We are about one week away from moving into our new apartment (and moving out of our house-sitting situation, goodbye forever weird tiny sink), and I’m making an effort to not buy groceries and use up what we already have instead. I failed once when we were returning something to Costco and I ending up buying a 3kg bag of chocolate chips, but otherwise the endeavour is going well, I’d say – and anyway, I put some of those chocolate chips to good use in these Cashew, Chocolate, & Turmeric Protein Bars (other good uses: chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip waffles, eating straight out of your hand like a goat at a petting zoo nomming pellets).
Other pantry items that made their way into these bars: Oats, brown rice cereal, coconut. And this recipe is pretty flexible – mix up the dry ingredients as you like, so long as it adds up to the same overall amount you should be golden-as-turmeric. The cashew butter is great here – a bit more exotic than the usual peanut butter and chocolate combo, and it complements the subtle flavour of the turmeric really well – but if you want to sub in peanut, almond, or sunflower butter I would definitely encourage you to do so. The nut butter is a dominant flavour here (along with the chocolate, should you choose to use it – see the recipe note), so make sure it’s one you like. Similarly the hemp protein can be any unsweetened vegan protein powder, or it can be left out if you prefer.
In total, making these bars requires about 10 minutes hands-on time, even less if you use a microwave to warm the brown rice syrup and cashew butter. The trickiest component of this recipe is the yellow drizzle on the top, which is fully optional. The cocoa butter needs to be the right consistency to sit on top of the bars without soaking into them – opaque, but not solid. I found it easiest to melt the cocoa butter fully (at which point it will be translucent), stir in the turmeric, then let it sit at room temperature until it firmed up a little, about 5 minutes.
- 1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
- 1 cup brown rice cereal
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp hemp protein powder (unflavoured & unsweetened)
- 1 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (see note)
- 1/4 cup chocolate, melted
- 1/8 cup cocoa butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Grease a 9x9" square pan and set aside (8x8" would also do well).
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- On the stove or in the microwave, heat cashew butter, brown rice syrup, and vanilla until they can be stirred together completely, with no chunks of cashew butter remaining, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the syrup over the dry ingredients and stir well to combine, making an effort to incorporate any of the powder that has slipped to the bottom of the bowl. Clean wet hands are an excellent tool here.
- Upend the bowl into your greased pan and use wet hands (to prevent sticking) to flatten the top and compress the bars. Place in the fridge to firm up.
- Melt chocolate. Flick or spread it over the cooled bars.
- Heat cocoa butter with turmeric until just melted (if the mixture turns translucent, let it cool a bit until opaque but still runny - that way it won't melt into the bars and will sit prettily on top instead). Flick it over the cooled bars.
- Let the toppings firm up then cut the bars in a 3x3 grid to make 9 squares. To store, wrap the bars individually and keep in the fridge. Enjoy at room temperature.
- If you want your chocolate to stay in chip form, freeze them before use so they do not melt when mixed in, or use cacoa nibs. If you want the chocolate running throughout the bar (like the ones in the picture), stir room temp chips in.