ABC Energy Bars

Look away now if you want pastries.  I promise something wicked for the next post 😀

Keep reading if you want a low carb snack after a workout that gives you your daily dose of heart healthy nuts and some quality protein.   That tastes good.

These are the first in what is likely to be an ongoing quest for the ultimate protein bar.  I can’t eat manufactured protein bars.  None of us should probably eat them.  They contain hidden sugars and lots of ingredients that sound more like Spakfilla and pesticides than food.  I rant about this all the time.  They also contain ingredients that are often off-limits to people with food intolerances (like me).   So in between making yummy treats, I obsess over what I can make to have after a workout when a protein shake just won’t cut it.

Pop two of these after a workout and you are getting your daily dose of 30 grams of nuts and just under 20 grams of protein and 24 grams of fat.  No trans fats and mostly heart healthy unsaturated goodness.   With a low 2.5 grams of carbs.  Sure, not as much protein as a shake, but they taste better!  They’re also good if you know you are not going to get a chance to eat for a couple of hours, keeping you going and not feeling hungry.

You can use plain old almond butter if you like but I’ve included ABC nut butter here because it forms a complete protein and it’s just so good!  You can use almond, cashew, or any other nut butter you prefer.  Make sure it’s pure nut butter, without nasty unwanted additives 🙂

There is no added sugar and they taste great.  If you want a little sweetness, be guided by how it tastes first and then add a little of your favourite sweetener to it.  I like them as is.  The texture is soft but not chewy, the flavour is nutty with a little spiciness.  Plus there’s all that fabulous chocolate coating.  Use good quality dark chocolate.  I used Valrhona Araguani (72%) but I’ve based the nutritional profile, below, on Lindt Excellence 85%.  Why?  It’s easier to find and would taste fantastic.

Frankly, I was totally surprised at how well these turned out.  SHAZAM!

Plus there is no baking involved so it’s pretty easy.  I haven’t even given directions for properly tempering the chocolate as we’re storing these in the fridge and, let’s face it, we’re not making moulded chocolates here.  Or pretty pastries.

Next protein bar instalment will be for a protein bar that packs a bigger protein hit but is much lower in fat.  That tastes good.  Watch this space.

In the meantime, these are helping me to get through watching stages of the Tour de France late at night.  My sporting tastes make it really hard to be in Australia at this time of year!


(Quick update: for version 2 of these fab bars, check out the recipe for Low Carb Protein Bars – lots of information and variations to suit everyone)

Makes 12 small bars

200 grams ABC nut butter (i.e. almond, brazil nut, and cashew or other favourite nut butter)
50 grams 100% whey protein powder
20 grams 100% pea protein powder
60 grams fat-free plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon roasted wattleseed OR the finely grated zest of 1 orange
60 grams dark chocolate (70% – 85% cacao)

Place all the ingredients, excluding the chocolate, into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  If the mixture is a little too dry, add a little more yoghurt to achieve a consistency that can easily be rolled and patted into bars.

Form twelve small bars and place on a tray lined with silicon paper or foil.  Place in the refrigerator to firm up for about 20 minutes.

Melt 35 grams of the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over gently simmering water.  When melted and smooth, take off the heat and stir in the remaining 15 grams of chocolate until melted, smooth and cooled slightly.

Dip the bars into the chocolate and drain off any excess.   Place each bar on to the lined tray and allow the chocolate to set.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Profile
The values here are a guide only as they will vary slightly depending on what brand of protein powder you use.  But it’s a good guide as they will vary only slightly if you use a good 100% WPI or whey protein complex that is low in carbohydrates and fats.



Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Protein Bars, Special Diet

33 responses to “ABC Energy Bars

  1. Just A Smidgen

    I’m thinking of trying this one out. What brand/flavor of protein powder do you recommend? Some have such a strong flavor they could ruin the bars..and they look so yummy! Also, what is wattleseed and where would I buy that??

    • Thank you, I hope you like them! The whole protein powder flavour thing is one of my issues too. I’m gravitating towards unflavoured now as they are usually too sweet or odd-tasting. The best whey to use would be WPI but any brand of WPI that’s good will have a slightly bitter taste as it’s so pure. A 100% whey complex would be good. The question is always one of quality vs flavour. For quality I’m liking Professional Whey unflavoured but I also use ASN HP-100 WPI (a little bitter). International Protein Synergy 5 is good quality but I find it too sweet. A lot of people swear by Myofusion. It’s a personal preference. I like to go for simple high quality and then I can adjust flavours around it. For Pea Protein, I use Vital Greens 100% Pea Protein Isolate. Choc and vanilla are great, it’s very pure. I use the unflavoured which is fab. See if you can get samples of recommended whey proteins to try out and see which one you prefer. i hope this helps a little.

    • oops forgot about wattleseed … it’s a native australian bushfood! Check out the post on Wattleseed Macarons on the blog. I have some links there for information. You can buy it online if you cannot find it in stores. It’s wonderful but not essential to these bars. grated orange zest is pretty sensational too 🙂

  2. Love this! ABC nut butter is awesome and I’ve never had pea protein before, but I’m intrigued!

  3. Wow these look fantastic, what a great recipe to make yourself! LOVE your blog! 🙂

    • See? this is what makes keeping this blog going so worthwhile!! wow, thank you so much *blush* 🙂
      I hope you like these. More versions to come in future as I muck about on the quest to find the best 🙂

  4. Awesome recipe, these look like they will taste better way better than most manufactured bars. Really glad I came across your site, I’m really enjoying the recipes.

    you mentioned you use ABC nut butter because it forms a complete protein, I just wanted to mention that almond (and most any other nut) butter is a complete protein as well. Further, incomplete proteins will be fine so long as complementary amino acids are consumed at some point throughout the day.

    • Hi, thank you!! yes, I’m aware of the complete and incomplete protein deal. But ABC does taste sooo goood in these! Almond would be fabulous. Walnut and cashew is also great. I don’t mention peanut butter in my recipes because I’m allergic to peanuts. With the whey protein powder in there, it doesn’t matter what nuts you use. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

  5. Hi again! Congrats on making top 9! 😀

  6. wow, those look great! I love nut butter!

  7. I am forever on a quest for low sugar protein bars. Will have to try these out! Pea protein is new to me. Do you have to order it online?

    • I usually get my pea protein powder from health food shops or where I get my whey protein. It is available online very easily. just google it to find your most convenient outlet. I’m with you on the low sugar bars. Definite high five moment when I tasted them and realised they were actually delicious 😉

  8. sarahsmodernbites

    Awesome idea! I want to tackle these for sure sometime soon… I usually buy the Think Thin protein bars because they are all natural sugar free but the majority of it is soy protein (wish they were whey) and it can get expensive to buy protein bars all the time!! I know whey protein gets weird in cold temperatures… would these freeze???

    • i haven’t tried freezing them but it’s worth a shot. maybe freeze one and see what happens? I keep them in the fridge. Had them after a tough workout yesterday and it was nice change from the usual shake. My trainer gave them the thumbs up too and suggested I make them for her clients. Grinning from ear to ear now 😀

  9. These look tasty!!! I abhor manufactured protein bars b/c they just taste so…FAKE. Excited to try these soon!

  10. The timing couldn’t be better for this recipe. I just joined a gym here in Mexico where I live and spent several hours yesterday researching what protein powders they sell here. Mexico immigration forbids buying whey protein powder and krill oil from overseas and having it shipped into Mexico. They do have GNC which sells many brainds, albeit none of my favorite brands. Your protein bars sound like a great solution for me and far better tasting, I’m sure. I’ll be on the lookout for your next protein bar recipe.

    • Thanks….oh I know what it’s like with GNC 😦 Often even if they do have the brand, they won’t have the flavour….ugh! I hope these work for you as well as they do for me. you can flavour them with whatever you fancy too so they’re pretty versatile. Texture is so much better than the cardboardy or teeth shattering chewiness of most bars too!

  11. Nikki

    I’m going to give these a try! Do you need to do the orange zest? Wattleseed isn’t something I’ve heard of here in Canada but I can check! I’m glad you made the top 9 so I found your blog. I am going to try the muscle muffins too!

    • Nope you don’t need either the orange zest or the wattleseed. I just included them as flavours I really liked with nuts. You could add whatever you like really. A little coffee would be great I think. Or anything you prefer 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words. The muffins were good…I need to make more but I might go for my almond blueberry ones with a variation this week. YUM 🙂

  12. These look scrumptious…I’ve been looking for low sugar protein bars, and you have deinitely inspired me to try making some!

  13. Pingback: Low Carb Protein Bars … Working (it) Out | Chocolate Chilli Mango

  14. Pingback: 3.95% of my body weight is 3.6kg | Journey to 75kg

  15. We love these and there’s been a huge response to them on Twitter! Great work 🙂

  16. Lucy

    Hi! Found this recipe on Pinterest and we just made it. They are wonderful! I am so appreciative that you posted these. My girls need to gain some weight and we are gluten-free. These will make a great new snack for us and cheaper than the expensive gluten-free protein bars and snacks we buy now. We used hemp protein in place of both of the other proteins and I added a little cocoa into the mix. We can’t wait to come up with some variations!

    • Hi Lucy, that’s fantastic! yes, I never buy them anymore either. Much better to make your own and the variations are endless.
      I have a fondness for almond with orange and walnut with coffee and … well, lots really 🙂
      Hemp protein powder is brilliant in these too. Don’t ever use rice protein as the flavour is overpowering.
      Lots of high protein, gluten free recipes here and suitable for trying to gain weight healthily (as am I).
      Thank you for the lovely feedback 🙂

  17. Rebecca

    I am gram to cup challanged is the a good conversion chart out there that will help me with the converting the ingredients to cups? these sound so good and I don’t want to mess them up if the ratios are to far off.
    I to find most of the purchased protien ars are pricey and not so tasty to horible.
    Do you have any ideas to increase the fiber to help feel full longer?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I get asked this a lot and my usual response is that I would strongly recommend that you buy a set of kitchen scales. Given they are very affordable, I’d say they are one of the best investments you can make.
      I always use grams as baking, patisserie (and even protein bars!) general require precise quantities and this is hard to achieve with volume measures like cups.
      Otherwise, there are various sites on the internet that can do conversions: gourmetsleuth and onlineconversions are two good ones.
      I totally agree about commercial protein bars. I never buy them. Horrible taste and texture and usually full of dodgy ingredients 🙂
      You could try adding fibre to these bars in small amounts (ie psyllium) but be aware that you will need to add some liquid if you do, as it will absorb moisture a great deal and change the texture. I have found that these are very filling with all the protein and nuts. There is fibre in the nuts as well. Feedback I have received is that others also find them filling. But it’s a personal perspective, for sure.

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