Want a low carb energy bar that doesn’t taste like sawdust? These no-bake chocolate hazelnut bars will knock your socks off!
Reason number 5208 that I love my new state of Oregon: the hazelnuts. Did you know that 99% of the hazelnuts grown in the US come from Oregon? I honestly had no idea about this fact until a little before I moved here. In fact, I don’t think I ever thought about where hazelnuts are grown before this tidbit was made known to me. However, as a devotee of Bob’s Red Mill hazelnut flour in particular, and of hazelnuts in general, I should have been paying a little more attention. They’re both based in Oregon! I love those little round brown nuts and I especially love them when they are toasted, ground up and combined with chocolate. In other words, I love Nutella. Or at least my own sugar-free homemade version of Nutella.
I seem to be going a little crazy on making my own chocolate hazelnut spread lately. Ever since I realized how smooth and creamy I could get it in a high-powered blender like Blendtec, I have become a little addicted to homemade nut butter. And I like seeing what I can do with these nut butters too. In this case, I knew I wanted a no-bake bar with intense chocolate hazelnut flavor. So I combined the homemade nutella with some hazelnut meal and a few other ingredients and pressed it firmly into pan. It worked exactly as I’d hoped and they held together beautifully. Then I just had to cover the whole thing in a thin layer of chocolate. But these would be great without it too.
Now, many people may wonder why I am calling this recipe an “energy bar” when it contains less than 5 grams of protein per serving. In the larger fitness and wellness world, people equate energy with high protein content. All those bars out on the market with the protein count in large lettering, each vying to be the one you think will power you through your day. But a proper low carb diet should not be particularly high in protein. Not unless you want to damage your liver, anyway. It’s a common mistake to think that if we drop our carbs, we must necessarily load up on protein for fuel. But there’s another fuel source, and that’s fat. Of course, it’s the dreaded word, “fat”. People panic when they see it. Who can blame them, given how long we’ve been trained to think fat makes us fat? But if you are well immersed in the low carb world, you know that fat is the best way to feel full and satiated, and to actually lose or control your weight. And yes, once you’ve trained your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs or protein, it gives you great energy.
So yes, these are energy bars. Or at least they were meant to be. They were good enough to be dessert, as it turned out. But then again, some of those “energy bars” on the market are sweet enough to be dessert too. So I am sticking by my title. I think the world needs a few more low carb, high fat energy bar recipes!
Disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill is sponsoring my attendance to Eat Write Retreat conference later this month. As always, all opinions are my own.
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 3/4 cup Lily's sugar-free chocolate chips or other sugar-free chocolate, chopped
- Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine Nutella, butter, chocolate and powdered sweetener. Stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in hazelnut flour, protein powder and chopped hazelnuts.
- Transfer to pan and press firmly and evenly into the bottom. Use a flat bottomed glass covered with parchment or plastic wrap to help press it in.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, combine butter or oil and chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Spread over cooled bars and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
Food energy: 228kcal
Total fat: 21.50g
Calories from fat: 193
Total dietary fiber: 3.68g