If there’s one thing that keeps many of us sane during the long (supposedly dark) winter in the North, it’s working out. There’s a solid group of us in this town that set goals and work hard, meeting during lunch break or in the evenings to get a sweat on, flush out the cabin fever and meet with like-minded fit folk. I think the passion is provoked by the inability to do much else. It has been freezing cold recently, wind chills hitting -40, making it hard to do be inspired to get moving.
I have to admit, sometimes it’s the post-workout meal that gets me into my sneakers and into the centre – working the muscles can feel defeating; nourishing them afterwards feels wonderful. The banana shake. The tuna salad. The protein bars, homemade, of course.
Recently, the inspiration for the daily sweat has been encouraged by the anticipation of biting into a soft, subtly sweet, coconut-fragrant protein bar, smothered in smooth, dark chocolate flecked with coconut. Nut free, gluten free, no bake bars; store in freezer between layers of baking paper for a snack on the go.
Coconut Chocolate Protein Bars
Recipe adapted from Busy But Healthy
Makes 10-12 bars
1/2 cup coconut butter (not coconut oil)
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp honey (or agave)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 x 30g scoops whey protein powder, vanilla
3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp coconut flour
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp dark chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 x 30g scoop whey protein powder, chocolate
unsweetened shredded coconut (to decorate)
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut butter until soft. Add applesauce, vanilla extract and honey; stir until blended. Add protein powder, coconut flour and flax seed. Mix until combined with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to press into a well greased 8×8 dish or pan. Place in the freezer.
Wipe the saucepan clean, return to low heat and melt the coconut oil until liquid and transparent. To the warm coconut oil, add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Whisk in the cocoa, protein powder and salt.
Remove the coconut base from the freezer and pour chocolate topping over, tilting the pan to allow the chocolate to cover the entire base. Sprinkle with coconut and return to the freezer to set. Cut into squares.
These bars are best stored in the freezer.