GF/CF Protein Bars

Power up! 

Protein bars are so handy, and a fast way to fill up with punch and power. Annie and Sam, my two in college, like to grab something in the morning and eat it on the way to class. These protein bars are also perfect for a study or work break - a slow-burning power plant of energy.

It’s kind of hard to find a good tasting protein bar that doesn’t have some sort of gluten or dairy involved, and doesn't taste like cardboard. So, I make my own. This recipe is loosely based on Alton Brown’s Protein Bar recipe. I stuffed them with more dried fruit and some nuts, substituted soy yogurt and applesauce for the tofu, agave instead of brown sugar, hemp milk instead of apple cider. I changed his recipe according to our food sensitivites and our tastes. That’s the beauty of this recipe. You can use any combination of dried fruits and nuts, or substitutions of other ingredients, according to what you like. I have added dried mangoes, pineapple, papaya, and my kids are especially pleased when I add a cup of chocolate chips. I have also used mashed ripe bananas instead of applesauce, and orange juice instead of hemp milk. The agave is optional because there is already a lot of sweetness in the mix from the dried fruit, applesauce, and vanilla yogurt. The texture? Dense, moist, chewy.

These bars are substantial. Besides all the vitamins and minerals in the ingredients, check out all the different protein sources - protein powder, quinoa flour, nuts, yogurt, hemp milk, eggs, and peanut butter. And what about all those omega fatty acids and fiber in the hemp and flax, and antioxidents and fiber in the dried fruit. Wow.

Power up your oven right now!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Protein Bars

from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2010

1 cup non-dairy protein powder (I use hemp protein powder)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup raisins (I use a mixture of golden and brown)
1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried wild blueberries
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 container soy or coconut yogurt (vanilla flavor)
1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 cup hemp milk
1/4 cup blue agave nectar (optional)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup peanut butter

Lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, millet flour, quinoa flour, flax meal,  xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the dried fruit and nuts. Set aside.

In a third mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and applesauce together. Add the hemp milk, agave, eggs, and peanut butter, whisking after each addition. Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit mixture. The dough will be stiff. (It will also be green if you use hemp protein powder. Don't worry, the green turns to brown as it bakes.) Spread it in the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, then freezer bags, and freeze what you won’t be eating within a few days.

Ingredients note: Use organic, non-GMO ingredients.

Go crazy with the dried fruit and nuts. Use your favorite combination, as long as the total amount of dried fruit and nuts is not more than 5 cups. And an added cup of chocolate chips would not be a terrible thing.

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