Raw Gingerbread Hemp Protein Bars

I’m sitting in sunny Florida as I write this post, visiting Nick’s parents and brother.  So besides the fact that it’s 80 F and there are palm trees all around me, is it too soon to start eating gingerbread? I’m thinking it’s ok because Starbucks started serving their pumpkin latte in August.  Seasonal eating a month early seems perfectly normal these days and I’m jumping right on that trend.  Give me gingerbread, anything gingerbread, and I’m one happy girl 🙂

Here I give you gingerbread protein bars!  These are not your average gingerbread man cookies, or any sugar and flour laden gingerbread dessert for that matter.  While just as tasty, they are actually full of seeds and dried fruits; eliminating the unhealthy part of gingerbread and instead offering a natural abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.  Yes, you can have another 🙂

I based this recipe off my super seedy hemp protein bars.  They have become my go-to snack when I’m super busy and post-workout bar of choice.  Because I love gingerbread, I decided to update my favorite hemp protein bars to become a seasonal treat.  With the perfect amount of gingerbread goodness, these bars will energize you while fulfilling your sweet tooth; all while helping you not pack on the pounds this holiday season.  Cheers!

Raw Gingerbread Hemp Protein Bars
paleo, grain-free, vegan

yield: 8 bars

7 dried figs, diced (I used calymata)
7 dates, pitted (I used medjool)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened hemp protein powder
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup tahini (can sub other seed/nut butter)
1-2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (regular molasses will work here as well)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash allspice
pinch salt
1-2 Tbsp water, as needed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts*

*These bars can easily be made nut free by subbing the walnuts for pumpkin seeds or chocolate chunks.  You can also leave them out entirely.

1.  Add the dates, figs, and coconut to the base of a food processor.  Pulse together until a rough flour begins to form.
2.  Add the hemp hearts, hemp protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Blend until well combined.
3.  Add the tahini, blackstrap molasses, and vanilla extract.  Blend until you can pinch together the dough and it sticks together.  If the mixture is too dry, you can add water one teaspoon at a time. Pulse in the walnuts.
4.  Empty the dough into a 8×8 inch baking pan and press down to form a even layer of the dough.  Make sure it is firmly packed.
5.  Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set.  Cut into 8 equal bars and store in the freezer in a air-tight container.

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