Sunday, January 25, 2009

Protein/granola bars: a wrap up

**These are not gluten-free recipes and were posted before I eliminated gluten from my diet.**

protein bars adapted from Alton Brown
Over the last 6 months I've tried several granola and protein bar recipes. I love having these around because they're a great snack, especially after working out. With each recipe, I've wrapped up the bars individually and then stored them in the freezer. All of them froze very well (for up to several months, in some cases). I definitely have a favorite, and once again, Alton Brown wins.

Protein Bars (adapted from Alton Brown)

1 cup whey protein powder
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup whole white wheat flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dried fruit, chopped (I've used various combos of raisins, dates, apricots, apples, papaya, and cherries)
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I've used pecans, walnuts, and almonds)
12 oz. silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (I've used smooth and crunchy, and both are good)

Combine protein flour, oat bran, flour, wheat germ, and salt in large mixing bowl. In separate bowl, whisk tofu until smooth. Add applesauce, honey, eggs, and peanut butter and mix well. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and blend well. Add in fruits and nuts and stir well. Pour into 13x9" pan that's been lined with lightly-oiled wax paper. Bake at 350 for about 35 min until it's browned. Let cool and cut into 24 bars with pizza cutter.

These things keep me very full, and I love their flavor. They're more cakey than your traditional granola bar, but I like the texture. My favorite batch is the one that I'm currently working on, and it has a combo of raisins, dates, apricots, and pecans. The protein powder is expensive, but it makes quite a few batches of these. Make sure you read the labels and look for one that doesn't have a bunch of added ingredients. I'll probably stick to making these for a while. With fruit and nut variations, I think I can keep them exciting.

My second favorite recipe also came from the Food Network. It's good, but doesn't quite live up to Alton's.

Energy Bars (adapted from Ellie Krieger)

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs

Put all ingredients except for honey and eggs in food processor and pulse until well blended and finely chopped. Add honey and eggs and pulse until well mixed. Pour into 13x9" pan that's been lined with lightly-oiled wax paper. Bake at 350 for about 20 min, until browned. Let cool and cut into 24 bars with pizza cutter.

These are more like your traditional granola bar. They have good flavor, but don't keep me quite as full because they don't have as much protein as Alton's bars do. I'm impressed that my cheap food processor is able to cut through all of the dried fruit!

And finally, my third favorite.

Chewy Granola Bars (adapted from Recipezaar)

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup flax meal
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raisins

Toast oats in skillet over medium heat for about 5 min. Let cool. Combine all dry ingredients (except raisins) in large bowl. In separate bowl combine all wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and blend gently. Mix in raisins. Pour into 13x9" pan that's been lined with lightly-oiled wax paper. Bake at 350 for about 30 min, until browned. Let cool and cut into 24 bars with pizza cutter.

Again, these don't keep me quite as full as Alton's do. They're good, but don't have the fruity flavor that the other two have.

Overall, all of these are far better than store-bought bars and don't have all of the weird ingredients. They're really easy to make and store well. You really can't go wrong!


eli said...

Sure they freeze well... but it seems the real test here is how they fare in a package to california! just kidding, but they look delicious!

Katie said...

At this point they would probably make it. I'm guessing they would freeze before leaving MI and then stay frozen for most of the trip. I usually try to eat them within a few days of thawing them, so the question you have to ask yourself is whether you're willing to sit down and eat a whole batch.

Jessica said...

This comment has nothing to do with the recipe, more a comment on Elie Krieger. I just got her cookbook "Food You Crave". I would highly recommend this to you. So far the food has been delicious and it's really healthy. And by the way, I LOVE this blog!!!

Katie said...

I'm glad you like the blog!! I want that book, and hopefully I'll get it soon. I try to catch her show on the weekends, and she has some great recipes!