DIY Protein Bar

Protein Bar

DIY Protein Bar

Have you ever thought about making your own protein bars? My athletic husband, having tried and complained about many pre-packaged bars, inspired me to look into how to make them. After doing research I realized that I don’t have to experiment, thanks to Creation Nation’s Protein Bar Mixes. I discovered them at Natural Products Expo West and thought that the DIY homemade bar idea was brilliant.

The mix is vegan and requires no baking, so it made my job easy. But, being a decadent dessert maker, I had to take it up a notch. I made a peanut butter frosting for the PB & Jelly Get In My Belly bars that took them from tasty to mmmmm tasty. I melted some creamy peanut butter on the stove to make it stirrable. After I removed it from the heat, I stirred in a little vegan powdered sugar and almond milk. The frosting was then drizzled onto the refrigerated bars. I was winging it so I didn’t measure any ingredients, so feel free to add as much or as little to get your desired taste.

The bars themselves are customizable, too, depending on how sweet you want to make them. It also offers add-in choices so you can use what you have on hand. I added almond milk and agave sweetener to the packaged mix. I made them a bit less sweet so my peanut butter frosting didn’t take them over the top. It was nice to use a mix and have a fun treat (or simple breakfast) ready in a flash.

Protein Bar Ingredients

Protein Bar Ingredients

Until next time, happy non-baking!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie

Pi Day, celebrated on March 14th (3/14), is upon us. And, because I like math and puns, I am making Pie. If you read my Pi Day post last year, you know that I’m not a fan of traditional pie crust. So, I searched for a different type of pie recipe. The one I found sounded too good to pass up because it highlighted peanut butter and chocolate.

This unbaked pie didn’t need any high altitude tricks, and it was vegan so it didn’t require any of those conversions. My additional of milk did make it easier to blend and pour into the pie shell. I may have taken the easy route, but, c’mon – chocolate and peanut butter … in a pie. So here is a simple, albeit time-consuming in the fridge, pie recipe to help you celebrate Pi Day.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pi Day Pie based on Velvety Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
for the Crust
10 graham cracker sheets
5 TBS melted coconut oil
for the Filling
2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1.25 cups smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk
12 oz silken tofu
banana slices for decoration
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they are completely ground up. In a bowl, combine ground graham crackers with melted coconut oil and stir well. Pour mixture into an 8” pie pan and firmly press the crust onto the bottom and sides of pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Combine melted chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and tofu in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust and decorate with banana slices. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Until next time, happy un-baking!

Peanut Butter Jam Mookies

peanut butter jam mookiesSometimes when I am searching for a baking recipe, I base it solely on an ingredient in my arsenal. I recently got Coconut Sugar from Navitas Naturals so that became my inspiration for this week. Upon scouring my cookbook collection, I found a cookie recipe that suggested coconut sugar as a swap for dark brown sugar.

The recipe was already vegan so that part was accomplished. For altitude I had but to slightly reduce the amount of sugar and oil. I also chose to add jam on top to complement the peanut butter flavor. What I discovered after they baked was that they rose quite more than expected, especially as they were baked at high altitude. The cookbook describes them as a cookie, but I am inclined to see them as a marriage between a cookie and a muffin. That brings me to my new breakfast creation – the muffin-cookie, or mookie.

Peanut Butter Jam Mookies based on Crunchy Nutty Peanut Butter Hemp Cookies
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
scant 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup Navitas Naturals coconut sugar
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup plain hemp protein powder
3/4 tsp salt
several TBS jam
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly oil a standard muffin tin. In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, coconut oil, sugars, milk, and vanilla until smooth. In a bowl, whisk together oats, flours, protein powder, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a spatula. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Use a spoon to make an indent in the top of each and put jam in the indents. Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack in the muffin tin. Store in a loosely covered container. Makes 12 hearty mookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

PB & J Breakfast Cookies

PB & J thumbprint cookieDuring any given day I collect a handful of recipes. They cover baking, main dishes, salads, beverages, and the like. Besides the 100 or so cookbooks I have, I must have thousands of recipes on my computer. I may have an addiction. But, when I am looking for ideas for a new creation I can always find something. Take today’s recipe – it’s an unusual cookie recipe as it contains no flour or leaveners. But for a quick breakfast cookie or snack, it works great.

I changed the original recipe to account for dryness at altitude by adding milk. Then I decided that it needed a little more depth of flavor. I included a bit of brown sugar, and also used peanut butter with the jam. So, with a few ingredients I usually have on hand, I created an easy homage to a thumbprint cookie that’s gluten-free, too. A winning combination.

PB & J Breakfast Cookies based on a Truth Bars recipe
2 ripe bananas
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp non-dairy milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats
Peanut butter
Jam
Preheat oven to 350F. Mash bananas in a bowl. Mix in applesauce, vanilla, milk, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir in oats and let sit for 5 minutes so oats can soften.
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough onto sheet and flatten cookies into rounds, making about 18 cookies. Use the back of a spoon to create an indent and fill with a small amount of peanut butter with jam on top. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Cool before storing in airtight container for 1 week.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie

peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie

What happens when you combine peanut butter cookies with oatmeal and chocolate chips? You get perfection. My choice for this cookie was simply pure decadence. And the fact that my husband said I hadn’t baked cookies in awhile (hint, hint).

Originally I was lazy and tried this as a non-gluten free cookie. They were so good that my husband ate 10 of them instantly. (He did say he was cookie-deficient.) When those were gone, two days later, I tried them again as gluten-free. I adapted them for high altitude by adding milk to the recipe, and the oats were ground slightly to make a more cohesive dough. I also switched out the oat flour and shredded coconut for a gluten free flour blend that a friend had given me for experimentation (again – hint, hint).

The results on the second round? Deliciousness.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from the Beaming Baker
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter (made from peanuts only and no additives)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 flax eggs (2 TBS ground flax + 6 TBS warm water, whisked together, set aside for 5 minutes)
1 1/2 TBS almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in top third of oven. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put oats into a food processor and grind them slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix together peanut butter, oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, flax eggs, milk and vanilla. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold into a dough. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop 2 tablespoon-sized cookie dough balls onto cookie sheet, spaced evenly apart. Flatten slightly – these cookies won’t spread much. Bake each baking sheet individually for 13-15 minutes. Carefully slide parchment paper with cookies off baking sheet onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. Makes 24 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie

Have you ever wanted to make cookies but didn’t want to deal with pulling cookie sheets in and out of the oven? I was craving cookies but was too lazy to babysit cookie sheets, so I made a pan cookie. It’s basically a cookie in a baking pan that makes one big cookie with less work than baking up a few dozen. It’s instant cookie gratification.

There was a recipe that made a version of a pan cookie, but I made a few changes. I didn’t have the pan size called for so I reduced the ingredients to fit in the pan I had. (It’s times like this that make me glad I am a math person.) Then I changed the egg substitute to my new favorite – aquafaba. I also found the amount of salt to be what I deemed a typo – the first try made extraordinarily salty cookies – so I changed it accordingly. I also added flour and reduced baking soda to account for high altitude.

After the cookie was done and cooled, I used a star cookie cutter to make pretty cookies. Then I could pretend that I slaved over rolling and cutting dough to make cookies. It’ll be our little secret.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie adapted from Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cake
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened, plus extra to grease pan
3/4 cup sucanat sugar
3 TBS aquafaba
1 TBS almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup peanut butter, unsalted
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 x 8” pan with vegan margarine. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together vegan margarine and sugar on low-medium speed until light and fluffy. Add aquafaba, milk, vanilla and peanut butter to sugar mixture and beat well. Slowly add dry flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips until combined. Add batter to prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until cookie is lightly browned on the outside, but still slightly under-cooked in the center, for 15-16 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Until next time, happy baking!

The Great Cookie Freezing Experiment

milk splashDuring my month of baking cookies I saved a few from each batch to see how they would freeze. I had never tried this before because when I bake there aren’t any leftovers. But after a month and many dozens of cookies, I was willing to offer some up to freezer science.

For this experiment, I started with Tips for Freezing Baked Cookies from thekitchn.com:
“All cookies should be frozen individually after they’ve cooled completely, meaning they should be placed on a baking sheet, not touching, until frozen solid (they can be frozen like this in layers separated by parchment, wax, or freezer paper).”
So, I separated six cooled cookies after each baking session and froze them individually. Then I placed them in zip plastic bags in layers separated by waxed paper. I squeezed out the air and laid them flat in the freezer to wait.

When time had passed, between five days and two weeks depending on the cookie, I removed the cookie bag from the confines of the freezer. I thawed a few treats out on a plate and ate them as is. I also tried this advice, again from thekitchn.com: “You can gently reheat frozen or thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture: place them in a 275F oven and check on them after 10 to 15 minutes.”
I definitely preferred the baked cookies. They were warm, fresh out of the oven, and reminded me of freshly baked cookies. The thawed-on-the-counter cookies seemed a bit more dry, and didn’t have the enticing fragrance of warm cookies. But neither had the slightly chewy inside that I like.

What did I learn from all this? If you don’t have time to bake, then cookies from the freezer are better than boxed. But, baking cookies from scratch is definitely worth the time because the texture is perfect and the house smells AMAZING!