A layer of chewy coconut fudge, an ice cream-like layer of creamy carob goodness, and a layer of crunchy cacao nibs, and a whole lotta deliciousness is how I would describe these little bars.
I made them while looking for a good mid-day snack in a stretch where I was doing a lot of running. These little fellas work brilliantly for an energy boosting treat.
Most importantly though, I have no idea why, but these bars somehow appear to be radiating happiness -- not sure if that makes any sense, but just looking at them made me happy, and that's the best pick-me-up in my opinion :)
I even snuck in a bit of protein powder into them to pack a bit more nutrition in -- something I don't do often, but which worked out really well in these bars.
Not sure how picky you are, but I generally don't like the taste of vegan protein powders and don't use them very often for that reason, preferring to focus on whole foods more. It's rare to come across a protein powder I really like, just because they tend to be gritty, or stevia-tasting, etc. and I end up spending heaps of time trying to "hide" them within my food as opposed to enjoying them. But in this case I made an exception and I'm really glad that I did.
A company called LivWell sent me some sample powders and as soon as I saw their product packaging I felt drawn to look them up -- somehow the look and feel of the product really resonated with me, as a product that's more simple, gentle, earthy, and harmonious than most of the vegan powders I've tried. I liked the sound of the tagline "be the change" too, because in my perception this company seemed to be striving to do just that.
When I read that it's a raw protein powder too I got excited. The ingredients list looked nice and clean. I said, oh why not, let's see if it lives up to my expectations.
I am pleased to report it more than did. I have genuinely been enjoying these protein powders -- I tried both the raw cacao and the wild vanilla bean flavors (featured above) and they have both been absolutely lovely. No grittiness, no noticeable stevia taste. It's organic and non-GMO. No added oils, and not even nuts or soy for those that care. Just lovely. I've been making smoothies with it, and also worked it into these bars and enjoyed it as an extra treat.
You can check out their vanilla and cacao powders here.
Note, I have not been paid in any way to write this post, but if you wanted to give LivWell's powders a try and purchase it through the link above I'll make a small commission on your purchase (at no extra cost to you) which helps to cover blog maintenance costs, etc.
That said, you can make these bars using ANY protein powder you like. I find with many of them the flavor can come out pronounced in a recipe, so if you enjoy the flavor it will be great, but if you use a protein powder you don't like, chances are you won't like the treats you make with it either. So go with what you enjoy and is accessible to you.
One other quick tip is to let these bars thaw out on the counter for a bit (10 mins or so) for best results, as otherwise they can be a bit "tough." My husband liked them softer than I did, so he got them out even earlier than that. I thought 10 mins was perfect -- a sort of chewy fudge + creamy ice cream experience :)
Carob Coconut Protein Fudge Bars
These raw vegan carob coconut protein bars have a lovely chewy fudge layer and a soft creamy carob layer. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 9 squares
- Category: Bars
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1 cup coconut manna (coconut butter; not coconut oil)
- 5-6 tablespoon raw vanilla protein powder (I used 2 packets of Livwell Vanilla powder)
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp almond milk (or another plant milk)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ⅓ of the mixture from the coconut layer
- 3 tbsp almond milk (or another plant milk)
- 2 tbsp carob powder
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- cacao nibs, chocolate (or carob) chips or chunks, chocolate shavings, etc. Or alternatively use shredded coconut or chopped nuts of choice (if not nut-free).
- Blend all coconut layer ingredients in a power blender until smooth. Transfer ⅔ of this mixture (leaving the remaining ⅓ behind in the blender) to a 7" x 5" glass container (or any dish of a similar size) that's lined with parchment paper at the base and sides. Even out the layer with the back of a spoon.
- Add remaining carob layer ingredients to the blender and blend again until smooth. Transfer this mixture into the container over the coconut layer and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. Thaw out slightly (until you can pull the frozen bar out of the container), pull out of the container onto a cutting board and cut into pieces, and enjoy! Keep leftovers frozen and thaw out a piece at a time as needed for a few minutes for a softer texture.
Disclaimer: this recipe contains an affiliate link to the Livwell protein powder I used in these bars.