I also like to really mix up different combos and flavors to keep things interesting! This is my latest flavor in my arsenal of protein bars, and it's an excellent one for so many reasons! I try to think of favorite desserts, or food items I enjoy, and expand on how I could turn that item(s) into a healthy protein bar. In this case, I enjoy Matcha green tea, and the honey, lime, coconut, and hint of vanilla you taste in these bars are so amazingly complimentary! These bars have a light "cake-like" texture, and are very filling and satisfying.
I'm fortunate to not have any nut allergies or gluten issues, and when I chose these ingredients, I did so solely for the nutritional value alone. However, these bars are perfect for those with certain allergies because they are nut free & gluten free!
Matcha green tea isn't a typical ingredient in protein bars....maybe because it's not for everyone? It should be though. After all, Matcha green tea has a higher content of antioxidants than most other super foods- which makes it an excellent ingredient for:
energy, endurance, burning calories, detoxifying, boosting memory, improving cholesterol, and fortifying the immune system.
Honey is also an excellent natural sweetener, binder, and nutritional ingredient. Instead of almond meal, I've added an excellent Michigan made product I purchased at our local CO-OP called "Pepita Sun Seed Butter", which is made from flax seed, hemp seed, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. I was hesitant about trying this product, but it has truly become my next addiction!!! (Soooo good!) This ingredient also acts as a binder, and adds additional flavor and texture.
Coconut flour has in recent years gained notoriety for it's nutritional benefits, as well as it's capability of being an excellent sub for flour in many recipes. Oat flour is also an excellent "heart healthy", and gluten free product, and I've added lime zest for a "fresh" pop of flavor, and an addition boost of essential lime oil. (**Essential Lime Oil possess many of the same qualities as the Matcha green tea.) The Muscle Milk adds additional protein, flavor, and nutritional value. Some water was added to bring the entire mixture together, but if you wanted to add coconut milk in it's place, that would be fine too. I opted to add a little drizzle of high quality white chocolate that was flavored with some additional lime oil to finish these as well. If you want your bars a bit sweeter, just add more honey! You can also sub the lime for lemon as well.
***As a note: these are not recommended for children 14 & under- due to the caffeine content in the Matcha green tea.
Also, these bars do contain dairy products for those with allergies.
Yield: 12 bars
Prep time: 15-30min. (Depending on how organized you are!)
2 cups Oat Flour
1 cup Coconut Flour
2 scoops Vanilla Creme Muscle Milk **available in most stores like Wal-Mart, Target, GNC, etc.
2 sticks of "Rishi Matcha Green Tea" or about 2 T. of powdered Matcha Green Tea
zest of 1 lime (or can use a lemon instead)
1/2 cup Raw honey **local is best!
3 T. seed butter (can also use Almond butter, etc.)
3-6 drops of Essential Lime Oil (Or, can leave out altogether, or add 1 t. lemon extract instead)
Water (1/4 cup+)
High quality white chocolate (Ghiradelli, Lindt, etc.)
1-2 drops of Essential Lime oil
1) In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. (If you are making your own oat flour, simply place oats in a food processor, and process until oats are ground into a finer texture- resembling flour.) Stir all of the ingredients.
2) In a liquid measuring cup, combine the honey, seed butter, and lime oil, and stir to combine. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix. Add water slowly, and mix until it resembles a dough. (You do not want this mixture to be "wet"! If you've added to much liquid, simply add a bit more coconut or oat flour to balance it out. This should resemble a cookie dough, but be a bit more "crumbly".) If you can pick a piece of dough and press it together and it sticks well, the mixture is good to go!
3) In an 8x8 pan, cover the bottom and sides with a long piece of plastic wrap. Dump the bar mixture into the lined pan, and press the mixture evenly into the pan well. Use a flat spatula to press the sides down firmly, and to level. Cover, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. (You can also place a plate or something heavy on the bar mixture to allow it to be pressed further. You want the finished product to hold together well!)
4) Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, and invert the bars onto a cutting board. Cut the bars into 12 even pieces. ***Optional: If you wish to finish these with chocolate, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate using a water bath or microwave, temper, and add some flavored oil if you wish. Using a fork or pastry bag, drizzle over the bars. Return the bars to the freezer of refrigerator for 10-15 min. to firm the chocolate. Remove the bars, and wrap individually for consumption.
****These bars should be stored in the refrigerator if you live in a warm climate to improve the shelf-life. Otherwise, once individually wrapped, these bars will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks in a cool/ dry place.
Enjoy for a pre or post workout treat!