I am all for a crispy, crunchy granola bar, but sometimes a woman needs something fudgy. And since one of my favorite forms of fudge is peanut butter, why not make a power bar with a creamy, fudgy, peanut buttery texture and flavor?
Why not, indeed!
I am the person who like all sorts of stuff in her ice cream–nuts, chips, swirls, bubblegum, toffee, etc.–and I am the same way with energy bars. I added some toasted pepitas (just put raw ones in a skillet and move/shake–the pan, not you!–for a few minutes until they puff up) and dried cranberries. Hello, delicious.
This recipe spawns from a version of chickpea power bars in my Power Hungry book, but, since the heat is already in the 90s here, I designed the recipe to be a no-bake wonder. Chickpeas are key to this quick and easy recipe, contributing creaminess and nuttiness, as well as structure to hold the bars together.
These bars have vegan protein powder, which boosts the protein, of course, but also balances the moisture in the bars so that you end up with bars instead of fudge sauce. If you do not wish to use it, substitute an equal amount of finely ground oats (you may want to add a bit of stevia, too, to boost the sweetness).
Similarly, if using whey protein, you will need to add some finely ground oats to hold the bars together. Use the same amount of protein called for in the recipe, but also add 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of the ground oats (it will vary by protein powder brand, so eyeball it).
These should definitely be stored in the refrigerator, and while they are great in a lunch bag (a cold-insulated one in summer), they are not the best for sticking into a fanny pack while running or cycling (I can attest!). Enjoy! 🙂
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup packed, very soft dates (about 6-8)
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (or any creamy nut/seed butter, e.g., almond, sunflower seed, tahini)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅔ all-natural vegan, vanilla protein powder (like this, or use your favorite)
- ⅓ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), toasted
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan (e.g. parchment paper, foil, plastic wrap)
- In a large food processor, process the chickpeas, dates, peanut butter, vanilla and salt until smooth, stopping and scraping the sides of processor bowl once or twice.
- Add the protein powder, pepitas and cranberries. Pulse until very well combined and mixture looks like a dough ball (if not, add a bit more protein powder).
- Press mixture evenly into prepared pan.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours or freeze 1 hour until firm. Remove using pan liner and cut into bars, Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (or freeze for up to 2 months).