Category Archives: Bars & Slices

Tangy Lime and Coconut Crumble Bars

Lime & Coconut Low Fodmap Bars_6107_wm_4x5

It can sometimes take a long time to come full circle on a promise.  Sometimes, it can take a full fifteen months before you make good and deliver … *whistles as she looks around aimlessly, avoiding eye contact with the computer screen*.  Remember those yummy Coconut & Lime Bars I posted in October 2011?  I mentioned then that I usually make two kinds. The kind I posted then and a more tangy version, where the lime is the star of the filling.  I kept meaning to post the tangy one … but … ummmm … *looks away again, whistling nervously*

So here I am, fifteen months have flown by, and we’re all of us a little older.  I’m still making lime and coconut bars from time to time, but am finally posting the recipe.    With a bit of luck on my side, I managed to get a few minutes to take some snapshots of said bars before they started to disappear.  Literally.  Two to three minutes :-/  They are popular in this household.  Which is rather flattering, I know, but it was also a little annoying today.   You see, I made them for me this time.  I have gone back to the beginning with a low FODMAP elimination diet as I have had some random flare ups and just wanted to know why.  Having an intolerance to fructose, fructans, and polyols is a harsh restriction on one’s diet (especially when one loves mangoes so much one uses the word in the name of her blog, right?).

Most of the time, I am happy to bake up a storm, knowing I can have a small amount and let others reap the benefit of my labours.  Today, I needed to bake a treat that I could enjoy, due to the frustration of having another food intol fail, despite adhering to strict elimination diet guidelines.  Well, I guess, I may just be reacting to something that others generally tolerate well.  Frustration is a good thing to work off in the kitchen and tomorrow is another day, so the upside of this story is that

WE HAVE LIME AND COCONUT CRUMBLE BARS!!!

These bars are very different to the standard sturdy citrus bar.  The crust is quite soft and thinner than your usual bar.  Much more like a soft pastry crust.  The filling is curd-like in texture and tangy with lime juice and zest.  You don’t have to top it all off with the coconut crumble but it adds another dimension and more texture to the bar, especially as the crust is so thin.  This is more a dessert than a snack bar … fabulous with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, crème fraîche, cream, or ice cream, or just on its own.

The coconut sugar gives the crumble and crust a lovely toffee-like flavour.  You don’t have to use coconut sugar.  If you prefer, this recipe works well with granulated white sugar for the crumble and crust, and icing sugar in the filling.  In truth, that is how this recipe began.  I just made the coconut sugar variation today … looking at the bars when cut, I was reminded of hazel eyes … all green and golden brown.

You can make the coconut crumble topping ahead of time.  Cover and refrigerate it until ready to use.

These bars are gluten-free and low FODMAP, except for anyone with a lactose intolerance, as butter is an ingredient of the crumble and crust layers.  I have suggested coconut butter as a substitute, or use whatever you love best in place of the butter.  They are also tree nut free.

I hope you enjoy these … despite the very very long wait!

Makes 12

Ingredients
Coconut Crumble
25 grams unsalted butter, softened*
15 grams coconut flour
25 grams granulated coconut sugar OR granulated white sugar

Crust
110 grams unsalted butter, softened*
75 grams granulated coconut sugar OR granulated white sugar
50 grams coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

*If you are lactose intolerant, substitute coconut oil for the butter.  Make sure the coconut butter is solid at room temperature before using.

Lime Filling
235 grams whole eggs (about 5 x 50g in the shell)
125 grams icing sugar OR granulated coconut sugar
80 millilitres lime juice (about 4 limes)
4 grams lime zest, finely grated (from 4 limes)
30 grams coconut flour
green food colouring (optional)

Instructions
Coconut Crumble
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Stir through the sugar until well combined.  If making ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Crust
Line a 20cm square cake tin with silicone baking paper.  Use a shallow pan or one with removable sides for easier removal of the bars.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and the sugar is dissolved.  Add the coconut flour and salt, and mix until it comes together.  Press the dough into the base of the prepared tin.  Dust your fingers with coconut flour as the dough is soft and slightly sticky.  The crust layer will be quite fine.  You could roll it out but I have found it easier to press into the tin as the dough does not roll out easily as it is quite soft.  Chill for 20 to 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180℃.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until golden.  Remove from the oven.

Lime Filling
In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar (whichever one you use) until light.  Add the lime juice and zest, and the coconut flour.  Whisk until smooth.  The filling is quite fluid.  If you wish to add a little food colouring, do so now.  I don’t add it, but it’s a matter of preference.

Pour the filling over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Sprinkle the coconut crumble over the top as evenly as possible.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 12 to 15 minutes, until the filling is set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.  You can cut the bars when cool but it is much easier to chill the bars before slicing.  Use a pallet knife to lift them gently off the base of the pan, as the crust is very soft.

Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to five days.

Lime & Coconut Low Fodmap Bars_6106_wm_5x7
Lime & Coconut Low Fodmap Bars_6109_wm_1x1

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

Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Blondies

Dear Reader,

I have sinned.  It’s been fifty-four days since my last blog post … and my guilt and remorse are of astronomical proportions.

I’m sure you’ve all moved on with your lives while I’ve been in the process of having my blog site totally revamped with a brand new look and a stylish and witty logo (the logo is fabulous. I love it!).  It is taking longer than I had originally anticipated (doesn’t everything in life?).  But we’re working hard on it because it has to be just right.  For you … and for me.   It’ll be worth the wait.  I promise 🙂

I really shouldn’t post anything right now.  But … but … I’ve hung on to this recipe for, like, forever, and it’s just screaming to be shared with you.   I was going to post this after the blog is relaunched and well, it is still going to be there as the new site takes over.  Only now you get these bars as a pre-launch bonus!

Because these are sensational bars.  Banana.  Chocolate.  Coconut.  Chocolate chips.  More chocolate is good.  There has been a lot of chocolate in my kitchen over the last month or two … and sure, I’ve posted a few chocolate protein brownies lately.

Well, not lately.  Fifty four days ago at least  :O

Let’s not go there … let’s just move over to something sweet and oh so bad for you but oh so good.   A little wicked indulgence.  Plus, they’re not brownies.  They’re blondies!
Are they gluten-free?  Absolutely.

Are they dairy free?  Yes, they most certainly are.

Are they low FODMAP?  Heck yeah!  You think I make these so I can watch everyone else eat them while I look on, in deprivation and despair?  I’m crazy but I still have my wits about me 😉

You want some of that gooey, sweet lusciousness?  Yes?  Of course, you do.   Here you go then …

Enjoy 🙂

Makes 9 blondies

Ingredients
210 grams very ripe banana, flesh only (about 4 small or 2 very large)
125 grams soft brown sugar
155 grams (3 large) whole eggs
75 grams virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
50 grams coconut flour
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free)
60 grams good quality dark chocolate chips

60 grams good quality dark chocolate or couverture at 70%
shredded coconut (I use organic unsweetened coconut)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line the base and sides of a 20 centimetre square pan with non-stick baking paper.  Set aside.

Cut the banana into pieces or mash with a fork.  Place the banana in the large bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the brown sugar to the bowl.  Mix on low to medium speed until the banana and sugar are creamy and mostly smooth.  It doesn’t have to be 100% smooth, a little banana texture is a grand thing!

Add the eggs and mix until smooth.  Add the coconut oil, coconut flour, vanilla, and baking powder.  Mix until smooth.

Finally add the chocolate chips and mix or fold them in.

Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until just golden and set.  The blondies should still be soft but just cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool until just warm, in the tin, on a wire rack.   Trim the edges if you like (I do) and cut into nine bars.

They are fantastic even in their undressed state … actually, they are really good like this while still warm and topped with banana ice cream.

Good, huh?  What, you still need persuading?  Here it is …

They’re also pretty darn good dressed up.  With chocolate.  What else?  Seriously, what were the odds? 😛

The amount of chocolate for decorating these is merely a rough guide.  It depends on how much chocolate drizzle you wish to add … or just smear it on because, hey, you’re not taking pictures of it … you just want to eat them, right?  RIGHT!

Anyway, melt the chocolate or couverture in a bowl over simmering water or in a microwave (use two or three 30 second bursts then stir until fully melted).   Stir until it cools slightly.  Fill a small piping bag (even a zip lock plastic bag will do).  This is the hard part because, well … I just want to eat the chocolate with a spoon.

Snip the tip and pipe the chocolate on to each blondie in whatever pattern makes you happy.  Or skip all that and just drizzle it on with a spoon or spread it on with an offset spatula or knife.

I used Valrhona Guanaja this time but Michel Cluizel’s Vila Gracinda would be awesome!   Again, you could stop here because now, semi-dressed, I think they are at their supreme best 🙂

Oh wait, you really like coconut with your banana and chocolate?  Yes, I don’t mind it either.  OK, just to add a little extra pizzazz, sprinkle some shredded coconut over the top of each blondie.  Don’t wait around procrastinating about it … this is best done before the chocolate sets so that the coconut will adhere to the chocolate and won’t blow away at the mere hint of a breeze 😉

There you go … tah dah!!!!!!!!

Now, you just need to sit back and EAT them.  Possibly all of them.   In one sitting.

They’re very moreish …

If you happen to have a will of iron, they keep for up to a week stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot.  Yeah, right!  Not in this house, baby!

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

Banana Protein Splitarama

Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.

One banana, two banana, three banana, four.
Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more.
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Comin’ on to bring you The Banana Splits Show.

Makin up a mess of fun
Makin up a mess of fun
Lot’s of fun for everyone …

You have no idea what I’m on about, do you?   Check out the theme song from the Banana Splits … ah I love that song, although seriously … the creators of this show must have tripped on acid when they made this for kids 🙂

Whatever they were on, it certainly wasn’t protein supplements.  But I’ve got something that’s definitely LOTS OF FUN FOR EVERYONE who loves their protein desserts.   I’ve wanted to create a nostalgic banana split protein thing for ages … and so here it is, folks.  If you would like to have some banana split but with less carbs, more protein and maybe a little less fat in the bargain, this is for you.

It all starts with a banana protein blondie bar split in half to replace the banana.  What?  Yeah … you get all the sweetness and banana-y goodness but with a whallop of protein you’d otherwise miss out on.  The banana blondies are fabulous on their own, by the way.  Amazing split and sandwiched with crunchy peanut or almond butter.  Or Nutella.  🙂

Assemble the dessert and you’ve got banana, crunchy peanuts, vanilla creaminess, strawberries, and dark dark chocolate … all the essentials for a banana split (the dessert, not the weird TV show).

I’ve used yoghurt in place of the vanilla ice-cream, just because it tastes so tangy fantastic.  If you use yoghurt, make sure to choose a thick, tub-set yoghurt.  You can, of course, make some vanilla protein ice-cream, or use a ricotta, cottage cheese, or quark cream filling, or even a casein cream.  I think the yoghurt tang goes really well with the vanilla, berries, banana, and chocolate.  Whatever you like best, it’s all good.  Note the absence of added sugars … make sure your bananas are super ripe and you have all the sweetness you need.

I had this as my New Year’s Eve post workout breakfast this morning … whooaaaa.  The banana blondies are banana-y sweet, soft, and moist.  A great substitute for the banana in the banana split!  The vanilla yoghurt gives a lovely tangy contrast to the sweetness of the bars.  You get the crunch of peanuts, luscious strawberry, and OH. MY. SWEET. LORD.  topped off with some dark chocolate that hardens as it sets.  Snap.   Textures, flavours.

Banana Splitarama heaven.

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all the very best for 2012 … be healthy, be fit, love life.

Enjoy 🙂

Macros are included, of course.  I’ve included them for the banana blondies on their own as well as with the toppings I’ve used.

You’re getting two awesome snacks for the price of one here, people.  Rejoice!

Serves 6

Ingredients
Banana Blondie Bars
180 grams very ripe banana (edible portion weight; about 2 bananas)
220 grams egg whites
100 grams brown rice protein powder (unflavoured or vanilla only; I used SunWarrior)
70 grams almond meal
1/2 – 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure extract OR 1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)

Splitarama Topping
360 grams non-fat plain yoghurt (thick, tub set variety)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
18 grams raw peanuts, chopped (or dry roasted)
120 grams strawberries (6 medium strawberries, hulled)
30 grams Lindt Excellence 90% chocolate (about 3 squares)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 160℃.  Have ready 6 silicon bar molds or bar tins.  You can use standard muffin tins if you don’t have bar tins.  If not using silicon molds, spray each tin with a little rice bran oil spray and line with a strip of non-stick baking paper to run along the base and up the sides.  This will help you ease them out of the molds.  You can even use an 18cm square cake tin as well and cut the cake into six bars when cooled.  Set aside.

Slice the banana thinly and place into a large mixing bowl with the egg whites.  Using the whisk attachment, whisk at low-medium speed until the egg whites are foamy and the banana slices have broken down in the mixture.  Increase the speed and whisk until the  banana-egg white mixture is thick.

In a separate bowl, mix together the rice protein powder, almond meal, and baking powder.  Add to the egg whites, together with the vanilla.  Whisk at medium speed until the batter is smooth and light.

Divide the batter between the bar molds.  Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until risen, golden, and cooked.  Be careful not to overbake.  Transfer the molds to a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the molds.  When cooled, remove to serving plates or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or so.

This is what they look like when baked and fresh out of the oven 🙂

To serve with the toppings as a Banana Splitarama:
Slice each bar in half lengthwise.  Arrange on a plate, leaving a gap in the middle.  The banana bars replace the banana in a traditional banana split.

Stir the vanilla into the yoghurt until well mixed.  Scoop about 60 grams of vanilla yoghurt into the gap of each banana split bar.  Slice the strawberries into quarters and arrange on top of the yoghurt.  Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl over simmering water.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over each banana split.  Serve immediately.

The chocolate sets and hardens and them shazam!

Macronutrient Profile
All macros are based on available averages for fresh goods.

Macros for the rice protein are based on SunWarrior unflavoured protein (as indicated in the link, above).  Macros for the yoghurt are based on Barambah Organics Low-Fat Plain Yoghurt, which are pretty close to average values for non-fat yoghurt (it’s < 0.1% fat).

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

Lebkuchen Brownie Bites … mit Marzipan

Let’s set aside for a moment that, for the overwhelming majority of the time, I eat a balanced, healthy diet.  Some might say, extremely so.   So, at Christmas time (along with a few other fleeting occasions throughout the year), I allow myself the luxury to go crazy, Broadway style

Being of Italian heritage, I go totally nuts over nougat, panforte, pandoro and panettone.  But, to my family’s ongoing amusement, I also go totally insane over Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne, and Stöllen mit Marzipan.    Hang on, what’s with the fixation on German traditions?  I have no idea, but I’ve had it since childhood.  The same mystery might explain my heartfelt singing of the German national anthem as I support the German national football team during the World Cup (mostly in tears during the finals over recent years), my dedication to the Bayern München football team, my admiration for Michael Schumacher … I could go on, and not just about sport, frankly.

Growing up I knew potatoes as Kartoffel … my father’s town sits right on the Austrian border in the Julian Alps.  Gorgeous part of the world.  The hills are alive, well and truly.  There were lots of German words interspersed with the usual mixture of our own Italian dialects and English, all of which we spoke at home.  I didn’t really learn any German until university where I had to translate an entire astrophysics PhD thesis from German to English.  Not really everyday German, to be sure.  Several stays in Germany during my postgraduate study years sealed the love affair and I never looked back.   It has a special place in my heart and always will.

The same is true of Lebkuchen and Stöllen mit Marzipan at Christmas.   This year, I had decided I’d just stay well away from them.  But of course I failed.   I bought Lebkuchen spice and marzipan with the intention of making both.  In the end, I just bought some Lebkuchen and these really funky little Stöllen mit Marzipan balls instead.

Lebkuchen spice is available at specialty spice shops or you can make your own (a number of recipes abound if you Google it).  I got mine at Gewürzhaus in Melbourne.  It’s wonderfully aromatic and distinctive … and it smells like Christmas 🙂  You could substitute your favourite gingerbread spice cake blend if you prefer.

So, what do I do with all that Lebkuchen spice and marzipan?  Aaaahhhhh … a number of things, of course 🙂

I made some chocolate chip protein bombs to which I added some Lebkuchen spice (and omitted the oats).  Brilliant Christmas protein snack!  I’ll also be making some marzipan protein pancakes later this week.   But, for now …  drumrollllll  … I give you some Lebkuchen Brownie Bites with marzipan!

Make sure to bake these at least 24 hours before serving.  This makes a world of difference as the spicy flavour and texture develops beautifully.  It also makes them a perfect make ahead treat.  You just store them in an airtight container at room temperature.   The chocolate adds a lovely bitterness but they are not overtly chocolatey as the spicy flavour really makes you think of Lebkuchen cookies.  The coarsely grated marzipan adds some lovely texture and delicious almond marzipan pieces … better than just adding chopped nuts, hands down.  Topped with a little white chocolate drizzle or snow, they make a lovely twist on the traditional Christmas treats but still very much in the German tradition.  There’s a lot of chocolate in that German tradition 😀

I’ve called them brownie bites because they’re not quite cake, not quite a cookie, and not quite a brownie but it’s close enough.  They are a little cakey, a little fudgy, and very moist.  They are gluten-free, as almond meal is used instead of flour.  Even non-chocoholics love these.  They are delicious, served as a treat with coffee, and they’d even make for a fabulous and easy dessert, served with a little whipped cream, maybe spiked with a little rhum or brandy.

I’d like to thank you all for your support for this blog, your lovely comments throughout the year, and a special HURRAY for the awesomeness of those of you who’ve made the recipes and posted them on your own blogs or on the CCM Facebook page.  I’d like to hire a few of you to do my photography as they look so much better than when I post them!

Wishing you all a very safe and happy Christmas.  Spend it with those you love and cherish and may 2012 bring you all success and joy.

I hope you love these half as much as we do.  A fröhliche Weihnachten to you all and enjoy!

Makes between 16 – 32, according to preference (I prefer bite-sized portions as they are rich)

Ingredients
225 grams dark couverture (min. 85% cacao solids)
160 grams organic unsalted butter
a generous pinch of sea salt
4 eggs
100 grams rapadura or dark brown sugar
55 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Lebkuchen spice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
185 grams almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
135 grams marzipan, chilled

about 60 grams white couverture, for decoration

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 165℃.  Grease and line a 20cm – 22cm square cake or brownie tin.  I used a 20cm tin so the brownie bites would be a little higher.  It’s a matter of preference.

Combine the chopped couverture, butter cut into cubes, and the sea salt in a heatproof bowl over simmering water.  Allow the chocolate and butter to melt.  Stir occasionally.  When melted, stir until smooth and remove from the heat.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, place the eggs, rapadura (or brown), and granulated sugars.  Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light.  Add the Lebkuchen spice and vanilla, and whisk until combined.  Add the almond meal and baking powder, and beat until smooth.

Coarsely grate the marzipan using the coarsest grating attachment (i.e. the same as you use to grate carrots).  Add to the batter and fold through.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top flat.  Bake for about 40 – 45 mins until risen slightly and cooked through but not dry.  Remove and let cool in the tin completely before cutting into bite-sized portions.

Melt the white couverture in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over hot water.  Pipe or drizzle the chocolate over the brownie bites.  Let the chocolate set at room temperature.

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.  They will keep for several days at least.  They are best made at least 24 hours before serving.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Bars & Slices, Cakes, Chocolate, Nuts

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.

source: missfitclothing.com

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)

Ingredients
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
water

cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Bars
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.

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