WELL boys and girls. This week, my Monday kicked off with the most exciting and inspiring news. It literally made my week – not bad for a Monday! I got an email from the Health Bloggers Community letting me know that THIS little blog, my passion project for the past 9 months, The Irish Balance, has been SHORT-LISTED in the top THREE nominees for Best Irish Blog!
The link to vote is HERE by the way if you’re feeling kind after reading this recipe 🙂
That was pretty much all I could say when I heard! The more my blog grows, and the more feedback I get from YOU guys about it, the more I realise, and KNOW, that the passion I feel from pursuing it and working on content for it is GENUINE, and more than that, WORTHWHILE. To be honest, no matter how many followers I have, I knew that was true already. But to know that the blog is well-received, that it DOES make a difference out there, just was so inspiring to have re-affirmed. And since I had a bit of foodie creative inspiration at the weekend with a NEW recipe for yummy healthy snack bars, I decided that this week’s Friday Focus HAD to be these babies to celebrate – what I’ve named Ciara’s Chocolate Balance Bars!
Baking is something that isn’t as intuitive to me as cooking is, if that makes sense. But since I’ve started making my own snack bars, I’ve absolutely loved trying out new ingredient combinations. And I’ll be honest, I think these are my favourite yet! It’s a pretty simple recipe, which is great, because it means YOU can easily make these at home! I’ve named them my Balance Bars because each bar combines tasty doses of complex carbs from the oats, chocolate-y protein vibes (which can be whey OR veggie/vegan blends, whichever you prefer), and a great addition of healthy fats from nuts and seeds! I really hope you like the recipe as much as me – let’s get to the baking!
Recipe (Makes 12 bars)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp. sweetener e.g. honey/maple syrup/stevia (I used date syrup)
- 160g oats (I used Flahavan’s UK Oatlets)
- 4-5 tablespoons Chocolate Protein Powder (I used 4 and then added a little extra depending on texture, and I used That Protein Choca Mocha Brown Rice Protein)
- 250ml Milk (I used Cashew Milk)
- 50g Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 30g Seeds e.g. Pumpkin or Sunflower (I used both, using packs of Good 4 U Nutrition Seeds I have!)
- Pre-heat the oven to 175C (fan oven), and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper or greased tinfoil (I use tinfoil rubbed with a little olive oil to stop the mixture sticking while baking!)
- Blend the oats into flour using a blender or food processor (I use my Nutribullet), and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the other dry ingredients – cinnamon, cacao, baking powder and protein powder, and stir.
- Next add the wet ingredients (milk and sweetener) and using a little upper arm muscle action, combine wet and dry ingredients until you have a batter-like consistency. If the mix seems a little dry, add a little extra milk and stir again.
- Finally, add the chopped nuts and seeds, and fold them into the batter.
- Add the bar mix to the baking tin, and spread it evenly throughout the base of the tin using the back of a spoon.
- Place in the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. I recommend checking at 25 minutes and inserting a fork into the mix – as always, if it comes out clean, or let’s say 95% clean, you’re good to go! We want to keep a little bit of a gooey texture remember guys!
- Leave to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing into bars, and tucking in, or freezing to keep the batch for the week! These will keep in the fridge for probably up to a week either!
Enjoy guys! I genuinely feel like these bars are my best success yet, and they’re gonna become a staple recipe for me for sure! Tag me if you try them out – @theirishbalance on Instagram or Twitter!
Ciara 🙂 x