This past weekend we finished our first full climbing competition, and guess what – we both made the podium! Jonty nabbed first place in Experienced Men, and I came in a close second in Experienced Women 🙂 It was a great day and it pushed me way outside of my comfort zone (in a good way!). We’ve signed up for the next competition in a few weeks time already, if for no other reason than to watch and learn from the younger climbers – watching their grit and determination acts as a great source of inspiration!
The climbing competitions make for very long days, filled with quite a bit of waiting around. You climb two qualifiers in the morning, separated by at least 1 hour. Then, if you make it to the finals, you wait for another 3 hours, for the final routes to be set. Our adrenaline was running on high for much of the day, as we didn’t really know what to expect, and foods that are easy to eat and digest are key for us.
These Mint-Chocolate Protein Bars came to the rescue. They are a modification from a recipe out of the Power Hungry cookbook I mentioned a few weeks ago. I made these protein bars the other week, storing them in the freezer for occasions just like this. A secret ingredient gives these bars a great boost of protein and healthy fats, but really, it’s the mint-chocolate that brings these bars into the “super yummy” category.
And their super-secret high-protein ingredient? Black beans! To be honest, I’ve always been intrigued with the whole “black bean in a baked good” concept. This cookbook called them a Brownie.
Do they actually taste like brownies? Well, you definitely can’t taste the beans, and they have a great chocolate-mint flavour, but I would probably plant these firmly in the bar / cake camp. This is only because I like my brownies fudgy and gooey, and these are slightly more firm.
We keep them in the freezer and bring them to the climbing gym for after a training session, or in between competition qualifiers. They are nice and portable and, at 10 g of protein in a single bar, are a good way to get a tasty source of protein, without resorting to a store product with an ingredient list full of mumbo-jumbo!
Whether you’re doing a lot of sport, or just want a healthier chocolate treat to get you through the afternoon, definitely give these Mint-Chocolate Protein Bars a try.
- Serves: 16 bars
- Serving size: 1 bar
- Calories: 180
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated fat: 3.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 26 g
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 52.4 mg
- Fiber: 5.1 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 34.5 mg
- 275 g (1 540 mL can) black beans, drained and rinsed very well
- 100 g (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 85 g (1/3 cup) skim milk
- 40 g (3 tbsp) melted virgin coconut oil
- 5 g (2 tsp) instant espresso powder, optional
- 1½ tsp pure peppermint extract
- 60 g (3/4 cup, loosely packed) all-natural unflavoured whey protein powder
- 25 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 60 g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, fitted with an s-blade, pulse together the black beans, maple syrup, eggs, milk, coconut oil, espresso powder and peppermint extract. Pulse until smooth.
- Add the protein powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt. Pulse until smooth and completely combined. Scrape down the sides, if necessary.
- Pour the mixture into the lined baking pan and sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips.
- Bake for 25 - 28 minutes, until the top is slightly firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool before slicing into squares.