One of the most helpful pieces of information I have learned pertaining to healthy baking is that any plant-based protein powder can be used for flour in just about any recipe. This tip has proven to be invaluable when baking healthier bars, cookies, and brownies. I came across this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog and decided to modify it slightly and substitute my Perfect Fit Vanilla protein powder (which has been on sale all weekend on toneitup.com for Black Friday/Cyber Monday!) for the flour. The bars turned out AMAZING- they taste exactly like a soft peanut butter cookie. Each bar is under 200 calories and has about 6 grams of protein (this will vary slightly depending on what brand of protein powder you use). They are delicious as a mid-day snack or dessert. I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips to keep these bars vegan, but you can use whatever you have available or omit all together. The bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days.
NOTE: DO NOT try this with whey protein. Whey protein cannot be subbed for flour at a 1:1 ratio.
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons plant-based protein powder (I used Perfect Fit Vanilla)
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter, applesauce, and vanilla*. Add all remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and stir to combine. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the batter and press in with your fingertips. Bake 10 minutes**. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into bars.
*If peanut butter is not stir-able, heat for a few seconds in the microwave
**After 10 minutes, the bars will look set on top but seem very soft underneath. This is okay! They will firm up during the cooling time.
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.