Cooking With Confidence
Popeye should have eaten these.
Healthy, Side Dishes, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Macheesmo Muscle Bars

by Nick

You may not know this, but I’m trying to get jacked. I mean, like, ripped. To achieve this, I’ve been going to the gym a few times a week and looking at myself in the mirror. It isn’t really working that well.

That goal happened to coincide with a email from a reader asking if I had ever made protein bars, which I hadn’t, so I thought this would be a good time to give it a shot. This is what I ended up with!

The problem with a lot of protein bars that you buy in the store is they are A) expensive and B) not actually that healthy for you. I tried to solve both of those problems. I took a recipe from Alton Brown and modified it a bit. These are the ingredients I used.

Great ingredients

Great ingredients

Yield
16 bars
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Homemade Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • Dry Stuff:
  • 4 ounces protein (I used vanilla soy, but go crazy. This is about 1 Cup.)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • Wet Batter:
  • 12.5 ounces silken or soft tofu.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 Cup almond butter (you could use peanut butter to save some $)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice, or apple juice
  • 2 3/4 ounces whole wheat flour (1/2 Cup)
  • Add-ins:
  • 3 ounces golden raisins
  • 3 ounces dried cherries
  • 5 ounces dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together add-in ingredients so they are ready.

2) Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3) Mix together wet ingredients by whisking tofu until it's light and fluffy. Then add other wet ingredients. Add flour last.

4) Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 1/3 batches at a time. YOu might need to switch to a fork to combine it all.

5) Stir in fruit and transfer batter to a 9x13 baking dish. To make for easy removal, you might to line the baking pan with parchment paper before adding the batter.

6) Bake the bars at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes.

7) Cut the baked bars into 16 pieces. If you're using chocolate wait for the bars to cool before drizzling on the bars.

Store in the fridge for 2 weeks!

So this does look like kind of a lot of ingredients and I would encourage you to experiment to reduce costs and also change up flavors. Try to keep the dry/wet ratio about the same. Also, this is one of those recipes that is expensive the first time you make it because the protein, wheat germ, and almond butter if you are using that. These are sort of pricey, but if you make these more than once your costs per bar will plummet.

Also, I did this recipe by weight because I wanted to actually calculate the nutritional info in each bar. I don’t think it is that important to the recipe. I’m pretty sure you could use the approximations above and end up okay.

To start, let’s mix up our dried fruits just to get that out of the way. Also, now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350.

Don't skimp on the fruit here.

Don’t skimp on the fruit here.

Then mix together the dry ingredients listed above. This recipe is very easy once you have all your stuff together.

Dry stuff.

Dry stuff.

Next we need to make the wet batter. To start, whisk your tofu until it is light and a bit fluffy. Then add all of your wet stuff. Finally, add your flour to the mix. Whisk well to combine.

Wet stuff.

Wet stuff.

Next, incorporate your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. Do about 1/3 of your dry at a time. You will need to switch to a fork to combine it all. It’s okay if it is a bit clumpy.

Mixed together.

Mixed together.

Finally, stir in your fruit. I used raisins, cranberries, and cherries. Alton likes blueberries. Totally experiment here. You could try adding some nuts, or chocolate or tons of other stuff.

This is not rocket science.

This is not rocket science.

Dump this batter in a 9 X 13 baking dish. It will be pretty thick. I lined mine with parchment paper which I highly recommend. I also sprayed my parchment paper with nonstick spray which I also recommend. If you don’t use the parchment paper, definitely use the spray.

Ready for the heat.

Ready for the heat.

Bake this at 350 for 35-40 minutes. The dish will set up nicely.

These were pretty good like this.

These were pretty good like this.

I cut this tray into 16 bars. If you go smaller than that then they would be too flimsy I think. I tried a bit of one without chocolate and it was awesome. If you are using chocolate, be sure the bars cool to room temperature before you top them.

Why would you not coat these in chocolate?

Why would you not coat these in chocolate?

These were not very hard and I’ve been eating them all week. My biceps are loving it.

As I noted before, I had the idea to calculate the nutritional info on these to see how they stack up to other bars. At first, I thought this would be an easy thing to do. I ended up with this crazy set of notes.

This was, by far, the hardest part of this recipe.

This was, by far, the hardest part of this recipe.

Ultimately though, I did manage to get the data right. Of course, these are still a bit inaccurate because it assumes that I cut every bar to the exact same size by weight. Oh well, it is close.

Per Bar:
Calories: 266
Fat: 10.2 g
Sodium: 200 mg
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Carbs: 34 g
Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 13.3 g

That is a pretty solid ratio of calories to protein. It would be even better without the chocolate which added some fat and calories without giving any fiber or protein. Oh well. This stacks up pretty well against most of the bars. The only bar I found that had a lot more protein was the Powerbar Protein Plus. It came in at over 20 grams of protein. I think it almost qualifies as steroids. My bar kicks its butt on taste though.

If you are looking for a decent afternoon snack that is packed with Protein, these are a great option. They keep easily for two weeks in the fridge.

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11 comments on “Macheesmo Muscle Bars

  1. Hey Nick, these look great and the macros look even better.

    I think I will give these a whirl soon. I am thinking of changing the tofu out for some Fage 0% (greek yogurt) and chocolate protein powder instead of vanilla, since I already have these items and I think they would substitute well.

    Quick tip for you on figuring out macros. You can sign up for a free account at http://www.fitday.com and enter all of your ingredients as custom foods and then figure out what the macros are for the whole recipe and divide by the number of servings. This is something that my wife and I use on http://www.livewell360.com for our recipes. Now granted this is not exact, but at least gives a ballpark and saves you some of the hand calculating.

    Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    Ryan

  2. Wow. I could have saved about an hour of my life with fitday.com :)

    Thanks for the tip man. While I was doing the calculations I was thinking that someone should create a tool/website that did that, but I never actually looked to see if one existed…

    I think your substitutions would work great actually. The recipe is pretty flexible.

  3. Dear Citizens,

    As Americans we all have a stake in the health of our great nation. But if we are to strengthen our nation and our economy, we must also strengthen our bodies. The Macheesmo Muscle Bars are an excellent source of protein that will help us reach that goal.

    Now listen, the Macheesmo Muscle Bars are tasty and good for you but, like any first draft, there is room for improvement. Specifically, the improvement I speak of is in the area of the chosen protein supplement for the Muscle Bars. Soy protein is known to increase production of estrogen. What this may lead to in males is flabby saggy boobies. I recommend a sustained release protein mix. These mixes typically include 3-4 types of protein, some of which are absorbed by the body immediately while others may take up to 6 hours. This will give your body fuel throughout the day or evening, constantly feeding your muscles.

    Strengthening our nation will not be easy. It will not be accomplished overnight. There will be some growing pains and there may even be some setbacks. But with our concerted effort and the Macheesmo Muscle Bars, the dawn will once again shine bright on this great and (more) powerful nation.

    God bless you all and God bless America.

    B. Obama, Esq.

  4. Sir:

    Thoroughly impressed with your recipe. The tofu was a nice touch that will definitely boost the protein content. I will use your ideas next time I make a batch.

    Ashish

  5. I've always avoided "protein bars" because they always looked so dry & nasty. The 1 I did taste was just as I suspected – wood chips & sawdust. But yours look EXCELLENT! I'll try mine with just dried cranberries & chopped nuts. Yum!

    With your calculations these would be 5 Weight Watcher pts. I'm 1/2 way trying to follow their point system, which for me is 32 points a day. Since most of their chicken dishes run around 7 pts, 1 of your bars would be a great snack & still be easy to stay in my target pt range for any given day.

    What a great idea! I'll try yours with the protein powder you use. It's OK, I already have flabby saggy boobies. ;o}

    And thanks to Ryan for the web sites info!

  6. Bro, this recipe is awesome. Do you know how long I've searched for a genuine, baking-required protein bar recipe? Through at least 10 corporations classes at least. They are surprisingly hard to find.

    So often I find the ol' "mix protein powder with water 'till you get goo and then roll some oats around in the goo and then freeze the goo" recipe. Honestly–I would be totally fine with the frozen goo, but I go to law school and can't fit a freezer in my locker. I'm gonna make these tomorrow. I think I'm going to omit a lot of the dried fruit and chocolate though. I require things to be somewhat unpalatable or else I'll eat the whole batch.

    Anyway, thanks bro. I gotta get ripped for summer.

  7. Yo! Bro here. So I made these completely sans fruit and chocolate yesterday. They definitely turned out bland, but there is serious promise with these guys. I'm sure the fruit and chocolate included above would be excellent, but I'm also thinking:

    1. You could top these guys with some fruit preserves and it would be like one of those bland English tea cookies.

    2. You could include in the batter some cinnamon and apple and possible make these guys into breakfast fritter-type bars.

    3. You could go heavy on the peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter) and use chocolate protein powder for some darn-near brownies. And you could add a squished-up banana to that for possibly even awesomer bars.

    4. Blueberries would definitely be good, as was indicated above.

    I think I'll try the apples and cinnamon next. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Yo. Bro again. So my mom's 56th birthday is Monday and what says love like a fresh batch of muscle-ripping dude food? I made these for her and I went all out–almond butter instead of peanut butter, cranberries, sultanas, and dried blueberries–cos bro, it's my mom. Thought I'd note my observations:

    1. The blueberries are dope. Dried blueberries are crazy expensive, but totally worth it. These really do taste like blueberry muffins.

    2. The almond butter has a MUCH more subtle taste than peanut butter. You really taste the PB in a way you don't with the almond.

    3. The dried fruit adds much-needed moisture. Without them the bars are really dry. Edible, but dry.

    4. I think I over-baked these, and since they are already dry, I'd be careful about over baking.

    So that's that. My mom's gonna get totally shredded. Thanks again bro.

  9. Howdy! I’m at work surfing around your blog frm my neww iphone!
    Justt wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to alll your posts!
    Keep up the outstanding work!

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