I was surfing around and came across a recipe to make your own whey protein bars. Now I don’t have to buy those horrible tasting bars from the Supermarket and I could make them just as I pleased. And I can use whatever flavors I like and with the exact amount of protein I want per bar (You might want to figure out how much protein you need a day), it was like christmas all over again. Alternatively, you can try making whey protein cookies if you like a change.
The two things you’ll need for sure are some whey protein powder and a binding agent to hold it together. The most rudimentary protein mixture is simply whey protein powder combined with natural peanut or other nut butter (which gives you additional protein). This has a taste and texture rather like halvah. But I find it a bit crumbly, personally. So I decided to add another binding agent and another flour-like substance to give it a bit of body.
Basic ingredient 1: flour. You don’t need to use normal flour, I find that Oats will do just the job.
Basic ingredient 2: protein powder. Your choice here of whatever flavor you prefer. I find vanilla works well but you can get Double Chocolate to give it a nice extra flavour.
Basic ingredient 3: peanut or another nut butter. Personally I find that I prefer the nut butters to regular peanut butter. They give the bars a more interesting taste.
You will combine these in an approximately 1:1:1 ratio, but the exact quantity will depend on how much you want to make, what texture you like, and what else you combine with the mix. What you’re aiming for is a mixture that holds itself together, like cookie dough, without being overly gooey.
Step 1: Whiz the grain in the food processor until it’s a flour. Remove about one-third to half of a cup of it from the food processor and set it aside. I do this instead of leaving it in the food processor because I never know whether I’m going to add too much binding agent later in the process, and end up with something too gooey because I don’t have more flour to dump in. It doesn’t seem to work if you add just whey powder later on, so I save a little of the flour, just in case.
Step 2: Dump in the whey protein powder and zip that in the processor for a second till the flour and powder are combined.
Step 3: Add the nut butter a little at a time, blending between additions, until the mixture has the texture of cookie dough and holds its shape when pressed together.
Step 4: Either lay out a sheet of wax paper on the counter or on the cookie sheet, or line the roasting pan with it.
Step 5: Dump the mix on some wax paper. You can cover it with another sheet of wax paper and roll or pat it out into the desired thickness, or you can just press it into the roasting pan with your hands. Cover with another sheet of wax paper or saran wrap if it fits better on top of the pan.
Step 6: Put the thing into the freezer. Chill for a few hours.
Step 7: When nicely frozen, remove and cut into bars of desired size. Wrap each bar individually in wax paper. I like to wrap a few then put them into a container or plastic bag which I then put back into the freezer. Keep the bars chilled until just before eating, if possible. You don’t need to be overly fastidious about this (i.e. you could leave one in your bag for an afternoon), but staying cold helps the bars keep their shape, and keeps them from going bad. I keep mine in the freezer then grab one out on my way to work and keep it in the fridge at work. If you want to be able to eat them immediately after retrieving them from the cooler, you may want to just refrigerate them instead of freezing.
OK, now here’s where it gets fun. There are lots of things you can do with the basic recipe to spruce it up a bit.
Give your whey protein bar some extra flavor
The first thing I like to do is add a banana (The calories in a Banana are quite low)to the mix in step 3 to make the texture a little chewier. Adding any kind of fruit puree or a banana will give the bars a moister, chewier texture. More than one banana seems to make it too gooey so try to avoide that.
In Step 1, I also often add dry spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Here you can also add nuts or seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Just grind them up with the flour. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds will add omega-3s, and Brazil nuts will add selenium (an antioxidant).
In Step 3, you can add dried fruit and/or a wee shot of vanilla. Just remember in the second case that you’ll need a little extra flour to compensate for the added liquid.
In Step 5, you can use foil muffin cups instead of wax paper/cake pan and just press the mix into the muffin cups. This will give you a relatively consistently sized “protein cookie” instead and if you leave the “cookie” in the muffin cup, you don’t have to worry so much about it getting squished.
To figure out the nutritional breakdown (i.e. calories, fat, protein, carbs), just total up everything you put in, and divide by the number of bars you made (assuming you made the bars more or less the same size).