Chocolate Orange Protein Fudge Bars

You ever get one those moments when you think “OMG!  I’m not a total moron!  I’m a freaking GENIUS!!” ???

Just me?  Huh.  Just as well, they’re extremely rare.  No need to call the authorities … yet  😀

It’s just that sometimes the stars align perfectly and a miracle happens and shazam, you have yourself the most amazing protein dessert breakfast fudge bar ever.  Sure, I experimented a few times to get it just right but … it’s an outright unabashed chocolate orange proteingasm.

The texture is incredibly moist and fudgy.  The chocolate and orange flavours just explode like a flavour supernova in your mouth.  Wonderful by itself.  Top it with some vanilla cinnamon casein cream and … you’d better be sitting down so you don’t swoon and hit the ground with a thud.  Seriously.  It’s even better if you leave it in the fridge overnight before serving.  I say it every time but … you really don’t have to sacrifice flavour to make it clean and healthy nor do you have to fool yourself by using artificially enhanced powders and ingredients.

Best of all … check out the nutritional profile below.  Yes, I triple checked … where’s the fat?  Barely there.  Look at all the fibre and protein.  Now, I’m being a bit self-serving here because I’m trying to make as many protein snacks as I can that won’t derail my attempts to cut a little body fat without compromising lean muscle mass.  Sound familiar?  I thought I’d be clever and go chocolate free for a week as part of this whole deal.  Well, that lasted all of about three hours.  I mean, who was I kidding?  Me?  Chocolate free?  Ha!  Especially as I’ve been watching the World Chocolate Masters 2011 competition live online every day … *sigh*

More good news.  You don’t need mad baking skills either.  All you need is a miracle food processor … and a little time to throw it all together before putting it in the oven while you head off to do something else while it bakes.


Just a suggestion.  I mean, this plus fudge bars makes muscle do its stuff, right?  🙂

I used a blood orange because I love the flavour.  Use your favourite orange variety but try the blood orange if you can.  It’s too wonderful.  Boiling the orange beforehand is the same method as used in the classic flourless orange almond cake you might be familiar with (by Claudia Roden).  Normally, you’d boil the orange for an hour or two.  I’ve reduced that down to 20 minutes as I’d rather keep some of that rawness and freshness of the orange.  It does indeed give a better flavour.

For the cacao, you can use either a raw cacao powder or your favourite unsweetened cacao.  I often use raw cacao for this stuff but yesterday I opened a fresh bag of Valrhona cacao powder.   Valrhonagasm.  The macros are almost identical so it makes no difference.

Pea protein gives the best result, or a 50/50 ratio of pea and micellar casein.  If you use whey protein concentrate, be aware that whey does tend to dry out baked goods and results might vary depending on the brand you use.  There is quite a lot of difference between them.  Do not use whey isolate for baking.  Just don’t.  Trust me.

When you look at the recipe, you’ll notice cannellini beans as an ingredient.  Say what???  Don’t panic.  The bars taste nothing like beans.  But they do add moisture, protein, and fibre.  The bean maketh the bar.  Cannellini beans are also great as they have a higher protein content than most and are a great source of fibre.  The flavour is also very mild so when baked into the bars, it’s completely gone.   Canned beans should be drained and rinsed well under running water.

For the casein pastry cream, I’ve used unflavoured micellar casein by Professional Whey.  I love their protein powders and will never use the flavoured stuff again.  No spakfilla ingredients, no funny sugar substitutes or other ingredients that sound like biological weapons.  This is CLEAN folks.  If you use the other flavoured stuff, the macros might be different.  So factor that in, if it’s important.

Lastly, because I use unflavoured protein powders (why doesn’t everyone?), I added a little maple syrup.  I like it because it’s lower in carbohydrates than sugar and frankly, you can use stevia if you like so the total carb content will be a little lower (but not much).  I occasionally use stevia but I think it tastes weird so … and maple syrup has a more subtle sweetness.  The orange also adds a little sweetness.  These bars are not very sweet though.  If you have an issue with the craving of the sugar … add more or use this as a great way to wean yourself off it.  Yeah.

Yada yada yada … it’s also gluten free and nut free so run amok and enjoy!

They’re incredibly delicious.  Told you.  Genius.

Makes 4 to 6 bars  (I know some dudes who’d eat the entire thing in one sitting … it’s all good)

Chocolate Orange Bars
1 medium orange
120 grams egg white
100 grams canned cannellini beans (drained and rinsed well)
110 grams non-fat quark or cottage cheese (< 0.1%)
30 grams unsweetened cacao
40 grams unflavoured pea or whey protein powder
40 millilitres (2 tablespoons) 100% pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon natural bitter almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla Cinnamon Casein Cream
60 grams unflavoured casein (I use Professional Whey Micellar Casein)
5 millilitres (1 teaspoon) 100% pure maple syrup
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon

cacao nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 165℃.

I used a 24cm x 7cm bar tin to make this, as it was the perfect size to then cut into  4 bars (or 6 smaller slices).  You can use small individual molds to make bars if you prefer, or double the recipe and use a 20cm square baking dish.  Whatever you do, line the tin with strips of non-stick silicon baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the orange in a saucepan and cover with fresh water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, until the orange is soft.  Drain and set the orange aside to cool.  When cooled, cut the orange into quarters and remove the white pith in the centre and any pips you find.  Cut the quarters into half again.  We will be using the orange, zest and all.  But no pips … that’s just nasty when biting into a bar 🙂

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  This includes the cooled orange segments.  Process until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.  The baking time depends on the size of the tin but also your oven.  You want to underbake these bars and not overbake them, so that they will keep that lovely moist, fudgy texture that melts in your mouth.   They are ready if you insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out with very moist crumbs attached.  They might be a little creamy but not like uncooked batter.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tin.  Remove the bar gently by lifting it out of the tin using the baking paper overhang as leverage.

Cut into bars.  Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.  It will keep for a couple of days … if you don’t eat it all beforehand!

This is the texture of the bars – very moist, fudgy, and flecked with tiny delicious bits of orange.  Mmmmmm … resistance is useless.

Look! Moist fudgy goodness ... orange bits!

Casein Cream
Place the casein powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a bowl.  Add a little water, about 80 millilitres or so.  Use a whisk to stir and then whisk it all until smooth.  Add more water, a little at a time, until the consistency is of a thick cream.  The amount of water that you need depends on the casein powder used, as they absorb liquid differently.  I stopped adding water when it got to a lovely pastry cream consistency … like custard.

Cover and refrigerate the cream until ready to use.  Spoon the cream on top of each bar to serve as a dessert.  For diehard cacao lovers, sprinkle a few cacao nibs on top.  Looks spesh, adds that little extra cacao OOOMPH!

If you’re like me, this makes a wicked post-workout breakfast 😀

Nutritional Profile
I’ve included the macros both with and without the casein cream topping.  If you use a flavoured casein, you might not need the vanilla and maple syrup.  If so, just add the macros for the powder you use.  Easy.



Filed under All Recipe Posts, Bars & Slices, Chocolate, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bars, Protein Cakes, Special Diet

48 responses to “Chocolate Orange Protein Fudge Bars

  1. Pingback: Chocolate Orange Protein Fudge Bars - Ausbb - Australian BodyBuilding

  2. Lady, you ARE a genius. AND I’m making cupcakes with black frosting for a group of dancers this week (inspired by your Audrey cupcakes). You’ve. Made. My. Week.

  3. Mmmmg fudgey goodness! AND less than 100 calories per serve? Hell yes!!!

  4. Thank you for the lovely comments, gorgeous peeps! I hope you enjoy these!! 🙂 xxx

  5. “The bean maketh the bar.” 🙂 Genius in your writing, too!

  6. Oh YES! YES! YES! So trying this. Hmmm that’s 4 things on the list so far! What to tackle first?

    • don’t think I don’t know you are laughing at me…. ROFL
      always go with the proper butter sugar stuff first so you can then do penance happily and deliciously with the other stuff later…so the whole guilt thing stays balanced 🙂

      ps go audrey…

  7. spoonfulofsugarfree

    Wow. You are totally a freaking genius 😀 That brownie looks ridiculously moist. YUUUUUM

  8. The only thing that would make these better? If we had a plate right now.

    We love these.

  9. oh my those look delish…
    any chance i could leave the eggs out or sub in something else? i’m allergic.

    • Hi, I wouldn’t leave them out entirely as the recipe won’t work at all. If you have something you usually substitute for egg white, I would try that and see how it works. I’m not sure what works well as I’ve not ever substituted anything directly for eggs. I understand that a mixture of oil with something else sometimes works? I’m sorry I can’t be much help. I have a number of allergies and food intolerances myself but eggs is not one of them so have not been compelled to experiment. The egg white is important for me in this recipe as it provides some of the protein. But even if you sub something for it, there is still a nice protein hit in them, if that is important to you.

  10. Hey,
    I’m a Gastronomy student and I’m making these for a foodie gathering.. These just look like fudgy brownies, only better! 😀
    And as calories are one of my greatest concerns in life, 100 cals per bar is just beyond awesome ❤

    I just discovered your blog from dessert stalking, I'm an Hepburn obsessive so your Audrey cupcakes catched my eye! 😀

    • Why thank you!!! I hope you enjoy them…gosh I wonder about your foodie friends…these protein recipes tend to be at the other end of the scale for the typical foodie! What? no butter? no sugar??? LOL Maybe the truffle brownies would be better for them and you can sneak these in for yourself 😀
      I hope you enjoy them.
      PS Lovely to meet another Audrey obsessive! x

      • hehe I couldn’t wait till next week, made these already today 😀 I’m yet to slice them , but looks wonderfully fudgy!
        hehe they’re just Gastronomy students, and this thing tastes yummy(yes I tasted the batter lol) I actually have a fudgy brownie recipe but this looks more fudge than brownie, which is what I want! 🙂 AND I won’t share the recipe thehehe
        I’m on a deadly diet lol, tomorrow a 100 cal bar will be my breakfast 😀 and all day food, other than stuffed wine leaves :S
        You know what I even have a hepburnesque cigarette holder 😀

      • That is awesome!! If you are looking for high protein, lower fat, I’ve got a few recipes in the protein section you might like…my faves are the cocoa raspberry cakes…like flourless choc cake with raspberries…mmmm. 😀
        Have fun at your foodie function, I hope they are a hit!!!

        PS I’m extremely jealous of the cigarette holder and I don’t even smoke…LOL But I do have a Holly Golightly style dress…. :))) we are tragics…

      • Deb

        could i please have a copy of the recipes in the protein section
        many thanks Deb

      • Hi Deb,
        I emailed back to you asking if you were having trouble printing them? I’m still not sure why you need a special copy?

      • Deb

        I am new 2 this site as you know. i am sorry but your email did not arrive
        cheers deb

      • Deb

        Thank you your email arrived this morning
        Cheers Deb

      • Oh great! Not sure what happened to last week’s one!

        I hope the pea protein info was helpful 🙂

  11. thehe I must try them! 🙂
    Thank you ❤ , actually I have my birthday before that, tomorrow hehe!
    I'm making my birthday cake myself 😀 It's a french cheesecake, with macaron tower on top!
    hehe I would love a dress like hers!!
    send me your email and I'll send you a pick of me with my cigarette holder 🙂 And and I definately want to see your dress! 🙂

    • Happy Birthday for tomorrow Ceren!!! Birthday cake plans sound fabulous … email is on the about me page: chocolatechillimango[at]gnaritas[dot]com[dot]au
      My dress is not a replica of hers but it’s a style reminiscent of it…gosh, I have to dig it out of the wardrobe….so long since I’ve worn it…. but do send a pic of the cig holder!! Very 50s….uber cool 😀

  12. Cat

    Hi! I’m a newbie to your blog! Any ideas as a replacement for non-fat quark? I’m not sure where you are located, I’m in the States…non-fat sour cream? LOVE the sound of this recipe!! I’m on a kick ass program right now and throwing in something different for a snack is going to be awesome! I can’t wait to go through your recipes! (looks like I’ll get quite a bit of practice with conversions as well!)

    • Oh wow, thank you! Welcome! I hope you enjoy the recipes 🙂
      For the non-fat quark, you can easily substitute low fat ricotta or low/non fat cottage cheese. They’re probably the best bets.
      If you can’t get those, a non fat sour cream might work but I’d probably drain it (line a colander with paper towels, pour in the sour cream, cover and drain for a few hours) to give the right consistency.
      You could do the same with yoghurt.
      There are a lot of sites with online conversions that are really helpful. I might have to start working in the conversions on the blog at some stage!

  13. Cat

    I found quark! Yesterday, at Whole Foods Market! Now….to tackle the conversions!! LOL I’m determined to make these!! hahaha!
    Thanks so much for the substitution info also!
    I see yummy, gooey, chocolate in my future!! :))))

  14. Marie

    This looks delicious! Is there anything I could substitute for the orange?

    • You could omit the orange if you don’t like it, although it does add a lot to the flavour and texture. I guess you could experiment with adding some yoghurt or something? Maybe add some lemon zest and definitely some almond extract. The orange is fairly central to it though. Give it a go and see what it turns out like…

  15. Looks sooo good 🙂 I love when you can make decadently delicious food healthy.

  16. Made it with unflavored hemp protein (it’s what I had on hand) and added a little cinnamon and cayenne. Changed the nutrition profile a little bit (little less protein, a little more fiber). Nice change from the usual cardboard protein bars!

  17. Pingback: Frosted Caramelly Protein Muffins | Chocolate Chilli Mango

  18. Deb

    Hi my name is Deb. I live in Tasmania, Australia.
    I came across this blog and love it. could you please help me girls. i would like to make chocolate orange protein fudge bars. i called the health food store here and the pea protein is $60 for one kilo. oh my god. have read about the peanut flour, almond meal, coconut flour and rice flour, oatmeal flour.. I am going 2 the health food shop tonight. not sure what is available here in tassie. apart from the pea which would be the next best 2 use.
    many thanks for your time

    • Hi Deb,
      you’re probably looking at the Vital Protein brand, right? yes, it’s a great product but seriously overpriced. I get most of my protein powders from Professional Whey now as they have a commitment to high quality protein powders and have recently introduced a pea protein isolate into their range, which is amazing. It’s also retailing for $35.95 for 1kg, almost half the price but as good or better quality.
      You can buy it online directly from professional whey. They also have discounts based on volume (i tend to buy my WPI in bulk from them and it’s great value). here is the link:

      If that doesn’t suit you, you could try rice protein powder but all protein powders are not cheap. If you don’t care about the protein so much, you could substitute a plain flour of your choice.

      We can’t seem to get peanut flour here in Australia…have you found a source for it?? If so, please email me with details!!! I’m desperately trying to find it! So many ideas!!

      I hope this helps 🙂

      • DEB

        thank you so much for your reply. i still have one more store 2 try tomorrow.
        as for the peanut flour i just found it for you. Protein plus : roasted natural powdered peanut flour. log onto type in peanut flour . cat – food .it can be purchased in australia (melbourne). price is quite reasonable. cheers deb
        i hope this is what you are looking for. i did find another site overseas.
        byrdmill brand.
        you may like 2 have a look
        cheers deb

      • Ah thank YOU, Deb!
        I will look them up today!

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