Home-Made Date Nut Protein Bars
Whew, it’s been a crazy few weeks. The new year rolled in like a tank in January of this year, with a lot of new exciting clients and projects. It’s been busy! Now that we are most of the way through February things have slowed down a bit and I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and spend a little time doing all of the other important things that need to be done around the studio: invoicing, prepping tax documents for the accountant, cleaning equipment, repairs, general house keeping … in other words, all of the boring details that go on behind the scenes that aren’t photography. It’s not all fun and games here at the studio … but lets all be honest, my job is more fun than most even when I’m doing administrative work so I’m not complaining.
Spending hours reconciling accounts and tax documents can be tedious though, and it would be very easy to graze my way through a few bags of potato chips or a couple of pounds of chocolate without even thinking about it. To avoid making bad snack choices I usually try to limit the junk food around the studio and make sure I have good stuff on hand. That way I can grab something that is at least nominally nutritious. One of the things I like to keep around is home made-protein bars. A while back I made some delicious black bean protein bars which are basically like nutritious brownies. Below is a recipe for the bars I have been experimenting with lately: Date Nut Protein Bars.
These things are dense and delicious and pack a solid punch of good lean protein along with a little sweetness for when you get a craving a snack. Enjoy!
- 1.5 cups steel cut oats
- 1 cup pitted dates (packed)
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave (or to taste)
- 1 cup unsalted nuts
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or mini chips (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º
- Spread the steel cut oats evenly on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden. This is optional but adds some nice flavor.
- While the oats are toasting, process the dates in a food processor until they are chopped very fine and begin to clump into a ball. This takes longer than you may expect, so stick with it.
- Combine the processed dates, protein powder, peanut butter, honey, nuts and almond milk together in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add the toasted oats to the mixture and combine.
- Line an 8x8 baking pan or Pyrex with parchment, and press the mixture into the pan. Use the back of a spatula to flatten the top and press the mixture into an even thickness.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until edges just start to brown, then allow to cool on a rack. Once cool, cut the bars into any size you like. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap if you like.
If you use a non-sweetened protein powder you may want to add a couple extra tablespoons of honey.