These chewy, fudgy bars are made with the same sweetener used in Quest bars, which can now be purchased for home use. The basic recipe has only two ingredients and can be made in minutes. Endless variations are possible depending on what flavors and add-ins you use. For my first version I used cocoa and chopped nuts. So easy; so good!
2 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (I used MRM brand)
Tiny pinch of salt
¼ cup IMO syrup* (See information and sources below.)
2 tbsp chopped almonds
Grease candy bar molds or a loaf pan, line with parchment paper, and grease paper also or use greased silicone molds or pans. You can also use muffin pans to make round “cookies” rather than bars or you can shape them by hand. Flexible containers made of silicone will facilitate removal. (I have molds for making bars on order, but I made the ones pictured at the top in a 3- x 5-inch loaf pan. If you double the recipe, it will make 4 bars when sliced horizontally.)
Whisk cocoa powder, whey protein powder, and salt together until well blended. Set aside.
Grease a saucepan or microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add syrup to bowl or pan and heat in microwave for about a minute or until bubbly or heat on cooktop until bubbly. Stir in dry ingredients and mix with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon to make a smooth dough. Mix in nuts.
Scrape mixture into molds and smooth top or let cool until it can be safely handled and shape into bars or “cookies.” Place in refrigerator for about an hour or until cold. Bars can be safely stored at room temperature but they will be soft. Refrigerate for firmer texture.
Makes 2 bars or disks. Recipe can be halved for one bar or multiplied for more.
Nutrition data per bar or disk: Cal: 128; Fat: 4.8g; Protein: 14g; Carbs: 15.4g; Net Carbs; 4.3g
BASIC RECIPE FOR FOR ONE PROTEIN BAR
This is the bare bones recipe for making one bar. It can be customized to taste.
2 tbsp IMO syrup
1/4 cup sugar-free sweetened whey protein powder or other protein powder
Optional add-ins and flavors: cocoa, chopped nuts, chopped dried cranberries, citrus zest, sugar-free chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, vanilla or other extract
Make as in above recipe.
Makes 1 bar.
Nutrition data per bar: Cal: 142; Fat: 1.3g; Protein: 23.1g; Carbs: 28.9g; Net Carbs; 3.9g
PROTEIN BARS MADE WITH POLYDEXTROSE
The Protein Cookies shown below were made with polydextrose (PDX) powder rather than IMO syrup and formed in a silicone muffin pan. (I used less cocoa in these, hence the lighter color.)
To use PDX instead of IMO, add the dry PDX powder to an equal amount of water (1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup PDX for making 2 bars) and mix until dissolved. Heat until bubbly and continue as in either recipe above.
PROTEIN COOKIES, (c) 2015, JUDY BARNES BAKER
*Isomalto-oligosaccharides IMO) is a new healthy sweetener that is very similar to one called polydextrose (PDX) that I used in a lot of recipes in my books. Both IMO and PDX are prebiotic, soluble dietary fiber made by breaking down starch into indigestible glucose. The starch can come from corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, tapioca, or other grains or roots. Polydextrose (PDX) is made by treating the starch with vitamin C and is considered to be synthetic. It contains a small amount of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. IMO is made by treating the starch with enzymes, which do not alter the product chemically and allows the manufacturer to say that it is “all natural.”
Neither IMO nor PDX is as sweet as sugar, so you will need to add another sugar substitute to boost the sweetness. The recipes above call for sweetened protein powder, which provides the extra sweetness.
IMO and PDX both contain a lot of fiber and you may need to start slowly and build up a tolerance to avoid gastric repercussions. (Don’t test it just before an important event like a job interview or a first date for example!) Those who have SIBO, IBS or other condition that makes them sensitive to indigestible fibers will need to be especially careful of these products. There is a chart that shows how much of each kind of fiber it contains here: http://vitafiber.myshopify.com/pages/vitafiber-nutritional-information
IMO comes as a syrup or a powder. Vitafiber and Fiberyum are two brand names. The powder can be subbed one for one for sugar in recipes and the syrup can be used like corn syrup. There are lots of recipes on the Vitafiber website.
The brands of PDX that I have used don’t say what kind of starch it is made from, but they do say it contains none of the allergens that must be disclosed on labels, which are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy. It could still be made of corn. Products made with Vitafiber that are advertised as being Paleo friendly are made from tapioca although other kinds are available for use in various products.
PDX is not quite as cheap as it used to be, but still less than IMO. (IMO is cheaper if purchased in larger quantities.)
Below is a list of some sources for IMO and PDX. You may find others. Shop around for the best price: