I used to make at least 5 different types of cookies each Christmas. I would eat a ton of cookies and then package them up and take them to my co-workers, neighbours and family members. Now I make my favourites - chocolate chip shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, ginger cookies and sometimes chocolate almond bark. Typing that out, it sounds like a lot but they are all very quick cookies to make - none require rolling out or cutting.
This year I decided that I would try to modify my chocolate covered peanut butter balls from basically a mixture of peanut butter and icing sugar to make them a bit more nutritionally dense. I decided to use non bake protein bars as a base. There are tons of recipes on line for protein bars. I modified mine from this recipe .http://ohsheglows.com/2010/12/02/chocolate-dipped-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-balls/ from Oh She Glows - I seem to have a cooking crush on this website lately.
I added my favourite protein powder that I used in a lot of baking - cookies, muffins or pancakes and it works great. Since all of the baking I use it in is sweet, the vanilla flavour works perfectly.
Chocolate Covered Protein Balls
2/3 cup of cashews
3/4 cup protein powder
3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
5 medjool dates pitted & chopped
5 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup hemp hearts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp margarine
In a food processor, process the cashews and oatmeal until they form a fine powder. Add protein powder, peanut butter, dates, syrup, vanilla and hemp. Process again until the mixture forms a rough ball. Roll dough into bite size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place cookies in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate chips and margarine either on the stove top or microwave, watching closely as chocolate can burn quickly. Using two forks, dip and roll the protein balls in the chocolate. Once coated, put back on cookie sheet. When finished, return to the freezer until the chocolate has set - about 30 minutes. Store protein balls in a covered container in the freezer.
Follow up taste-test
I do wish these were a bit more peanut buttery tasting but they are still great and I'm happy to add a bit more protein to my diet. Maybe next time I would add less cashews and more peanut butter. I did taste the vanilla flavouring in the protein powder, but it was not over whelming. The real taste test will happen when my husband discovers these. If I still have some left in a week - either he didn't find my hiding spot or doesn't like them.