PROTEIN BARS


The recipe for these bars is one my favorites from
Nourished. They make a healthful addition to your repertoire of holiday cookies as well as great bars for snacking. Wrap them in parchment paper and then in foil to use as a portable lunchbox treat, much less expensive than purchased protein bars.

Ingredients:
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. (1½ ounces) almond flour or meal
1 cup (about 4 ounces) of almonds, pecans, walnuts, or a mixture
½ cup (1 ounce) unsweetened, flaked coconut
¼ cup (2 ounces) creamy nut or seed butter, such as peanut or almond,, such as  pumpkin or tahini
¼ cup coconut oil or use part butter
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1½ tsp. sugar-free vanilla extract
¼ cup (3½ ounces) powdered erythritol
High-intensity sweetener, like stevia or sucralose, equal to 2 tbsp. of sugar
¼ cup (1 ounce) sugar-free, vanilla whey protein powder
1 large egg, beaten with a fork
¼ cup sugar-free, dried cranberries, chopped or snipped into pieces

¼ cup (1 ounce) sugar-free chocolate chips or chopped chocolate candy bar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325º  F. Grease an 8- x 8-inch pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the almond flour or meal. Spread nuts and coconut on a shallow baking pan and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown. Let cool.

While nuts are toasting, place nut or seed butter and coconut oil in a heat-safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds or heat in a small saucepan on stovetop until melted.

Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Add salt, vanilla, and liquid sweetener. Whisk or sift dry sweetener, whey protein powder, and reserved nut flour or meal together until blended. Stir into nut butter and coconut oil mixture.

Place cooled nuts and coconut in bowl of food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, leaving some chunks for texture. Stir chopped nuts into batter. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Press bar mixture evenly into pan. Bake at 325º F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until brown around the edges. Don’t overcook. Any oil standing on the top should be absorbed as the bars cool. Sprinkle with a little more almond flour if necessary.

Let cool in pan and slice into 16 squares. For easier cutting, chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate for a firmer texture.

Makes 16 servings.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 3.3 grams; Protein: 4.7 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Fat: 12.8 grams; Calories: 147

Recipe adapted from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance

(c) 2013, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwarsblog, com

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