Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars

Seeing how much I love peanut butter, there’s no questioning why I loved those Peanut Butter Crunch Bars by PureFit.  Although they weren’t as sweet as my tastebuds would’ve liked, they were packed with peanut flavor, 18g of protein and only 220 calories.

I usually reserve bars for emergency snacks only, since they aren’t the most nutritious snack out there, but they are always great to have on hand since they are satisfying and filling.  I also find that bars prevent me from making bad food choices.  On one hand, I could go to the McDonald’s drive thru, but on the other hand, I could whip out a delicious, chewy peanut butter bar…  I choose the peanut butter option.

But since I reserved bars for emergencies, I made excuses to be in emergencies.  For example, I would take way too much time getting ready in the morning just so I would “run late” and have a legitimate excuse to grab a couple bars on my dash out the door  😉

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars

But now that I’m avoiding added sugars (to the best of my ability), I have since then cut out storebought bars.  The main reason I’ve cut out bars though, is because I am now allergic to just about every ingredient they usually contain (like whey, casein, soy, egg white, etc).  Don’t worry though, you won’t be able to tell these bars are hypoallergenic, and not to mention healthy!  They taste way too sweet to be sugar free, way too fudgy to be vegan, and way too peanut buttery to be considered a diet food.  You’ll definitely enjoy (maybe fall in love with?) these 6-ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars!

Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars (sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

Yield: 10 protein bars

Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars (sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

Ingredients

  • 128g (1/2 cup) Natural Peanut Butter (no sugar/salt/oil added)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 10 packets Truvia*
  • 40 drops Stevia Extract*
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 96g (1 cup) Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, blended to a flour
  • 168g (8 scoops) Vanilla Brown Rice Protein Powder** (I used SunWarrior)

Instructions

  1. Line an 8" brownie pan with wax paper or parchment paper both ways and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized stand mixer bowl, add the peanut butter and almond milk and stir (don't use a whisk attachment. If you feel like getting an arm workout, skip the stand mixer and use a spoon and your arm!).
  3. While the mixer is stirring, add the Truvia, stevia and salt. Still mixing, add the oat flour. Once the oat flour has fully mixed in, add the protein powder. Mix until all the protein powder is incorporated.
  4. Take the bowl off the stand mixer and fold the mixture with a rubber spatula to form a giant PB dough ball. Dump into the prepared pan and flatten with the spatula (or if you're fancy, a pastry roller). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, slice into bars and store in the fridge. If you are the on-the-go type, wrap each bar in parchment paper and tape to close, that way you can easily grab them out of the fridge.

Notes

*If you don't have stevia, add ~6 more packets of Truvia (or to taste). If you don't want to use Truvia, omit it and increase the stevia to 1 tsp.

**8 scoops = 1+1/4 cups packed. Do not use whey protein powder in this recipe, it will be gooey and will not solidify unless you freeze it.

Feel free to add some chopped peanuts to the mix! Or maybe even add dried fruit or mini chocolate chips as well :)

This recipe is: no bake, sugar free, high protein, gluten free and vegan!

http://dessertswithbenefits.com/peanut-butter-fudge-protein-bars/

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars

Since these bars were inspired by PureFit’s Peanut Butter Crunch Bars, iiiiit’s

NUTRITION LABEL SHOWDOWN TIME!!

PureFit’s label is on the left, Desserts with Benefit’s label is on the right:

Healthy Dessert Blog   Healthy Dessert Blog

While both bars are a healthy snack option (definitely better than a drive-thru), my Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars are:

  • lower calorie, lower sodium and lower carb
  • sugar free and cholesterol free
  • high fiber and high protein
  • rich in calcium and iron

I should call these nutrition powerhouse bars!  You must make these soon, and since they are 50 gazillion times healthier than storebought bars, you don’t need to make up any lame excuses like I did  😉

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars


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Like this recipe?  Then you’ll LOVE the DIY Protein Bars Cookbook!  With 48 dessert-like protein bar recipes, full-color pages and photos for every recipe, you’ll never think twice about buying protein bars from the store again.  See this page for more information on the book, including the Table of Contents, some sneak peaks and sample images.

DIY Protein Bars Cookbook – Jessica Stier of Desserts with Benefits

Order it from Amazon here!

90 comments on “Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars

  1. Love these…i wish i could take food like this with me on airplanes because I am travelling to Italy in 2 weeks and these would be perfect!!! Question about your food allergies: Prior to going to college and the change in your diet, did you know you were allergic to all the various products you now know you are?

    • Lexi-
      No, I didn’t find out until I met with a registered dietician and got a bunch of blood tests done. I’ve had problems with my energy level and bloating ever since I can remember, but it got worse during my late freshman year in college when I switched exclusively to whole grains, tried to eat yogurt every day, etc.
      My allergies could have worsened from the stress of being in school, my consumption of these foods nearly every day (especially bagels lol), and the lack of variety in my diet (not that much healthy food available on my campus!).
      However, I believe that after years and years of eating nearly 100% junk food and not much else, by body wasn’t expecting such a drastic change in my diet and new active lifestyle. In case you haven’t read the About Me page, I used to eat at least 3 Hershey bars a day, and my childhood nicknames usually involved a candy of some sort. Sugar and lack of activity weakens the immune system, so that is what I think happened.
      But don’t worry, just because this happened to me doesn’t mean it will happen to you or others! If you feel like you have allergies talk to a registered dietician or your doctor and get some blood tests done. Eating foods that you shouldn’t have causes inflammation, stress, and could possibly damage the GI system.
      Sorry about the long response, have fun in Italy :)
      -Jess

    • Oh wow. I was just wondering how you found out about all of your food allergies. Isn’t it amazing how your diet plays such a key role in every aspect of your life. I see a naturopathic doctor and I absolutely love the eastern approach to medicine, especially for problems that do not need crazy medications.
      Thanks! Mostly excited for all the delish food!!

    • How many protein bars does this recipe make?

  2. I am definitely going to make these, they look really good :)

  3. These are a perfect snack! I need to make them soon!

  4. Hah, that’s funny how you made excuses to be in emergencies! 😉
    These bars look great… just like all of your recipes. In some ways, I’m grateful that people have food allergies. They force us to branch out, and, mostly, be healthier.

  5. These look great! Tons of protein too :)

  6. Do you have an idea of whether or not the brown rice powder could be subbed with another protein source? I’m afraid I only have wheys, peanut flour, and a pea/soy/rice blend.

  7. these sound great! always looking for good low carb bars!

  8. As always, it looks absolutely delicious! I was just wondering how to make them lower in fat. Do you have any ideas? Thanks a lot :)

    • You can probably replace up to 3 tablespoons of the peanut butter with 2-3 tablespoons of a liquid sweetener (such as brown rice syrup, maple syrup, etc). You may need to add a tiny bit more of the oat flour or protein powder (1/2-1 tablespoon?) in order to thicken the dough. Just note that reducing the peanut butter will reduce the flavor, so it would be good to use vanilla protein powder instead of unflavored, or adding vanilla extract.

  9. Absolutely fabulous – and amazing photos!

  10. Seriously these look to die for!

  11. Woah! These look fantastic! My boyfriend eats at least one pre-packaged energy bar a day, and I’ve been trying to find bar recipes with normal ingredients in them that I can make for him to take to work. These sound perfect!

  12. I love PureFit bars. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe.

  13. These look perfect! I also have an addiction to peanut butter. This should help, thanks 😉

  14. These look spectacular. I can actually see how rich they are. Yummy! Would there be a way to eliminate/substitute the protein powder altogether?

    ❀ It’s Carmen

    • I’m sure the protein powder can be substituted with another flour, but then of course, they would not be as high in protein. The protein powder is the main dry ingredient, so it should not be eliminated. If you were to make these using another flour, I would recommend oat flour + brown rice flour, as this will create a complete protein when paired with the peanut butter. You can also try peanut flour (16g of protein per 1/4 cup!). When mixing the dough, just look for a very thick texture similar to cookie dough. It should be able to form a ball if you tried. Good luck! I hope the substitutions work out for you :)

    • Hey, so I just made these and it’s more like goo than very thick cookie dough. They are very sticky and I left in the fridge overnight and tried to cut them – it turned out to be a sticky gooey mess – they do not cut so nicely and look as pretty as your picture. yours look dry and not sticky. i don’t think the recipe you posted is correct.

    • Oh no! :( May I ask what protein powder you used? And did you measure the oats and then blend them? If you followed the recipe exactly I’m not sure what went wrong… I have made these protein bars three times with no problems, Ellie @ Healthy Belly Ellie made this with good results and my friends have made them as well. Since it’s too late to go back, you can try freezing them so they firm up.

  15. These look great. I’m hoping to make them tonight because I’ll be traveling tomorrow and would love to bring a bar with me on the road. Quick question though, did you use 1 cup of rolled oats and then use the flour amount that came from that? Or did you grind the rolled oats until you had 1 cup of oat flour? Also, I’m planning on substituting the truvia and stevia with regular granulated sugar. Are your truvia packets 3.5g per packet? If that’s the case, it’s safe to say that substituting 35g of sugar for the truvia and 28g of sugar for the stevia would be ok right? Thanks again for the recipe.

    • I measured 1 cup of oats and blended that into a slightly coarse flour for texture.
      The packets I use are 3.5g, which are twice as sweet as sugar, and 1 packet = 2 tsp of sugar. 10 packets = 6 tbs + 2 tsp of sugar (about 80g). The stevia is equal to about 5 tbs of sugar (60g sugar), so in total you will need about 140g of sugar, or ~3/4 cup. If using sugar, you may need to have a couple tablespoons more of the almond milk on hand. Because these are approximations, maybe add 1/2 cup of sugar, give it a taste, and see if it needs more. Good luck, hope you like the bars and have a lovely road trip!
      -Jess

    • Hi, I have a small problem with the sweetener as well. I’d like to make these bars without regular sugar, but I don’t have truvia – it’s not available where I live :( – but I do have dried stevia (stevia powder) and granulated erythritol… Any chance of combining these two and getting the same result? Thanks a lot.

    • I have never used stevia powder, but I would suggest using 3 teaspoons + 3/4 teaspoon of the powder to replace the liquid stevia in the recipe.
      I used this chart to get the approximated measurement: http://sweetleaf.com/sweetleaf-usage

      To replace the truvia, you will need 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of erythritol. I don’t believe this will affect the end result too much, but you may need a couple teaspoons of the almond milk on hand if the dough is too dry. Just make sure to give the dough a taste to see if it’s sweet enough to your liking. Good luck!

  16. Just made these! SOOO GOOOD! Thank you! I used 1/2 cup of granulated xylitol instead of stevia – I would say that I put a little two much – They are delicious but a tad too sweet! Next time I will add less xylitol! I have been searching for a yummy home-made protein bar recipe for a while now… and THIS is the best! Thanks for the recipe! Will not be buying anymore Luna bars! Save money and sugar!:)

  17. How long do these generally last in the refrigerator?

  18. These look amazing! I’m a peanut butter addict. Do you think I can use regular milk instead of almond milk? (it’s what I have on hand- and it’ll add a bit more protein.)

    Also, I have stevia powder on hand, but it seems I can’t use JUST that (no Truvia, erythriitol, etc, or sugar), right? The stevia is so concentrated, that the amount needed to keep the wet/dry proportion intact would be WAY too sweet. Any ideas? (I’m trying to avoid buying Truvia, as it’s a little pricey, and I’d use it just for this one recipe. Although, if it’s as good as it looks, I’ll be making it again!)

    Any ideas would be appreciated…Thanks!
    -Mary

  19. These look amazing! The only this is, I can’t eat oats, is there another flour I can use? Thanks!
    -Courtney

    • Courtney-
      You can try using any other flour such as brown rice flour, almond flour, coconut flour, etc. Add the protein powder before the oat flour replacement, then add the replacement 1 tbs at a time until you get a cookie dough texture.
      -Jess

  20. These look amazing! How many bars do you get and what do you use to cut them so they all come out uniform. your bars are all cut perfectally. Thanks

  21. Rice protein powder has been ordered and is on its way. I have been after a protein bar recipe this good for a long time, so here’s hoping it tastes awesome. One question—what would happen if you added some psyllium powder to up the fibre count? Would the bar still come together?

    • EEK! I hope you like/LOVE the protein bars :) you can totally drizzle them with chocolate or fold in some chocolate chips to make them extra delish.
      I haven’t used psyllium powder before so I’m not sure how it works. If it absorbs a lot of liquid (like flax and chia) then I would add 1 tbs psyllium powder + 1 tbs almond milk, or however much milk to make a very thick paste. Mix it in a bowl first then add it to the almond butter and almond milk in the first few steps.
      Personally, I would test out the protein bars as the recipe is stated so you get to know how the bars taste and feel. Then you can adjust sweetness and add the psyllium next time around. Either way, good luck!
      -Jess

  22. I made these bars today with almond butter and chocolate Sunwarrior because that’s whet I had on hand. Can’t wait to have one for my afternoon snack tomorrow. Have you tried freezing the finished bars? Thank you!

    • Hi Amy! Those bars sound delicious, especially the chocolate part 😉
      I haven’t tried freezing them because they keep pretty well if they’re covered tightly and kept in the fridge, and if you eat (at least) one per day. I hope you looove the protein bars!

    • They are amazing, thank you! The texture is great and I love that I know exactly what is in them. I can’t wait to try some other variations, I’m thinking cashew butter and vanilla Sunwarrior. Thank you again! Your site is a gem!

    • I’m so glad the almond butter+chocolate variation worked out, I gotta try that next! And cashew+vanilla sounds ahhhmazing, I wanna try that too now…

  23. Hi! Great great site, I tried these and the chocolate protein bars today, followed all measurements but both mixes were far far too wet-never came together like a ‘ball’ as in your write up? Any suggestions why? Should i just use a dash of almond milk instead of 1 cup + 2 tbs? Tried adding more oats and peanut butter to counter act the milk but made them far too thick. Still tasted nice but not really perfected the ‘bar’ style yet! Thanks! Keep up the great work

  24. Just found your blog recently–and just made these. Delicious! I used a chocolate protein powder and left out the sweetener, which made them yummy and chocolatey. How do you get yours shaped so perfectly? My edges aren’t nearly as pretty! Maybe I need a squarer pan!

  25. Have you ever tried these without sweetener at all? I would rather not use it and I am thinking of trying with smart balance natural pb and vanilla soy protein powder.

    • dessertswithbenefits

      I haven’t made these without a sweetener because without it they will not be sweet at all. The sweetener enhances the flavors of the ingredients too, but if you would rather not use it then that’s fine… I just don’t know how they would compare to the original recipe 😉
      However you make them though, I hope you love em!

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  29. I’m a fan of yours!!! =)

    Quick question, I made this last night and when I woke up this morning, it was soft and looks like it will not be like this. =( I placed it in the freezer instead, is that ok?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Josephine-
      Just a quick question, did you use whey protein? Whey protein tends to get really gooey and sticky and not solidify. I recommend using brown rice protein powder in these protein bars and my other protein bar recipes. Freezing it should work though, my friend makes these all the time using whey protein and just sticks them in the freezer to firm them up :)

  30. Thanks, very interesting blog!

  31. I made these last night and in the morning i found some blueish dots all around it??? Any thoughts on why?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Candace-
      Blue dots?? I have no idea what that could be, I have never experienced that whenever I make these. Did you refrigerate and cover the bars overnight? And are all of your ingredients before the expiry date? If so, I’m sure the bars will be okay to eat, they’ll just be strange to look at!

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  37. Just made a batch of these using cashew butter & unsweetened cashew milk… HEAVEN. I’m addicted to these bars… Saving so much not having to buy Quest bars which taste

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  39. When you say that the oats are “blended to a flour”, what do you mean by this? And how do you achieve it? Can you just use oat flour instead?

  40. Hi.

    I love your blog and your recipes are always so interesting and delicious. Thanks for all the work you do experimenting so we can benefit!
    Anyway, I came across this today: http://julielohre.com/portfolio/beverly-no-bake-protein-bars/?id=50
    No photo credit for you. Such bad blogging manners!
    Her protein bars must have been ugly.
    I guess it’s flattering, really!.
    Anyway, I just wanted you to know.

    Kate

    • Thanks so much Kate!! I’m glad you like my recipes :)
      And thanks for bringing that website to my attention. Although she did provide a different recipe, she still did use my image without permission, which is copyright infringement :/
      Although, I’ve gotta say it makes me feel a little better about my amateur camera skills, haha :)
      Have a great week!
      -Jess

  41. Do you think these would work using hemp protein powder?? I just recently bought some and haven’t tried cooking with it. These look AMAZING and I’d like to try them

    • Jaime-
      I’ve never used hemp protein powder before so I can’t be sure. Although, in my experience, vegan protein powders are all pretty similar and absorb a lot of liquid.
      I would recommend starting out with 3/4 cup of hemp protein, and then add more from there if the dough needs it. The texture should look like cookie dough, like pictured here:
      http://instagram.com/p/lAb4niChdK/
      I hope this substitution works out for you, and I hope you like the protein bars!! :)
      -Jess

  42. Your recipe lists stevia extract as an ingredient, but the link is for stevia liquid drops. Are they interchangeable?

  43. Has anyone tried using honey instead of Truvia or Stevia?

    • KT-
      I haven’t tried using a liquid sweetener instead of the packeted ones, but feel free to give it a shot! That sounds like a really good idea. I would probably try using raw honey since it’s thicker and a bit healthier than the clear kinds. You’ll probably need about 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup of honey :)
      Since it does add some moisture to the recipe, be sure to keep some extra oat flour or protein powder on hand. You might need an extra few tablespoons of either or. The dough will be ready once it’s thick and looks like cookie dough, it shouldn’t be sticky.
      I hope you like the recipe!!
      -Jess

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  45. Would they set the same if I replaced the liquid Stevia with agave nectar?

    • Shay-
      I’m afraid agave won’t replace the stevia. You’d need about 1/4 cup of agave to add the amount of sweetness in the stevia, but then the bars will have too much liquid and might not solidify.
      If you’re up for some recipe-testing, you can try the agave substitution and just add a couple tablespoons more oat flour and a couple tablespoons more peanut butter :)
      I hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

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  47. HI! First I have to say THANK YOU! 2 weeks ago I began a macrco diet and I haven’t been able to find a protein bar that meets my high standards! There are always weird ingredients or if I do find one with organic ingredients the fat and carbs are super high! I made these last night but when I went to cut them this morning they all crumbled. I followed the recipe to the T minus the sweetener. I didn’t add any. Could my sun warrior scoop be bigger? When I placed them in the pan I didn’t get a ball when I finished more like a bowl of meal, however I still was able to smash them firmly into the pan. Any pointers would be appreciated! I want them to look as good as yours!

    • Lauren-
      The scoop sizes may have changed… by the end of the recipe the dough should be like cookie dough. I measured the 168g of the protein powder and it should be 1+1/4 cups lightly packed.
      To salvage the recipe, maybe add the protein “meal” back to the stand mixer bowl and add almond milk 1 tbs at a time, until it forms a ball. It should look like this (except not green from the matcha):
      http://instagram.com/p/lAb4niChdK/
      I hope this works out for you, sorry about the trouble! I hope you like the recipe and I’m glad it fits your macros :)
      -Jess

  48. Thank you so much Jess! I will try that! I’m planning to make the matcha tonight. I’m just obsessed with your site! Can’t believe how beautiful your recipes are! This is like the holy grail for someone trying a macro diet. I love to bake and most of the things I make do not fit my diet. Now they can!

  49. Would soy protein work for these and the other recipies that call for brown rice protein?

  50. Hi, I was wondering if it’s okay to omit the truvia and stevia from the recipe? Also, can I use regular vanilla protein powder? My other half would die for these! Thanks!

    • Charlee-
      I’m afraid the sweeteners are crucial in these protein bars. Without them, the bars will be very bland. By “regular protein powder” do you mean whey? If so, whey doesn’t work in this recipe, only brown rice protein (whey doesn’t absorb the liquid and the mixture turns really sticky).
      -Jess

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