only contains the protein source and no added sugar or strange ingredients. You can try substituting other plant-based protein powders, but do not substitute whey-based protein powder. The protein bars will be a gooey, sticky mess and refuse to set with whey.
Unsweetened cashew milk holds the bars together. It’s my favorite milk because it’s thick, creamy, and only 25 calories per cup. Yes, just 25! It works beautifully in baking recipes, too, including almost every recipe of mine that’s on this blog. Cashew milk also makes really great lattes and low-calorie coffee creamers!
Finally, these protein bars are sweetened with liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that’s clean eating friendly. It’s very concentrated, so a little goes a long way! I generally buy this kind because I love its sweet flavor and don’t notice any strange aftertaste, like with some other stevia products. You can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, but I normally buy it online here because that’s the best price I’ve found. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)
Once you’ve mixed together all of the ingredients, you’ll press the mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. This makes removing the bars much easier after chilling, and it also means you don’t have to wash the pan. (Always a good thing in my kitchen!) Then, after a few hours of waiting…
You’ll have protein bars that taste like Reese’s! For about the same number of calories but with NO added sugar… And nearly 10g of protein… Which sounds like pure bliss to me! 😉
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 peanut butter protein bars!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- ¼ cup (28g) coconut flour (measured like this)
- 6 tbsp (45g) peanut flour (measured like this)
- 6 tbsp (30g) soy protein isolate (measured like this)
- 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 tsp liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste)
- 1 tbsp (14g) miniature chocolate chips (divided)
- Line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper. (See photo in blog post above.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, peanut flour, soy protein, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, cashew milk, vanilla, and stevia. 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 Fudgy Brownie Batter Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Mocha Brownie Protein Bars
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Protein Bars
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy snack recipes!