Macheesmo Muscle Bars
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.
Homemade Protein Bars
Yield: 16 bars
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
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)
3 ounces golden raisins
3 ounces dried cherries
5 ounces dried cranberries
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (optional)
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.
Then mix together the dry ingredients listed above. This recipe is very easy once you have all your stuff together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bake this at 350 for 35-40 minutes. The dish will set up nicely.
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.
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.
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.
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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