Ultimate protein bar

A homemade protein bar for athletes on the run.

Beyond The Peel
A protein bar packed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, and raisins and sweetened with honey.

The Ultimate Protein Bar! It sounds so conceited doesn't it? I thought so too, but these are really good. I can't figure out why. I didn't even start with a recipe. I just started chucking things into a bowl and baked it. These are the best ones we've made yet, not solely for the flavor, though they are really tasty, but more because of the texture. The result is a ridiculously moist yet dense protein bar. I believe this recipe will be the base for many other concoctions and flavors in the future.

The whole thing started because I was making Pavlova and needed 4 egg whites. Also I wanted to stuff it with cream and fruit but wanted to try it with a dairy free cream, such as whipped coconut cream. I read about coconut cream recently but had never tried it. Oh my word, it's delicious. As the queen of never wanting to waste anything, I wanted to figure out a way to use the rest of the coconut water and the 4 egg yolks that I was left with. At the same time my husband reached for the last Peanut Butter Oatmeal Protein Bar, and that's when the concocting began.

I chose to use sunflower seed butter for two reasons. First, I like to change the flavor of our bars every time we make a batch so we don't get bored with them. Changing the texture helps, too. Second, the price on sunflower seed butter is half the price of almond butter! I like that.

Sunflower butter oatmeal raisin protein bars

1 cup rolled oats
Coconut water from the bottom of a coconut cream can or 1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup water

4 eggs yolks room temperature
1 cup plain 2 percent yogurt (or the coconut cream from the top of the can)
3/4 cup warm honey
1/2 cup melted coconut butter

1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seed butter (or any other type of nut butter you like)
1-1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
1 cup pumpkin seeds toasted

Soak 1 cup of the oats in coconut water and 1/2 cup water for 1 hour. Set eggs out to warm to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.

Mix the eggs, yogurt, honey and coconut butter together until well blended. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until no lumps remain. Break up the soaked rolled oats with a fork if need be. Pour the batter into the prepared baking baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, so that the coconut oil and sunflower seed butter can solidify.

Cut into 2x1-inch slices (my husband prefers 3x1-inch slices).

The bars will store well in the fridge for a week. This recipe makes a large batch so I wrap mine individually in wax paper and freeze them.

France Morrisette is a Monitor contributor and blogs at Beyond the Peel.

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