Monday, 3 March 2014

Recipe: No-bake Chocolate Protein Balls / Cookies

I have just had a very, very lazy few days....
P and I both booked Friday off work as part of our plan to have a series of 'long weekends' rather than whole weeks off work, but I find when I'm at home, I'm far less inclined to exercise. P works in construction so is very physically active throughout the week, which means the last thing he wants to do at the weekend is anything particularly energetic. I on the other hand, being predominately desk-based have loads more energy come the end of the week.

Because he is so active at work and rarely has time to eat, getting enough food into him during the week is often a challenge. He has a horrible habit of munching his way through chocolate bars because they are quick and convenient, but because they don't fill him up and he's just living off the sugar high, he's really not doing himself any favours.

A couple of weeks ago I created a recipe for some high-protein chocolate snacks that he could take to work with him. This weekend, after a little recipe tweaking (nearly typed twerking then - cue mental image of these babies shakin' their pert bootays... sheesh!), he's confirmed that the new recipe is, I quote, 'quite literally, the bollocks'.

I'm not going to pretend they are low fat, low calorie or sugar free, but they can very easily be adapted and they are a damn site more healthy than most chocolate bars and with 16g of protein in each one, they do seem to be keeping him fuller for longer. :)

I made the initial batch into cookie shaped treats and the texture was just like eating a soft, chewy cookie, but because it was so hard to get the chopped nuts to stick and when he ate them, they kept falling off, P suggested that a roll or ball would probably be easier - so in came MkII - the Chocolate Protein (not Salty) Balls...

4 scoops Chocolate-flavoured Protein Powder (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Double Chocolate)
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder 40g Hazelnut Butter
50g Ground Hazelnuts
50g Rice Flour
4tsp Set Honey
4 tbsp Hazelnut (or almond) Milk
25g Chopped Hazelnuts
20g Milk Chocolate Chips

I found these much simpler to make using my food processor, but they can also be made by hand.

1) In the bowl of a food processor, add the protein powder, rice flour, ground nuts and cocoa powder and blitz a few times to mix.
2)  Add the hazelnut butter, honey and hazelnut milk and mix on a low speed for 1-2 minutes. You should find as you keep mixing, the mixture goes from a breadcrumb-like texture, to gradually forming a soft, mallable ball of chocolatey goodness.
3) Remove from the processor bowl and gently knead, incorporating the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
4) Divide equally into 8 pieces and roll into balls. (tip - if you coat with a little rice flour before rolling, it helps stop the finished product from sticking together).
5) Store in an airtight container in the fridge - they should be good for a few days.

Each ball (weighing approx. 60g) is worth 221 calories, comprising 14g carbohydrates, 11g fat and 16g protein.
Compared to a standard 48g Mars Bar (245 cal, 26g carbohydrates, 13g fat and 5g protein), I think these weigh up pretty well!

P says although they do work without the chocolate chips and nuts, the balls are much nicer with them as they give a bit more variety in texture!

Today's (post-lazy weekend) Workout :
Rowing (moderate speed, 32rpm) = 10 mins
Walking (moderate speed, 3.6mph) = 5 mins
Running (slow speed, 5.7mph) = 10 mins
Arc Trainer (level 7, 160spm) = 12 mins