When I was trying to figure out what protein bar flavour I should try next I was at a loss.
I tried to think of Valentine's Day. I feel like I've covered most of my bases with these cookies. And these cookies. And these brownies. OH and these raw vegan chocolates.
But one thing that came to mind that reminds me of this...holiday coming up...was chocolate covered strawberries!
How quintessentially Valentine-y!
How to make them into a bar though..Hmm...puree some fresh strawberries (which I had to bundle myself and trek into the dangerous tundra of Canada and get from the local supermarket where every Tom, Dick and Harry was conveniently also shopping - EXHALE).
Okay...soo...fresh berries...puree them...Add them to my protein bars...but let's switch it up and make these more light and refreshing. Almond and coconut butter...and hemp? YEAH HEMP! Because I bought a huge bag from costco.
Some choco-swirl..because we have to cover out strawberries in chocolate, DUH.
Only it WASN'T. I added too much almond milk -- and in the initial version I tested I put a layer of jam in between the bars and the chocolate and it squished out.
To save them I tried to put them in the freezer which was overfilled and it squished all the bars into a pile of mush. Then I proceeded to smash them onto the floor and they went into the compost bin.
It was grrrrreat. And pretty much encapsulated how I feel about the...upcoming,,,,holiday....in a nutshell. Blind psycho chocolate rage. Yep.
Anyways I adjusted the recipe and re-did it with better success....BUT much to my chagrin they weren't the same lovely shade of pink as the first batch.
WILL I NEVER EVER WIN GOD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MY PROTEIN BARS FOR VALENTINES DAY.
SO If you wanted bars that were red or even pink you could throw in a few tablespoons of beet juice to your puree. As you can see....I didn't. And it's pretty pale. As in not pink or red at all. But I felt like adding food colouring to vegan protein bars with healthy ingredients felt odd. I know that they do have natural food colourings on the market but I personally don't own any.
OR...you could grind some freeze dried strawberries into the bars to add to the colour...Er...but I didn't have those either :(
So as long as you are okay without them looking pink....skip the colouring. I found it shocking that an entire cup of fresh berries did not alter the colour at all -- but eh....now you know!
And red colouring in general usually requires A LOT of food colouring. Like Red Velvet cake? Yeah. That's usually a WHOLE FREAKING BOTTLE! Crazy.
Let's have a look at the recipe -- the one that won't cause you to run into the streets screaming bloody murder. Unless you wanted them pink. Then I am sorry :'(.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Squares
Yields 16 Squares
Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, High Protein, Vegan Option
Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, High Protein, Vegan Option
- 1 1/3 cup oat flour
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup hemp hearts, ground
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 cup vanilla brown rice protein powder (SunWarrior)
- 1/2 cup honey, agave or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut butter
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- Splash of vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache Layer:
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate of choice (white or dark -- or mix of both)*
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
*You can purchase vegan white chocolate chips online or make your own (which can be a bit tricky -- it involves cocoa butter, sweetener, non-dairy milk and some other ingredients) for the vegan version you can simply omit the chocolate ganache or use a high quality vegan dark chocolate instead! both combinations taste really delicious! -- another option is to use the cream cheese glaze like on these bars*
- Mix all dry ingredients (oat flour, protein, hemp, coconut, almond flour) in a large mixing bowl and set aside
- In a small saucepan combine sweetener, butters and oil until fully combined, if using flavourings or stevia drops add those into this mixture -- set aside when finished
- To make your puree -- take your thawed strawberries and blend along with the jam until you have a puree. If you are using fresh strawberries add a splash of lemon juice to the mixture.
- Once blended pour the puree through a strainer and set aside
- Pour puree and our sweetener/butter mixture over our dry ingredients and stir thoroughly, If your dough is too dry -- add a tablespoon at a time of almond milk or water until you can get a large ball of dough
- Press dough into an 8x8 pan lined with foil or plastic wrap
- Set in fridge for 15 minutes before adding ganache
White Chocolate Ganache Layer
- Once chocolate has been melted add in the coconut oil and stir until chocolate becomes thin, easy to stir and very shiny
- Pour over bars as evenly as possible -- trying not to disturb jam layer if you're using one
- Tap on the counter to remove air bubbles
- At this stage you may add sprinkles, chopped chocolate, nuts, more berries or other toppings you desire!
- Place in fridge to set another 30-60 minutes before serving
- When set, remove bars from pan and cut into 16 squares or 32 bars depending -- keep refrigerated after serving
With some leftover chocolate I also made actual chocolate covered strawberries. Those were thankfully straight forward and didn't go in the bin.
To get nice clean cuts dip your knife in a cup of warm water, dry off and slice. Boom.
I think these a delicious change of pace from the regular protein treats I have made. Fruit always makes everything seem more fresh and exciting. And I lerrrrrve strawberries.
Imagine getting a box of these with chocolate covered strawberries?!?! That would be the life.
And knowing all this -- know that I was disappointed in the colour. I did want them to be pink like the first batch. I guess using fresh strawberries made them more..pinky?!
But that's life. And if you are making these for a total health nut I am sure they will appreciate you left out the icky colouring.
If your date ever stands you up you can come hang with me -- I'll make you chocolate covered everythang. It won't be pink but there will be chocolate!
Who can say no to that?!
Happy Strawberry Dippin'!