Oil-free Carrot Cake Protein Bars

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on July 2, 2012

Kevin and I had such a great time camping this weekend. It’s exactly what we needed.

There were many good eats to be had (including these high protein, gluten-free, homemade protein bars) naps, and long, long roads to venture down.

We had planned to stay at the campsite until this morning, but decided to head home a day early to beat the long weekend rush. There’s nothing worse than closing off a relaxing trip by being stuck in a 300km traffic jam with every other camper and their dog… literally. We enjoyed a warm dinner by the fire last night, then leisurely made our way home.

Today, we have every intention to nurture our relaxed mood until we head back into the office tomorrow morning. A big pancake breakfast is definitely in our future, followed by a long walk with the puppies, and perhaps; in keeping with camping tradition, we may treat ourselves to a nice long nap this afternoon. Sure sounds a lot better than trudging through traffic!

One of the items I prepared in advance for our trip were these protein bars. As much Kevin would love to live on a diet of hot dogs, roasted marshmallows and potato chips while we’re camping, that just wont fly with this girl!

In planning this recipe, I wanted to create a snack for us that:

  • could be squished in a cooler and still taste good
  • portable
  • mess-free
  • low in sugar
  • high in protein

Kevin’s version was raisin-free, mine was raisin packed. We make a good team he and I!

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4.8 from 4 reviews

Oil-free Carrot Cake Protein Bars
Author: 
Allergens: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 bars, 8 servings
 
Gluten-free protein bars filled with carrot cake flavor! Less than 250 calories with over 13 grams of protein.
Ingredients
Wet
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed banana or ¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce *see note
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract or flesh from 1 vanilla bean
Dry
Add-ins
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup raisins
Topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line an baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl. Once incorporated, add to the wet mix and mix until smooth.
  4. Add shredded carrots and raisins. Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes to thicken up.
  5. Scoop approximately ⅓ cup at a time into your hand. Shape into a bar and place on prepared baking sheet. You can also shape the bars on the baking sheet, I found that was easiest.
  6. Bake bars for 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean, the bottoms of the bars or golden, and the tops are cracking slightly.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
  8. Once cooled completely, top with a drizzle of coconut butter.
Notes
I tried one batch with banana and the other with apple sauce. Both yield a similar bar, but Kevin and I liked the banana one a bit more. We found that the banana made the bar sweeter, naturally. Any type of rice protein or combined vegan protein should do the trick. If you use hemp protein, you may have to reduce the amount as hemp protein is quite dry. To keep grain-free and paleo, choose a protein powder that’s not made from rice. If you don’t want to use protein powder, you could try almond flour instead. STORING INSTRUCTIONS – The bars will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. They also freeze well. Wait until the bars are completely cooled and coated with coconut butter. Place them in an air-tight container and stick in the freezer. No wrapping of individual bars needed. When you want to eat, just take out of the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 minutes or so.

Begin by lining up your ingredients.

In two separate bowls, combined wet ingredients in one, and dry in the other. Be sure to give the dry ingredients a good whisk so that everything is fully combined.

Add dry to wet and blend with a hand blender or spatula. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes to thicken up. Don’t be concerned if the mix is too wet at first, coconut flour will do it’s magic if left for just a couple of moments.

Add your carrots and raisins…

Stir until combined, then start shaping into bars!

Throw in the oven, clean up your messy kitchen… and await the awesomeness that is about to be your favorite homemade protein creation!

Do you enjoy camping?

If so, do you find it challenging to eat healthy when you’re camping?

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

I love this idea! I’m a huge carrot cake fan, so these bar are perfect for me!

Camping has never been my bag… my dad used to to joke that my idea of camping was staying a the Holiday Inn instead of the Hilton. LOL! I would imagine that eating healthy while in the woods wouldn’t be too hard – it seems like anything else it’s all about being prepared.

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Yolanda

I am so going to makes these when I get home from vacation next week!!!

Yolanda

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com }

I don’t find it challenging to eat healthy while camping – mostly because I don’t worry to much about it! Whenever we camp we usually hike for a few hours each day so by the time we sit down for veggie dogs, baked beans and smores I’m not to worried about calories considering we just burned through 1000 or so!

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free

I’m so glad you had a wonderful weekend! And thank you for this recipe-WOW!!! I cannot wait to try it!

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katie @KatieDid

oh I love camping but haven’t been in years. Its on my summer bucket list though, I must make it happen! Glad you had so much fun on your adventure.

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Janae @ Bring-Joy

Leanne, glad you had a nice time camping.

We’re going camping this week & I’m preparing for the trip today, so I hope to make time to make these, as you point out, perfect travel/camping food. I’m going to try replacing the eggs with flax or chia–do you think I’ll have success. These look like a bigger version of kidz Clif bars, which my kids love. Thanks for the recipe, looks tasty & nutritious!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Oh you’re going to have SO much fun! I’ve tried making coconut flour baked goods without eggs and have failed every time, minus the linzer cookies I made a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure it will work without the eggs. But, if you master it, please share how you did it! Enjoy your time away with the family, Janae!

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LizAshlee

These look great..I love making your own homemade bars for outdoor adventures! I do enjoy camping, however, we aren’t allowed to have fires bc of the extreme fire danger…it’s so hot here!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Oh no, that’s half the fun! The fire-level was set to low the whole time we were gone so we had many, many fires. It’s like natures television. I could watch the fire ALL day.

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Cheryl @ happy is the new healthy

Okay, these caught my eye IMMEDIATELY. Should I plan a hiking trip just to have an occasion to try em?

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Yes… yes you should!

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Dawn M.

You know I will be making these! I can’t wait! :-)

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Tracy @ Commit to Fit

These look fantastic, Leanne! I just may have to make my own. ;)

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Andrea

These look perfect! Love the drizzle of coconut butter on top, too. I absolutely LOVE camping, and would do it every month if I could! My boyfriend and I are planning a camping trip soon and I will probably pack a ton of cut up raw veggies, fruits, some bars (gotta remember to make these!!), maybe some veggie sandwiches, eggs, etc. My boyfriend, Nick, eats meat, but I don’t, but I will probably take some burgers/brats/dogs for him to grill over the fire.. and maybe make some homemade veggie burgers for myself! I’m glad you and Kevin had a good time this weekend… and way to go for continuing the vacation into today :) Enjoy the rest of it!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

Mmm this sounds so good Leanne! I remember seeing your photo of one of the bars on Pinterest and have had my fingers crossed that the recipe would be coming up! I’m glad you guys had a great time. I’m not really a camper (unless it’s hotel camping!) but I do love a good hike which is exactly what happened this weekend. I think you guys made a wise decision to come back early… an afternoon nap is sounding lovely to me at the moment too… and it’s not even 11am yet! ;)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Where did you go hiking, Angela? So great that you got to be outside! Hope you guys are having good weather. It rained on us a couple of times, but nothing a bunch of tarps can’t fix!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

Ange, Eric and I went to Websters and Tews Falls, which are only about an hour from here. I swear, I don’t know why I haven’t checked out more of our conservation areas before this summer – they’re gorgeous and not that far away at all! Pics are up on the blog today. Luckily no rain – the falls were actually a lot more dry than usual (apparently) because we’ve had such a hot summer!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Wow, that sounds like a great time! I think Angela blogged about the falls awhile ago, right? I’ll go check out your blog post now. Like I told Angela, any time you want to send some of the hot weather our way, we’d gladly take it!

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Kevin

Great weekend and awesome food :)

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Courtney

Oh yummy! These would be a perfect pre-workout snack. And I have all of the ingredients! I think I’ll make these on Wednesday. Thanks, Leanne!

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Kristina

camping naps are The Best!

these look great, I love to bake with carrots. we are headed back up to wine country for our holiday… these would be perfect to bring along! I always need extra snacks while wine tasting…

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It’s great that you guys are heading back, it sounds like you had a great time during your last visit. When are you planning your vacation?

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Averie @ Averie Cooks

I love carrot cake! I bet these would be so good and what a perfect camping/hiking food!

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Nora @ Natural Noshing

These look incredible! Yum, yum!
Do you think I could use whey protein?

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’m sure you could use whey protein. I made the bars with a couple of different proteins to make sure they would work. The only one I know wont do the trick is egg protein. Good luck!

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Min

I’ve purchased this ginormous package of carrots from Costco recently, and quite frankly, I’ve been getting tired of snacking on them. So I def want to try this recipe! I have everything except the coconut flour. And I’ve never heard of coconut butter before! I learn so much from your blog! You’re so creative and such an inspiration ;).

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Lynda Bay

For real? Is it made of carrots? Oh great!

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Heather @ Fit Mama Real Food

Yum these sound perfect! Naturally sweetened is to way to go.

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chris

This looks so tasty. Any way I can make it without eggs?

Please…..

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks, Chris. I haven’t tested it so I’m not sure. You could try using my apple fiber bar recipe and tweaking it a bit. There are no eggsin the recipe so you may have more success with making the apple bars carrot and high in protein than trying to adapt the carrot cake bar. Here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6006460 You could probably: replace brown rice flour with rice protein, replace apples with carrots, replace coconut oil with apple sauce and add a bit of raisins to make them similar to these! Hope that helps ;)

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Mikelle @ Zen Thyroid

Yay camping! So glad you guys had a relaxing time – it sounds great :) The bars look amazing but no eggs for me either so I am going to try the apple fiber bars instead. I will definitey take those camping with me. I find it pretty easy to eat healthy while camping – I am a planner and a snacker so I just pack everything I need. Protein powder, fruit and nori wraps are my go to!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Nori wraps, good call! I’ll have to remember that for next time.

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A Table in the Sun

Really nice photo journal. I’m so glad you enjoyed camping. We’re heading out this weekend. I’m looking forward to hiking, and being in the cool weather near the coast.

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Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

Oh my gosh. I am saving this recipe for when I get my hands on coconut flour. Do you think I could make this with protein powder in place of the coconut flour? I do have that. :)

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Sorea

Hi there

Just made these yesterday, but it was so runny, I had to make a little loaf out of it instead, which was not bad, but I really want it to be like your original. I live in Mauritius, and we can’t find coconut flour here, how can I adjust the recipe to be not so runny? I know that you have to adjust all liquids if you don’t use coconut flour.

Thanks for your amazing site.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Sorea, what flour did you end up using?

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Kate

Made these bars over the weekend – they are fantastic! They’re tastey but not too sweet and also very filling. I didn’t have any coconut butter but I think they are just fabulous “naked”. Leane, thank you for creating and sharing all these amazing recipes. I’m willing to try anything so your blog has turned me into a gluten-free and semi dairy-free girl lately. I wasn’t looking to change my diet but after following your recipes day after day I noticed how much better I feel without gluten and dairy in my life. I have a random question for you that I’ve always wondered – does “full fat coconut milk” always mean the stuff out of a can (~14g fat)? If so, do you happen to know if that freezes well? Thanks in advance. This is an amazing site and your dedication/knowledge shows!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Kate, that’s so cool that you’ve just fallen into this new eating style and that you feel better as a result. I love hearing stories like yours :) So glad you liked the bars. I’ve made a couple of batches and love how filling they are too. Full fat coconut milk – yes, it’s the stuff that’s around 14g of fat per 2-3 tablespoons. I freeze mine so that I can use it in smoothies and ice creams. I haven’t tried to freeze it then defrost it so not sure what would happen, but I don’t see it being a major issue. Hope that helps!

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Tracey Palmer

Hi Leanne,

Thank you for all of these wonderful recipes! I was just wondering if you have tried to freeze these? I make a lot of “make ahead snacks” that I freeze and I’m going to make these and I’m hoping that they will freeze well!!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Tracey, you’re most welcome! I’m glad you like them :) Yes, I have frozen several batches of these bars and they weren’t impacted at all. Enjoy!

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Carly

How do you store these? They look delicious and I’m wondering how long they will be fresh without refrigeration or freezing?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Carly – The bars will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. They also freeze well. Wait until the bars are completely cooled and coated with coconut butter. Place them in an air-tight container and stick in the freezer. No wrapping of individual bars needed. When you want to eat, just take out of the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 minutes or so. Enjoy!

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Yolanda

I made these yesterday and oh my!!! I used unsweetened applesauce and this is the first sweet item I’ve had other than raw peanut butter balls and they sure hit the spot.

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Kristi

We just got home from a weeklong camping trip. I am soooo making these tomorrow morning!
My husband’s idea of healthy eating is only having three s’mores instead of four…..I just showed him the picture of the bars and how I found it difficult to maintain healthy eating while camping with him and he said, “Why? Marshmallows are a fruit.”. Good lord…….

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

hahaha marshmallows are fruit, that’s cute. Well, time to change the mans mind! Hope you enjoy the bars ;)

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Meg

Womderful recipe! I Added extra baking powder and put these in mini loaf tins. Delicious!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Great idea. I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times and never thought to bake them in loaf tins!

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Jasmine

We loved these (even the picky husband and 10 yr old)! Perfect – gluten free, nut free, portable, tasty protein for breakfast or snacks (or even saying yes to dessert)! I’m thinking with a few modifications, you could make multiple versions of these – apple cinnamon, pumpkin pie, lemon poppyseed, banana, blueberry?… What do you think?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

That’s awesome news, Jasmine! I’ve had countless readers tell me that they’ve switched up the flavor combos. I love the idea of apple cinnamon… yum!

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Vicki

These sound so wonderful. Except, I’m vegan…. Has anyone tried making them using an egg sub like a “flax egg’?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Vicki – I haven’t tried to make this recipe vegan and haven’t heard from anyone on any successes either. A lot of attempts though. What you may want to try out are these carrot cake bites and just add some protein powder. Hope that helps!

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ehehe

Thanks for the recipe! I’ve made these twice now, both times with apple sauce. In the first batch I’ve forgotten the baking soda and I’ve like the result a lot better. They came out all flat and moist and delicious. The batch with soda turned out puffy and kinda dry, with all the other ingredients unchanged. I think I’m going to leave out soda from now on.

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Oh interesting, I’ll have to give it a try. I’ve made these a billion times and never thought to omit the baking soda. Glad you like them!

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Shelley

Hello Leanne, I just found your website a few days ago and have tried a few recipes.. absolutely loved them so far and can’t wait to try more. Love your combinations and all the options of gluten free, vegan, etc. Always looking for creative healthy food to make. So.. I put together this carrot cake bar recipe exactly as you specified and I could not get the mix to thicken. There was no way I could shape them into bars (they were a thin gooey mess) and poured them into a shallow pan and cooked them that way instead. They are absolutely delicious.. but what do I have to do to make them thicker so that I can form them into bars?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

That’s strange… I’ve never had that issue with this recipe. Is your coconut flour fairly old? Have you checked to see if it’s rancid or not? To check, just taste test it. If it’s bitter, it’s rancid. If not, perhaps you used larger eggs than normal? When you make them again, you could add an extra tablespoon of flour to see how that goes. Sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you! Glad the others you’ve made have been winners :)

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Terry

I agree with Shelley~my batter was not thick at all as pictured above. I Followed the recipe exactly, although I did add coconut palm sugar instead of the maple syrup.

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Terry – did you leave it to sit for 5 minutes or so? Coconut flour sometimes takes awhile to suck in the moisture. What brand of coconut flour did you use? What brand of protein powder did you use? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to see what went wrong. I’ve made this recipe countless times and never had an issue, but would like to get to the bottom of this!

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Terry

Hi Leanne!
Thanks for your quick response! First of all, I wanted to bake a special valentine for my husband without refined sugars and flour and this recipe hit the alternative. I did let it sit for about 2 min. as the recipe described, and I used “Let’s Do….Organic Coconut flour. I also used whey protein powder ( I didn’t have access to the protein powder in the recipe). Oh yes….as stated above, for sweetener I used coconut palm sugar. Well Leanne, it sure doesn’t look like I followed the recipe exactly huh? :/ With all that said, the flavor in these bars are outstanding! Delicious! I sure would like them to come out as pictured above, your bars appear to have a slight crunch externally and moist in the middle! :) Again, much thanks to you for your immediate response, and for sharing your absolutely healthy great tasting recipe!

EMGFree

Love these. Make them as cupcakes and freeze them. Pop one out every morning and have as a late morning snack. Great for keeping me balanced! Thanks!!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Wow, that’s such a great strategy!

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Chris

Hello…you know I am going to ask…
How can I make this egg free? Chia Egg? Psyllium? How can you make a Great Lakes Beef Gelatin egg?
Thanks!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

haha hey Chris! Are you on a candida diet, or just allergies? I think I should start adding a Chris-friendly section to my recipes ;) I’ve tried to be better with the notes later to help you!

I’m not sure these bars would work egg-free. I tried them once and they were a hot mess. Coconut flour doesn’t do well without eggs. Have you seen my chai granola bars? You could add protein to those and then get way better results (subbing out the banana for extra almond butter or coconut oil). I’ve never heard of a Great Lakes Beef Gelatin egg…. tell me more!

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Chris

Allergies!!!!! Yes, a Chris-friendly section would be nice :)
I’ll have to try your other bars. Not sure how much protein powder to add.
I read it online. Great Lakes Beef Gelatin is a gelatin that can be used for thickening like jello, etc. I have also read a little about agar whip eggs, but I have no idea how to use them in recipes.

Do you have a grain free, egg, free, soy free, dairy free, gluten free (ha ha pancake recipe? Now there’s a challenge!

Thanks!!!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Interesting… I think I’ll have to dig into this gelatin thing a bit more when I have a second. It sounds really interesting!

Have you heard of socca? Add some cinnamon to it and you have yourself a pancake free of ALL that stuff!

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leah

I just made these with pumpkin instead of apple sauce or banana and they cam eout really well. A little moist but they are still cooling:)

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Rebecca

So, I have this habit of coming home after working out and baking/cooking up a storm. It’s hilarious, though, because I’m usually quite “endorphin drunk”. My friends that have observed this hilarious activity have encouraged me to do an online cooking show in the vein of “My Drunk Kitchen” and I think I’m going to use this as my first recipe. I’m really excited to try these, but a couple of quick questions:

Do I need to do anything to mask the flavour of hemp protein, if I were to use it?
Can anything be substituted for the maple syrup? (Brown rice syrup, for instance?)
Want a link to this smashingly hilarious video once I’ve made it?

And to answer your question:

I love camping, but I haven’t been in eons. I don’t usually worry too much about healthy eating when camping. Generally, if I’m going camping it’s part of a multiday back country backpacking trip, and burning thousands of additional calories every day alleviates most calorie concerns.

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

haha I would LOVE to link to the video once I’ve taken a look at it. That sounds too fun. This recipe is pretty fragile, so I’m not sure hemp protein powder would work. If you were to do hemp protein, I’d remove the maple syrup and use all bananas to mask the taste of the hemp. The color isn’t going to be the best if you use hemp either. Can’t wait to see this video!

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Jess

I am so thankful to have found your website. I made these tonight and subbed the protein powder with almond flour & the raisins with dried cranberries because that’s what I had on hand.Delicious!! Can’t wait to have another for breakfast. Thanks for a great recipe

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Wow, so great to know that the portions worked well. I’m so happy that you found me!

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Jen

This is a great recipe! My sig-o hates raisins too (while I love them) so I used your raisin vs no raisin strategy :) so glad I’ve found your blog!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

What’s up with the raisin hate? I don’t get it! haha they are truly missing out. I’m happy that you found me, too!

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Karen

Leanne,

By the grace of God, I stumbled on your site early this morning. This recipe jumped started my day. These are downright delicious!!!! Thank you :)

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Angela

Is Coconut Butter the same as Coconut Oil? Can you substitute one for the other?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Angela – coconut butter is to coconut as peanut butter is to peanuts. Coconut oil is to coconut as peanut oil is to peanuts. Unfortunately they cannot be substituted… but I’m sure that you could use another type of seed or nut butter for this recipe!

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Shannon

I made them and they turned out great! I used bananas and whey protein (I know, not paleo) and they were a bit more liquid than the pics but turned out nice and cakey and moist! Thanks! I plan to try apple or another flavor soon….

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Jenny

I love these bars. They’re not too sweet and super portable. My favorite snack on the road!

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Leah

Do you think instead of banana I could try pumpkin and just add a little maple syrup to sweeten?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hey Leah – I’m working on a pumpkin version of this cookie! I had to change things around just a little bit. Here’s the link to the recipe (that I shared on SkinnyTaste last week) http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/10/pumpkin-spice-quinoa-breakfast-cookies.html

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hahaha oh Terry, often when people say that the recipe didn’t turn out, they have changed it just slightly and didn’t know it. It’s all good! I bet it was the use of whey protein instead of rice. The rice protein acts a lot like flour, stiffening up the dough. If you end up making them again (how sweet of you to make them for your hubby!) try adding 1 tablespoon more of coconut flour. Have a great weekend!

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