I've seen a lot of chatter on whole food blogs recently about homemade Larabars, which are basically protein bars. I've never had a Larabar and I'm not a huge fan of protein bars, but my husband loves them. If they didn't cost so much, we'd have protein bars in the house at all times. When I saw that Larabars are made with five or less ingredients, I was pretty sure that I could find a recipe for a homemade protein bar that would fit the bill of inexpensive and delicious.
You know a recipe is a winner when your uber picky four year old won't stop eating them and sings your praises for the new DELICIOUS snack. Of course, I made these one afternoon when she wasn't around because if she knew what was in them, there is no way she'd touch them! These are a winner with both the four year old and her protein bar loving Daddy.
Homemade Protein Bars
2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 melted chocolate for topping (I used dark)
In a food processor pulse together almonds, dates, coconut, and peanut butter just to soften. Add coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla to food processor. Pulse into a coarse paste. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 square pan lined with parchment or wax paper, leaving about 2-3 inches over hanging the pan edges. Chill for 1 hour. Melt chocolate and spread on top of bars. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens. Using the overlapping parchment/wax paper gently lift the bars out of the pan and cut in to squares. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Adapted from Passionate Homemaking.