Hi blog readers – it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, and I apologize for that. I’ve been spoiled by the professional baked treats at my wonderful job, and swamped by the work they get me to do in return. Anyway, that’s the excuse I’m going to use. :)
If you know me in real life, you can’t miss the fact that I recently made a huge change for my health by adopting the Paleo lifestyle. It’s more than a diet (I know, that’s a super cheesy line, but it’s true). If you don’t know anything about Paleo, I highly encourage you to visit RobbWolf.com, BalancedBites.com, Whole9Life.com, or MarksDailyApple.com. The quick and dirty version is this: eat meat and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and some fruit. Avoid all processed food, starches, grains, beans/legumes, dairy, and sugar. YES, you read that right, this means I no longer eat sugar. That’s quite a conundrum for a baking enthusiast, right? Wrong! There are some amazing Paleo bakers out there (I’m looking at you PaleOMG.com), so I’ve decided to start chronicling my adventures in Paleo baking. I may also still post a recipe here and there for you non-Paleo folks too, since I do love to bake for my friends and loved ones.
With that – here’s my first, from scratch, completely original Paleo recipe: Paleo Protein Cookie Bars! These are chewy, just sweet enough, and full of healthy fats with a kick of protein from the almonds, pepitas, egg, and protein powder. I completely improvised here based on what I had in my kitchen – feel free to do the same!
Paleo Protein Cookie Bars
(Somewhat adapted from PaleOMG.com)
Cooking Time: About 14-16 minutes
Servings: About 18 1.5″ x 1″ bars
- 8 Medjool dates
- 1/4 C almonds
- 1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 large scoops of vanilla protein powder (chocolate would also work)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 C raw pepitas
- 1/2 C mini chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life dairy, nut, and soy-free brand)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 C coconut chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Line a glass baking dish or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In your food processor, pulse your pitted dates until they form a paste and come together into a ball. Remove from food processor.
Add your almonds and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the coconut, coconut oil, and protein powder and process until blended. Add the date ball (you may need to break it up in order for it to process back in with the rest of the ingredients). Once fully combined, add egg and pulse until you get a nice sticky dough-like product. Remove the dough from the food processor and place in a separate bowl.
With a large spoon, mix in pepitas and chocolate chips. Spread dough onto parchment linked dish/baking sheet until it’s about 1/2 to 2/3″ thick. (I used my hands.) Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and coconut chips.
Bake at 350 for about 14 minutes or until dough is firm and browning on the edges. Remove from dish/baking sheet to cool and then cut into bars.