Can it be that these bars remind me of grandma’s brownies made from scratch? They’re not too sweet thanks to the dates and unsweetened applesauce. They have a nice cocoa flavor and a moist but slightly dense, almost torte-like consistency.
OK, grandma’s brownies weren’t actually torte-like and they rose to a height of at least two and a half inches.
Other than the quinoa, hemp powder, and coconut, I’m sure they’re almost an exact replica.
I’m sure grandma never baked with hemp powder. She’d probably be a little confounded by the ingredient.
This was my first attempt to bake with it too.
It wasn’t a completely anonymous ingredient, and was a tad noticeable on the first bite. Keep eating, and the taste of coconut becomes more prominent and adds a nice little crunch. Then it’s just sweetness, chocolate, and coconut.
The only reminder that there’s quinoa in here is a little seed looking out at me as I bite.
My sister Alex is the official baker of grandma’s brownie recipe. Luckily, she’s searching for a substitute recipe that’s gluten-free. Maybe this will work.
Or maybe I’ll discover that the only thing they have in common is that they’re made with love.
Note: Inspired by Christine Frazier’s Chocolate Quinoa Protein Bars, and grandma.
Vegan Chocolate Quinoa Protein Bars (Gluten and Refined Sugar-Free)
Serves: 12/ Prep time: 25 mins. (including quinoa cook-time)/ Cook time: 22-25 mins. Oven temp: 350 degrees
Nutritional info in one bar: 131 calories, 3.6 g. of fiber, 6.6 g. of protein
¾ cup dry quinoa (or about 2 cups cooked)
½ cup dates, pitted (about 5)
3 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
2 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP ground flaxseed
½ tsp vanilla extract (grain free)
¼ tsp salt
½ cup protein powder (I used unsweetened hemp powder)
½ cup blanched almond flour
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup crushed 70% dark chocolate bar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8×8 baking dish.
- Rinse the dry quinoa well. Add quinoa to a pot and cover with about an inch of water. Place quinoa on the stove on high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat so it bubbles gently. For me this was medium. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked quinoa, dates, unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil, ground flaxseed, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix until smooth.
- In a small bowl, stir together the protein powder, flour, and coconut.
- Fold the dry mixture into wet ingredients with a spatula. Add the crushed chocolate and mix well.
- Press the dough into the baking dish. I used moist fingers to help smash things down.
- Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until firm. Mine took 25 mins.
- Let cool, then slice into a dozen bars.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months. Inspired by grandma, I wrapped each one individually in Saran wrap.
Do you have a favorite recipe that your grandma used to make? Tell me about it by leaving a comment up above.