Pumpkin Protein Bars

pumpkin protein barsI went for my first mountain climb/hike this past weekend.  Although a novice, I knew we’d get hungry when we reached the top, so I made some of my “famous” pumpkin protein bars.  The recipe that follows can be adjusted to meet your specific caloric needs.  When I’m in contest prep, there are some adjustments that I make as well– such as eliminating some of the chocolate chips or substituting them all together for carab chips instead (granted, not as tasty, but when in contest prep, you make these kinds of adjustments).

Here’s what you’ll need to buy or find buried in your pantry somewhere…

ingredients

 

1– 15 oz. can pumpkin

1.5 cups old fashioned oats

4 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 egg whites

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 packets stevia sweetner

3 tbsp. sugar free pancake syrup

1/4 cup pomengranate aerils

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Optional ingredients– place in a baggie and smash the hell out of them with a rubber mallet.

1/4 cup cashews (chopped)

Optional Topping (which I added because I figured the additional sugar would not be a bad thing considering our long climb):

1/4 cup glazed pecans (chopped)

1 tsp. Pampered Chef Sweet Apple Sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. The mixture will be sticky and seem a bit dry.  Don’t worry.  This is normal.

bar mix
Mixture of first 8 ingredients.

Once those are combined, it’s time to add the “goodies,” the pomengranate seeds, the dark chocolate chips, and the chopped cashews.  Fold these into the mixture.  Don’t over-fold…the mixture is already dry enough.  Simply incorporate these ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed throughout the “dough.”

Dump the mixture into your greased baking pan.  If adding the optional ingredients, evenly distribute those across the batter, lightly pressing them into the mixture so they “glue” into place once baked.

Bake on center rack in oven for 20-25 minutes, checking closely toward end of bake time to ensure the edges are not burning.  I usually bake mine for about 20 minutes and then move them to a higher rack and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes.

baked bars
The Finished Product

Remove pan from oven and allow to cool in pan on a baking rack.  Cut into 8 bars, wrapping individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

It’s been a while since I calculated the macros for these bars, but I do recall that the protein content is around 24 grams and the carb content is around 26 grams.  The calorie count (depending on how many chips and optional ingredients you use) is between 300-350 calories.

Once we hit the peak of the mountain– wow!  Were we starving!!!  We both ate one of these and guzzled some water before making it down the other side of the mountain.  The bars hit the spot and gave us just enough energy to make the descent!

Let me know in the comments how these turn out for you!  Or if you have any questions, fire away!

 

 

 

 

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