Sugar cookies aren’t just for dessert. These homemade protein bars are easy to make and taste like a treat!
Based off of my On the Trail Protein Bars, this sugar cookie version is more dessert-like and softer. If you’re looking for a crunchy or even chewy bar then this recipe is not for you. These bars are for the cookie dough lovers who appreciate not having a surprise crunch of a nut or chew from a raisin. It also doesn’t hurt that they taste like a cookie as well 😉
What you’ll need
There are just 6 ingredients in these homemade bars:
- Rolled oats (quick or regular is fine as you’ll be pulsing them into a flour anyways)
- Vegan vanilla protein powder
- Cashew butter
- Pure maple syrup
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
Do not substitute peanut or almond butter for the cashew butter! The key to the buttery sugar cookie flavor is the mild, slightly sweet cashew butter. As I’m allergic to macadamia nuts, I haven’t tried these bars using macadamia nut butter, but I think it could work well as a substitute!
Choosing a Protein Powder
There are many types of protein powders and they all have different benefits and absorb liquid differently. While I prefer whey protein for post-workout shakes (see this post on why), when it comes to making protein bars I prefer the flavor and texture that plant-based protein powders provide. Specifically, I like Sun Warrior’s vanilla protein powder(no affiliate here, just personal preference) as it provides a great thickness to products and isn’t too sweet.
Before using a vanilla protein powder in this recipe, make sure that you like the taste of it when mixed with your milk of choice as that’ll give you an idea of how these bars will taste (albeit they will still be a bit sweeter and more buttery thanks to the maple syrup and cashew butter).
- Make the oat flour in a food processor. I usually make a coarse flour for a little more texture to the bars, but if you want pure cookie-dough texture then pulse finer.
- Mix everything together (except the milk) well in a medium mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. I’m sure you could use a stand mixer, but I find it easier to get the texture just right by hand mixing.
- Slowly pour in the milk. Depending on what kind of protein powder you use, you may need more or less milk. They key is to get to a sticky cookie dough-consistency.
- Evenly spread the mixture into an 8×8 container. I used a glass dish and didn’t have any problems with the bars sticking, but to be safe you may want to put down a layer of parchment paper. Note for thicker bars, use a smaller container.
- Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Slice into 12 bars and store in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can make these last even longer by storing in the freezer for at least 3 months and thawing overnight in the fridge.
Note: these bars are best straight out of the fridge. If bringing to work, I recommend keeping them in a lunchbox with an ice pack or storing in your work fridge.
With all the holiday baking going on, I hope you enjoy these simple protein-packed bars when those sweet cravings hit! If you enjoy these bars or have tips for making them even better, let me know! Drop a comment below or message me on Instagram @TheHealthyToast_RD.
Sugar Cookie Protein Bars
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup vegan vanilla protein powder I used Sun Warrior
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk*
- Pulse oats into a coarse flour using a food processor.
- Combine oats, protein powder, salt, cashew butter and maple syrup in a medium mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Slowly pour in milk of choice. Depending on what kind of protein powder you use, you may need more or less milk. They key is to get to a sticky cookie dough-consistency.
- Next, pour the mixture into an 8x8 container. I used a glass container and didn't have any problems with the bars sticking, but to be safe you may want to put down a layer of parchment paper. Note for thicker bars, use a smaller container.
- Place bars in freezer for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Slice into 12 bars and store in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for 3 months.