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Fudge Brownie Chocolate Protein Bars

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Avoid the unhealthy & processed ingredients by making your own protein bars at home… YOU get to control how much sugar to use. Full recipe: @choccoveredkt

3 Steps to instant popularity:

  • Step One: Take a class trip to a remote location. Bonus points if the trip lasts more than a week, and double bonus points if the trip includes bus rides of 5 hours or more.
  • Step Two: Bring along a stash of chocolate protein bars large enough to feed a small army.

homemade protein bars

  • Step Three: Wait patiently. By day 6, it is almost guaranteed your tired and hungry classmates will clamor for your attention and fight over who gets to sit next to you.

Chocolate Protein Bars

At least… this is the experience I had at age 16 when, equipped with raisins, cashews, Luna and Clif bars, I went on a 10-day class field trip to northern China. The trip involved quite a lot of walking in the heat, quite a lot of packing and changing locations, quite a lot of long and boring bus rides… and not nearly enough food to sustain the energy expended on all of these activities.

Somehow word got out that Katie had a secret stash of food in her suitcase, and by the end of the trip I was breaking each protein bar into eight or ten pieces so there’d be enough to go around.

Protein Bars


Chocolate Protein Bars

Adapted from Black Bean Brownies

Print This Recipe 5/5


  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
  • 3 tbsp dutch or regular cocoa powder (15g)
  • 7 tbsp chocolate protein powder (I used Nutribiotic) (45g)
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave or honey (Honey is not for strict vegans.) (75g)
  • pinch pure stevia, or 2 tbsp sugar of choice
  • 3 1/2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil (35g)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (Not optional; omit at your own risk.)
Total Time: 16m
Yield: 8-10 bars


Homemade Chocolate Protein Bars: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a high-quality food processor, and blend until absolutely and completely smooth. (A blender works if you absolutely must, but the texture and taste will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 8×8 square pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the homemade chocolate protein bars 16 minutes. They will still look underdone when you take them from the oven, but this is okay. Let cool, then pat down with a pancake spatula. Refrigerate overnight. The bars will have firmed up and are now ready to cut and eat. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes about 10 bars.

View Homemade Chocolate Protein Bars Nutrition Facts

Protein Bar  Chocolate Protein Bars

Question of the Day: 

What was the best class field trip you ever took… or what was the worst?

Due to all of the incredible memories made during my ten days in northern China, I look back on the trip as one of the best school field trips I ever took. However at the time, when we were hiking through the freezing-cold mountains at 5am, eating unfamiliar foods (including a goat we’d seen alive earlier in the day), and going out of our minds with boredom on the tour bus, I might have told you it was the worst trip I ever took!

chocolate covered katie

Link of the Day: Vanilla Chai Breakfast Shakes

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. oh gosh, I’ve never been on a class trip quite that serious! I did get to go to New York and Miami on two separate occasions, which was a fun experience. Although in Miami we were doing Habitat for Humanity in a… not so safe neighborhood. Saw some interesting things!

  2. Sherry says:

    These look perfect for that late afternoon slump! Thanks!
    Giving away my age, my best class trip was the New York Worlds Fair in 1964!

  3. That sounds like an intense trip! At least you were the favorite. 😉 I love that all of your snacks were healthy even back then. Next time I go on a trip, I’m making and taking these delicious bars!

  4. Lisa says:

    Man, that field trip sounds quite intense for a kid. Mine were definitely nothing too exciting ever. Since I went to a private school they were all pretty low key. Although we did go to the science observatory once which was pretty darn awesome.
    These look like a great afternoon Snack!

  5. Jess says:

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for ages, thanks for sharing!

    My best class trip was to Hawaii my sophomore year of high school. A week in paradise without our parents? How could it NOT be the best trip ever to our 15 year old selves?!?

  6. Heather says:

    My best class field trip was in 8th grade, when we went to Disney World for 3 days as our graduation trip. (Not a place I’d choose to go now, but it was awesome when we were 13.)

    I am not sure I could say it was the worst class trip, because there’s nothing worse than being bored, and this certainly wasn’t boring. But it was super gross! My college environmental science class went to the county waste water treatment plant. We were taken in a building where everything solid that comes into the sewer went by on a conveyor belt. Yes, tampons and toilet paper, plus condoms and all kinds of other non-flushable stuff that people flushed anyway. People are disgusting! And thank goodness for people who don’t mind working in that environment, because it gave me nightmares for weeks.

  7. Lisa Ernst says:

    I couldn’t agree more about leaving out the chocolate chips. I never do! These look great for a road trip or any time when a nutritious but tasty snack will stave off temptation to go and buy pre-made, high sugar junk from some place like Starbucks!

  8. Adriene says:

    I thought I’d just check: Does your protein powder have any sugar in it? I have a chocolate protein powder that I don’t use very often because it has a relatively high amount of sugar in it (9 grams per serving). I thought about using it for this recipe, but I’m thinking I could leave out the sugar. What do you think?

    1. Nope, mine is unsweetened. Nutribiotic.

  9. Heidi Lynn says:

    These look great! What brand of protein powder do you use? I’ve been having issues with getting enough protein, but I don’t want to spend a fortune hunting for a good protein powder. My doctor told me I should consider being vegetarian instead of vegan because it would be easier to get enough protein, but I really don’t want to do that.

    1. Stephanie says:

      A lot of people believe one can get ample protein on a vegan diet. Some people also believe that the common (in the U.S.) stated amount of protein people require a day is FAR more protein than the human body actually needs to thrive. From my understanding, eating a lot of protein can actually have detrimental effects to the body. Think of a gorilla and all of the muscle mass and size they have. Gorillas are vegans. :)

    2. Stacy says:

      I’m not sure if its vegan, but I use the Vanilla Pure Protein powder and absolutely love it, especially how versatile it is for my nutrition needs!!

      1. D says:

        If it says “whey” on it then it isn’t vegan.

    3. Heidi Lynn says:

      Thanks for your replies.
      I started having some issues like muscle wasting after becoming vegan last December and ended up unable to continue my strength training program. When I started tracking things I realized I was averaging 40-50g of protein a day which is apparently not enough for me. Now I’ve been averaging 75g a day for a few months, but I struggle to get to that much. I am careful with what I eat because I’m type 1 diabetic so I’m not living on vegan junk food. I’m frustrated because I thought being plant based was the next step for me, but it seems I went backwards because I’m weak and lack energy. I’m tired of feeling this way.

      1. I use Nutribiotic chocolate brown rice protein powder.

      2. HeyLittleWebby says:

        If you feel weak and lack energy, maybe you’re not taking in enough “complex” carbs in your diet. It could have something to do with your diabetes or a systemic candida problem.

        Personally, I have a protein shake in the morning and night. Together I get 60 grams. The food I eat gives me the rest. I use “Sun Warrior” powders and they are great.

      3. Katie says:

        Like CCK, I have used Nutribiotic as a vegan protein powder. However, I recently tried Garden of Life RAW protein and I may like it better. I have found both at local stores (Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market). Both are also available on Amazon. Nutribiotic is a little cheaper than Garden of Life, but there are almost always coupons online or in the store for Garden of Life.

      4. Cynthia says:

        Heidi, I am baffled by your medical problems. I really doubt it has anything to do with protein. I get well under 40 every day, am 66 years old, and stronger than most 40 year olds. Also, I work out 3-4 times a week.

        1. Leah says:

          It very well could be that Heidi’s not getting enough variation in her protein (or, y’know, not protein related at all). Proteins are made of various amino acids, and quinoa is the only plant food with all eight of the “essential” amino acids in one place. If you only eat chickpeas for protein, for example, you’re going to be lacking some choice types of protein. If Heidi’s eating lots of different kinds of whole protein foods and still having problems, I’d say see a doctor, ’cause something’s up. She may be lacking coenzymes or minerals that work in the digestion of proteins, so even if she’s eating them her body’s getting zip. Could be anything. I’d totally recommend seeing a naturopath or holistic nutritionist.

      5. Jacki says:

        hey, check out vegan bodybuilding and fitness page on Facebook. it’s a big help.

      6. Kia says:

        Hi Heidi,

        This comment might be coming in too late, but thanks for sharing about your struggles to eat enough protein on a vegan diet. I study nutrition at a Canadian university, and I am also vegan. My Master’s thesis is on the transition to vegetarian and vegan diets, and getting enough protein is a common concern–you are not alone. A book that really helps a lot of people to become vegan in a healthful way is called “Becoming Vegan” by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. There are two versions, the 2013 “Express Edition” and the 2014 “Comprehensive Edition”; the former is a shorter, more accessible version. “The authors are both Dietitians, and are both vegan. Everyone’s protein needs are different, so what works for one person may not work for another, and athletes tend to need even more. This book has tonnes of helpful tips on how to get concentrated sources of protein into your diet.

        There is also a website by Dietitians of Canada called You can enter what you eat, and it will nutritionally analyze it. I find it very helpful to enter what I’ve eaten in a day every once in a while, to make sure I’m on track with all of my nutrients such as iron and calcium. It might help you with tracking your protein intake until you are able to get the hang of it.

        I hope these suggestions are helpful!

    4. Cynthia says:

      Just saw my doc, and my protein levels are just fine. I’m sure I get under 40 each day.
      Don’t forget, there are some countries where people get less than that and do just fine.

  10. Amy in Toronto says:

    I’ve got a 9-10 hour bus trip coming up around American Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my partner in Ohio, so I’ll be making this to bring along with my usual fruit veggie snacks! Oh, and I have to tell you — I made the crustless pumpkin pie a couple weeks back and had to make it TWICE because I ate the first one in two days by myself. Oh sweet, fancy Moses, it was SO delicious.

    Also, I made the chocolate fudge pie this past weekend for a “healthy desserts night” at a friend’s house (using mostly all CCK recipes) and I made it with your chocolate pie crust … WOW. That marked the first time where a chocolate dessert was so rich-tasting that I could only eat one piece and feel completely satisfied. Thank you, thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for trying the recipes! :)

  11. Michelle Pinkowski says:

    I’m pretty excited about this recipe because I’m allergic to nuts, and protein bars always seem to have nuts! I have to admit that I would not have thought to use black beans. Thanks for this.

  12. Isa says:

    I’m sorry Katie but.. honey is not for strict vegans? Honey is not for vegans, period. You can’t call yourself a vegan and still eat honey.

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s my thought that the bees will be making the honey regardless of whether or not humans are eating it so I personally don’t have a problem with it, though I don’t call myself vegan, I say I have a plant-based diet. Besides, we need bees to keep our ecosystem in check. Yes, cows will be making milk regardless if we drink it but cows are also being forced to make it in in humane conditions and it isn’t detrimental to our system. My best friend’s parents make their own honey with bees that they keep in their yard and so I will occasionally use it in recipes. I don’t usually eat honey anyway but I’m not going to get bent out of shape over it and get hung up on labels.

      1. Nicole says:

        Bees make honey for their larvae to eat, not for humans to steal and eat. As Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”



  13. Denise says:

    Is there any way to increase the protein without drying out the bars?? I prefer my bars to have more protein. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Or perhaps I can play with it and let you know! I’m thinking… pumpkin, or sweet potato in place of black beans and erythritol, or stevia, in place of syrup/honey/agave, as well.

    1. I haven’t tried…
      You could also always cut bigger bars if you want a higher-protein bar.

  14. Caitlyn says:

    These brownies look AMAZING!
    I’m can’t wait to try them.

    Keeping my fingers crossed they will work at high altitude 😀

  15. Stacy says:

    Hey Katie.
    1. Thanks for your amazing blog.
    2. If we already have vanilla protein powder on hand, would that be okay to sub in? I haven’t found a chocolate protein powder that I like yet…. which one do you use? :)
    3. I’m thinking about adding in some mint extract to make it taste akin to a thin mint! Got a recipe for those? 😉

    1. I’ve never tried, so you will have to experiment!
      I use Nutribiotic chocolate.

  16. Food is definitely the way to most people’s hearts. :) Snacks like these are great to have on hand for field trips or long days out of the house.

  17. Jessica says:

    I went to Scotland with the HS band. It was cool seeing so many places…but I should’ve brought more food. Even American chain restaurants were different and gross (I like pizza, I like corn and peas…but corn and peas on every pizza in the buffet! And the cheese had a stomach churning aftertaste). I had one good meal of fish and chips the last day. After 2 weeks of eating next to nothing, I couldn’t finish it.

  18. Ah wow I’m having a serious chocolate craving right now after seeing these bad boys. Great job!

  19. These look great! I def. will be trying them!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  20. Wow!! These look sooo delicious! I wish I could eat one right now!!

  21. Emily says:

    ahh these look amazing!! i want one NOW PLEASE!!
    i have to say that the field trip to the local garbage landfill was pretty unpleasant (however interesting). It didn’t smell too amazing. 😛

  22. Dr. Rogers says:

    This recipe looks fantastic – and loved hearing the story of your trip! My favorite field trip was visiting a farm in Kindergarten – remember it like it was yesterday!

  23. Connie says:

    What brand of chocolate protein powder is used in this recipe, and where do you purchase it?

    1. Nutribiotic chocolate, at Whole Foods I think.

      1. Connie says:

        Thanks, Katie!

  24. Hmm…I’ve used black beans in raw puddings but never in my raw energy bars. Great idea and they look delicious!

  25. Jadine says:

    Hi, how long do these keep? Should they be refrigerated and can they be frozen?

    1. A few days, yes to fridge after a day. Not sure about freezing.

  26. Susan Tyra says:

    Katie, I have a box of dates in my cupboard. What if I added them to the Fudge Protein Bars? Would that work? Wouldn’t that add some great flavor?

    1. You never know until you try!

      1. Susan Tyra says:

        I added about 10 dates to the recipe. Then I stirred in 1/4 cup of raisins with the chocolate chips. So yummy! No need to buy protein bars again! Next time, I think I will try a peanut butter version with chopped peanuts.

  27. Susan says:

    Katie…these sounds awesome. Have you ever thought about making some of your great recipes and selling them retail? I would def. buy these. I know, sounds lazy…….nuf said. =)

  28. Robin says:

    Quick question! First of all, I love this recipe and seriously can’t wait to try it. My question is, how much do you consider a pinch of stevia? I bought a box of NuNaturals stevia packets last week and so far I’m never quite sure how much to use, especially if the recipe calls for like 1/8tsp of liquid stevia. Are they equivalent? Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks!

  29. Melissa says:

    I have two field trips that were really great – one as a student, we went to the phosphate mines to look for fossils. All I cared about (besides a boy that was on the trip!) was finding sharks teeth! The other one was when I worked at an elementary school and the 4th grade field trip was to St. Augustine. Those were great trips, I just wish I could remember more about them!

  30. Oh my yum! These look incredible Katie! I totally know what it’s like to be the snack queen :)

  31. Kristina says:

    Would these just taste a little less “chocolatey’ using vanilla protein powder instead of chocolate?

  32. wendy says:

    Can’t wait to make the fudge protein bars, but I’m wondering if you think it’s necessary to include the protein powder, or the recipe would come out just fine if I omitted it? Thanks!

    1. sd says:

      i was wondering the same thing! i’d love the extra protein and flavor boost, but it would expensive for to try to obtain protein powder, and i am a high schooler still living with parents who just tell me to “JUST MAKE SOMETHING ELSE that doesn’t have the powder/WHY do you need to make anything at all anyway?”
      The point:
      i read that one can use powdered skim milk–which is far cheaper and more available.
      i will be trying this soon.

      1. Kia says:

        I think you could also try with soy milk powder instead of the protein powder, if you have it. Haven’t tried but just an idea :).

  33. Makayla says:

    Best class trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art…..I would take bags of raisins and cashews too! And lots of Larabars and Artisana nut butter and coconut butter squeeze packs!!!

  34. Love the note on omitting the chocolate chips at one’s own risk! Cleary your history with chocolate and bars has been long and illustrious, Katie! 😉 These look delish!


  35. KeLin says:

    I am about to make these IN China :) Not on a class trip, but I am in need of chocolate anyways!

  36. cm says:

    Katie, Love your site! just thought I’d let you know! I think you are adorable.Thanks for all your great recipes.

  37. Cristina says:

    I just finished making the batter and putting it in the baking dish. I asked my husband for help in putting all the ingredients in. When saw what was going in he asked what kind of voodoo I was doing. Lol he wasn’t expecting to see those ingredients together! I have to say that the batter alone tastes pretty darn good! I’m looking forward to the final result!

  38. Anne says:

    Thanks for the recipe. As someone who currently lives in China, I am always looking for creative ways to use our stash of protein powder. I can actually find all the other ingredients here. Not a small miracle.

  39. laura says:

    Amazing post! reminds me of the internship I did in Africa. I was the only one who brought an emergency supply of peanut butter and Kind bars. My colleagues were very jealous after eating the same mushy kale and dried out bony chicken for days, needless to say I refused to share because of my food sensitivities and these were the few things I could eat safetly!

  40. Alissa S. says:

    I was looking at the nutrition facts, do you happen to know what the saturated fat is from? Is it just the chocolate chips or does something else have sat. fat in it?

    1. Caroline says:

      The coconut oil does — if you ever see the stuff, it’s solid at room temp, haha! (at least if you live somewhere coldish!)

  41. Lara Arar says:

    Katie! Katie! I did something really exciting and I wanted to share with you!
    I just adapted your skinny vanilla cupcake recipe (which is my favorite recipe by far) to just one serving and made it in a mug. It tastes sooooo delicious, and just as good as the oven-baked cupcakes! If you want the recipe, I would love to write it for you!

  42. Sophie says:

    Omg!! Just made these and had a sneaky taste of the mixture before putting it in the tin and boy was it delicious!! Cannot wait for these to firm up so I can have a whole bar!! Yum!

  43. Elena says:

    Tried this recipe yesterday! These are are delishious, it tastes nothing like beans! I subbed nutrisystem creamy chocolate protein powder instead of the rice and I used honey too! One of your best recipes!

  44. MonaB says:

    I made these last night and have gobbled down two already today. They are delish. I couldn’t find a chocolate protein powder on my way home last night so I just used my regular hemp powder and added an extra tbs of the cocoa. Still tastes wonderful. Thank you for this recipe, I think it is going to become one of my staples. A great alternative when I crave a brownie/fudgey hit of chocolate.

  45. Jenny says:

    I made these last night. Had a bar about 30 min before my run and cranked out 7 miles like it was my job! Perfect tasty little bite of energy! Thanks!

    1. mel says:

      I’m very excited about this recipe. My boyfriend is marathon training at the moment (& I will be next spring) and he always buys protein bars for after his 20+milers, but I would love to make them for him instead! The only problem is that we live in Germany and I can’t seem to find black beans anywhere. I have chick peas and butter beans, do you think these will substitute in okay? maybe I’ll give it a go and see what happens.
      P.s.absolutely adore this blog.

  46. mel says:

    I’m very excited about this recipe. My boyfriend is marathon training at the moment (& I will be next spring) and he always buys protein bars for after his 20+milers, but I would love to make them for him instead! The only problem is that we live in Germany and I can’t seem to find black beans anywhere. I have chick peas and butter beans, do you think these will substitute in okay? maybe I’ll give it a go and see what happens.
    P.s.absolutely adore this blog.

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      You can always experiment!

      1. Mel says:

        After not being able to find black beans in Germany, I experimented a bit and they turned out perfect using red kidney beans :-) however I did discovery that they are far superior made with chocolate protein powder compared to vanilla protein powder.

  47. Paula says:

    I made a very close variation. I am not vegan, so I used whey protein powder and added one egg. I put little dollops of peanut butter and chocolate chips on top prior to baking. My husband who does not eat legumes of ANY kind EVER–ate two Chocolate protein bars! Thanks Katie for another wonderful recipe!

  48. Tammy says:

    My daughter and I made these this past weekend. I was blown away!! My daughter will not eat beans and I could not stop her to trying to eat all of the bars. They were awesome!!
    Thank you so much for coming up with these great recipes!! The kids will not even know they are healthy for them!! I love it!!

  49. Lillybeth says:

    YUM – made these bars a few days ago and they ARE delicious. I used regular chocolate (Nestle) for the choc chips and the full 2/3 cup or slightly more. For the protein powder (I’m in NZ) I used Sculpt brand. Very fudgey and moreish and they feel good to eat! If that makes sense.

    They never really dried out for me in the fridge and don’t have any chewy or crunchy crust (though I didn’t expect that), so next time I will either cook them a little longer (I did 16 mins) or add a bit more protein powder to make them drier. YUM. Will definitely make again!!!

  50. debbie says:

    I don’t remember any class trips. I don’t think they did them as much when I was in school as they do now. I love this recipe! I have tried myself and failed every time before. I ran out of vanilla so I added mint and sprinkled chopped pecans on top. Mint chocolate nut, mmmmmm.

  51. laura says:

    yum these look amazing, I just made some carrot cake protein bars and i’m in the mood for baking cookies! Do you think this recipe would hold together as cookies instead of brownies??

    1. Me says:

      The batter is all liquid, not cookie doughish at all. However, once cooked and cooled overnight, I cut them 6 x 6 and now have 36 delectable little super chocolatey incredible protein bites! And they ARE incredible! Great recipe CCK

      1. laura says:

        thanks for the heads up!

  52. Katie Holt says:

    Oh my goodness. I completely disregarded the part of the instructions that said to refrigerate overnight. I tried them warm from the oven and now a quarter of the pan is gone! These are amazing and taste just like a brownie! Thanks for another great recipe!

  53. angela senechal says:

    Hi Katie,


    I am on WW. When 3 points seemed to good to be true, I plugged all the ingredients into WW recipe builder. Each bar ended up being 7 points each! Could you please share how you arrived at 3?

    Thanks so much. I love your site and have made many of your recipes.

    Blessings~~angela in maryland

  54. Hanna says:

    Oh my word!! these are potentially one of the mot delicious dessert-y, things i have ever tasted, and thats saying a lot, because I do Love my dessert.:p Despite being healthy and preservative free protein bars, they boast a completely fudge brownie, almost shortbread-y taste! They are stupendous!!!:)

    I subbed the chocolate chips for carob chips, and that gave a neat flavour variation.

  55. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this awesome recipe. Best protein bar I’ve made to date. I mixed it in my Blendtec and they turned out great!

  56. Jennifer says:

    Katie, just had to tell you, I made the protein bars yesterday. I had planned to have them on hand this week for snacks. Well, they didn’t make it past yesterday. My 21 yr old son who turns his nose up at my “healthy” desserts, devoured them! I finally told him what they were made of(hoping to be able to enjoy some of them this week) his reply was, “oh cool, these are great” Then my husband tried them and my diabetic brother tried them, needless to say, I managed a couple of small bars and the crumbs in the dish. So, I will be making more of these and maybe hiding a few???? Thank you, thank you for your healthy desserts!

  57. LeeAnne says:

    I made the fudge brownie chocolate protein bars! SO delicious! I then made two more batches and started adding more things to them! (banana, craisins, walnuts, coconut flakes, oats, flax seed, and a little almond milk to soften it up a bit in the processor) You can do anything with this recipe! Thank you so much!

  58. Stana says:

    Hey, do you think it’s possible to make these without the black beans? I really truly cannot stand black beans but love everything else in this recipe!!! Cheers, Stana.

  59. Angie says:

    Hey Katie!
    As much as I loved the flavor of these they don’t hold together! I took a couple out of the pan after they had cooled and they “gooed” all over the place. I popped the rest of the pan in the fridge, but they are still soft. I followed the directions exactly… Am I missing a trick?

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      If you let them cool and then let sit at least 5 hours in the fridge uncovered, you will not have a problem cutting them. At least that’s what I did when I made the recipe and they turned out very well.

      1. Becca says:

        Hey, just wanted to share my experience. I love these bars, but I have to bake them at least 23 minutes. I set my timer for that, and then check them until they look almost done in the middle. It took some trial and error, but I found that if it’s still totally batter thin in the middle, chilling them does NOT help them firm up, they need to bake longer.

  60. Christine D. says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is the first recipe of yours that I’ve ever made and it was amazing–I’m pretty sure I love these more than Ghirardelli brownies. :-) Also…I may have eaten the entire pan in two days…oops. Will definitely be making more of your recipes!

  61. Traci-Lyn says:

    Will any bean have the same effect? If I wanted to use a kidney, white, pink bean instead of black bean? If it’s pink, my boys may be less likely to eat my stash.

    1. ann says:

      That would be fine.

  62. Sarah says:

    Holy smokes! I was skeptical about the black beans but this recipe is DELICIOUS! I had to stop myself from eating them all out of the pan! Thanks for the fabulous recipe – I’ve tried to make MANY protein bars and this one is the best by far!

  63. Yvette says:

    I just made these and I used the same pan size and they were much thinner! But they still taste really good.

  64. Dino (The College Student) says:

    I decided to try these out because I wanted to look into cheaper alternatives to expensive 5-packs of protein/energy bars that I’ll go through within a few days. Being young, I have a really fast metabolism but (unfortunately?) a small stomach. So I can’t eat a full meal in one sitting. I have to eat smaller portions, feel full, and then feel hungry again a half hour later. My eating schedule is pretty much constantly grazing/eating at nontraditional hours. If I don’t get enough food or nutrients in a day, I’ll get sick.

    1. Dino (The College Student) says:

      Geeze I accidentally hit ‘enter’ before I wanted to. Anyways: I just made ’em, and they’re currently in the fridge overnight. Though while I bought some store brand whey protein powder (since I’m not vegan), and I also found some multi-vitamin shake mix on sale and have decided to use it for this batch.
      I kinda just put a big handful and a half (or something) of milk chocolate chips in there because I could. Probably a good amount of sugar but I think I can take it. I’m probably going to drizzle some chocolate syrup over them in the morning.
      I’m also going check out this recipe tomorrow (college is closed due to snow!) and substitute peanut butter/etc with Nutella:
      Thanks for the recipe!

  65. Neil Forrest says:

    Hey Katie! Great recipe – stupid question but do I melt the coconut oil first or add it whole? My best school trip was to London…pretty average for someone from the UK!

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Melt first.

  66. Rachel says:

    How long do these last … i just have a batch in the oven 😀 … the batter mix was delish so I’m very excited to try them… will they last the week in the fridge? x

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:


  67. Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! My teenage son needs good snacks with his busy high school schedule (and the fact that he cannot eat wheat or eggs). He does not like beans, but gobbles these bars up. I haven’t told him yet what is in them. :) I didn’t have chocolate protein powder so I just added a little more cocoa. Yummy!

  68. Ellie says:

    These are amazing. Thank you, Katie :) I send them overseas to my Naval husband. He thinks he’s eating homemade man-food, but I know he’s eating healthy. Haha. I’m not as food creative as you; do you have any other flavors for protein bar recipes? I’m afraid if I didn’t make them dark colored (aka chocolate) they might not be as appetizing.

    Thank you again. :)

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Her recipe for peanut butter protein bars is really good:

  69. Becca says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe!! My almost 10 year old needed extra protein to stay full at school, but his classroom is peanut free due to a classmate with an allergy. And it seems like all the commercially available protein bars have peanuts. Besides, your protein bar is healthier. 😉 We also love using these on the days when both my son and his 6 year old sister have swim lessons. Just as a note, I don’t know if it’s my oven or something I’m doing wrong, but I find I have to bake them at least 23 minutes to get them “done”. I know you say it’s ok if they still look under done, but even after chilling my bars were ooey gooey and not even slightly firm in the middle of the pan.

    1. Thank you so much for making them! Yes, oven temps vary… you might want to check and see if yours is calibrated correctly. Or just keep doing what you’re doing if it works! 😉

  70. Gabriel says:

    Hey! I just wanted to says this is my first recipe ever since i moved to my own home. Im quite old 29 year old but there is no age to start cooking! Since im training im happy i found a recipie high in protein that seem to taste great! The batch is currently cooking! I will surely give you back my thought about em!.. The only thing is i dont have any processor or blender so i mashed the maximum i could. Im sure it will be eatable!

    1. Gabriel says:

      Back! Ive now made the recipie several time and its very good! thanks
      Alot of sugar compared to protein but still a good dessert for cheatmeal day !

  71. Mariann says:

    Turned out great and kids had no idea it had black beans in it. 😉 I just tell them its my secret ingredient of love.

  72. Trish says:

    Love you! you bake like me! I love your recipes – after spending much time tweaking my own, I can make yours and know it is PERFECT!!! THANK YOU!!

  73. Diana says:

    Can these bars be made without the protein powder?

    1. Katie says:

      You should try the Black Bean Brownies that these are based on. They are absolutely wonderful. You can either cook them or eat the batter straight! And depending on your sugar taste, you can definitely cut back the type of sweetener.

  74. Sthirtien says:

    I can’t get black beans. Will red beans work?

    1. Leah says:

      Trust me on this, you can use any kind of bean you want. <3

  75. Leah says:

    THIS RECIPE. I’ve never had a more foolproof cookie recipe. Oh man, I’ve used pigeon peas, white eyed kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans. I’ve had to mash the beans with a potato squisher because I don’t have a food processor. I’ve omitted the stevia/sugar, cut the maple syrup to 1/4 cup, and even added grated carrot, and no matter how big or small I make the cookies 16 minutes is always the perfect time to take them from the oven. I don’t even bother cooling them overnight because they’re so bloody good warm. Addictive and perfect for the baking impared.

  76. Katie says:

    These are AWESOME! I made some the day before yesterday and they are almost gone. I made them because my husband needed something to eat between work and working out one night a week…and I found out he’d typically been eating a huge chocolate chip cookie! So I made these, he LOVES them, and last night he ate one before working out. He said it was delicious (I agree) and he made me promise that I’d send you a message to say “This one is a winner, Katie!”

  77. Sue Kaessner says:

    Where can I buy nutribiotic protein powder at a brick and mortar store rather than on line? Can I use any type of protein powder?

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      It says you can use your favorite.

  78. Natalie says:

    Dear readers of Katie!!! I know Katie doesn’t like things to be too sweet, so if you have tried this recipe, please tell me – do you find that the bars need to be sweeter? Or are they brownie-like enough the way they are? Thanks!

    1. Joanna says:

      I think they are totally brownie-like as is, I used a RAW unflavored protein powder though so I added an extra tbsp. cocoa powder to make up for the lack of chocolate flavored protein powder, it was perfect and I usually like things on the sweeter side, I also used dark chocolate chips, perfect!

  79. Caitlin says:

    i was hoping to make these tonight (i went out and got more protein powder (Vega One chocolate cuz it was one sale! and i just used up the last of my last jar this morning!) and chocolate chips, and was looking for more cocoa powder (used up the last last night making chocolate coconut cookies :( ) but the place i went, the cocoa powder was very pricey so… I’m going to have to hold off til tomorrow when I go out and get cocoa powder. can’t WAIT to try these! :)

  80. Joanna says:

    I was skeptical with black beans being the main ingredient, I am a huge baker and sweets are my weakness but trying to eat healthier and lose weight and while exercising wanted a healthier protein bar instead of the sugar overloaded pre-made stuff. These completely impressed me, they were awesome, would never have guessed it was made with black beans, I am a chocolate junkie and these hit the spot with less guilt :)

  81. Dylan says:

    Would olive oil work instead of coconut or vegetable oil? Thanxoxoxo!

  82. Drea says:

    I have an unflavored/unsweetened protein powder. How should I adjust my cacao/cocoa to make up for not using chocolate flavored protein? I can’t wait to try these!!

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Taste the batter and add as needed. It should be just a little too sweet before baking, as it will get less sweet once baked.

  83. Michele R. says:

    Can children have protein powder? I thought I read they shouldn’t.

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      I don’t see why it would be a problem, but if you’d prefer not to use it just make this similar recipe:

  84. Kim says:

    Hi! These look great. My question is do you have a recipe for protein bars that do not have to be refrigerated and are going to be good for traveling? I am going to Ghana in the spring for two weeks and I need to stay low carb and am looking for ideas. Thank you.

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Here is a link to ALL of her granola bar recipes. Hopefully you can find something that will work!

  85. sarah says:

    i made these this morning as an alternative to nut and oat protein bars which i find too buttery and make me bloated.
    i changed the recipe a little and used about 10 or so vegan choc buttons and put in some cherries instead as a more fruit taste after finding the chocolate very strong in the recipe (use of cocoa seemed alot to my taste)
    after being a bit cautionary with the black beans i must say – you would definately not notice! i think more so as i had the cherries in as the skins can be found a little through the brownies but otherwise they taste just like a brownie would!
    very impressed!! the mix was very stiff and a bit dry which i didnt think it would, worked well though but didn’t stretch as far with less choc chips i imagine.. i cut them into penquin shapes with a cutter after baking and have weighed them out into portions to calculate the nutrition.
    very pleased with this recipe – thanks SO much!! x

  86. Corrie says:

    These look really delicious. Does anybody know approx. how many calories will be in each bar? Tia

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      It’s listed right there in the recipe…

  87. Jenny says:

    So, you pretty much should just go ahead and double this recipe, because these things will NOT last long. They are so. good. I’m amazed.

    Oh and tip #2: peanut butter powder. I happened to have some on hand from another recipe, and used it half and half with the protein powder and it really came out delicious! Just a hint of PB flavour in that decadent brownie. Mmmmm!

    Tip #3: Really process the heck out of this stuff. The smoother and more velvety the batter is, the better. Texture is key, she’s not kidding.

    Excellent recipe!

  88. Emily says:

    Can the oil in this recipe be substituted by apple sauce like other baking recipes or is it absolutely necessary? I love this recipe and I literally make a pan to keep in the fridge every Monday for the week. I made it lower in fat by halving the amount of chocolate chips, but I think taking the oil out would help even more.

    1. Emily says:

      Also, in case anyone is wondering if vanilla protein powder will work, yes. Yes it will.

  89. Artis says:

    I would love to make the protein bars, however I can not tolerate the agave or liquid sweetners. Please do you know how I can substitute xylitol and what liquid to achieve best results? Thank you!!!

  90. Emma says:

    I’m quite late to try these, but I had to comment! I baked these last night so I could bring them to work for that mid afternoon slump. The texture of these were lovely, very fluffy but dense at the same time. I made alterations to the recipe to cut down on sugar, but they still came out great! I even cooked them in mini muffin tins, and they came out with the same texture and taste as those ‘two bite brownies’ I see in all the stores here. Great healthy protein bars I’ll be recommending to friends! Thanks Katie!

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  92. Marnie says:

    Just made these with chocolate PB2 in lieu of protein powder. Batter tastes delish, I just took them out of the oven so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how the finished product tastes!

  93. Minnie says:

    These were absolutely delicious!!! Will definitely be making these on the reg!

  94. Mary Parks says:

    There were so good. I made mine with Arbonne’s Chocolate protein powder. Order yours at

  95. Claire says:

    Not for a class trip, but I did import clif and luna bars to rural Sichuan province a few years ago. Staggering around while trying to hike at 16,000 feet, we took a rest, sat down in the mountains, and ate our clif bars. These are what I was eating instead of yak, yak mlk yogurt, and pork. Not the easiest thing, being a vegan in Tibetan lands, but it all worked out. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  96. Misha says:

    These are amazing!! Question – 350 F – is that for a fan assisted oven?

  97. Cassie says:

    Wonderful recipe and story! What can I sub for agave/honey/maple syrup?

    1. Tara says:

      I had the same question and at the last second, while already making these bars, used Nature’s Hollow syrup which I already had been using in place of liquid sugars…turned out pretty good!

  98. Cat says:

    THIS. This is how a healthy brownie should be. Perfection. I am forever in debt to you now :)

  99. Stefanie says:

    These are great! I cut the sugar down to 1 tsp and cut the honey by half, and then added dry cranberries! My brain is reeling with new variations for the next batch :)

  100. Lindsay says:

    First of all I have followed your blog for months now I have never been disappointed. Second of all, I have to say I made the Black Bean protein bars two days ago… I am literally speechless. I have never tasted something that is so healthy and so delicious at the same time. DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS! So awesome. I used Hersey’s Dark chocolate cocoa powder and Chocolate Milkshake flavor protein by Quest… Holy Moses. SO GOOD!! Thank you thank you!! This blog is the best ! Keep them coming.

  101. Christine says:

    I’ve just made my first batch (yesterday) and I have to say that they taste great (after a night in the fridge)! And they are so much healthier than store bought protein bars. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe 😉

  102. Lulu says:

    Oh no I don’t have baking powder help help help what do I do lol

  103. Heather says:

    if I used an unflavored protein powder, would I need to add more cocoa powder or just follow the recipe as is?

  104. Urvy says:

    What would you recommend as a substitute for the protein powder?

  105. Michele riley says:

    Hello I want to make these today, but I have a full unopened bag of Bobs Red Mill plain protein powder. So, how much extra chocolate would I need to add, and would it be the coco powder or chocolate chips?
    Thanks so much for your wonderful recipes.

  106. Karen says:

    Hi Katie, I’m eager to try these. They look delicious, and fairly healthy! I see lots of questions and comments on which type of protein powder you used, but I was curious about what type of chocolate chips you use. Are they bittersweet or semi-sweet and which brand do you use? I imagine this would affect the nutritional profile as well as the taste. Thanks!

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Not Katie, but I know in the past she has said she uses Enjoy Life mini chips or Fair Trade brand regular chips.

  107. Jess says:

    Hi can I please know the nutritional facts? the carb and calorie counts ect?

  108. Justin says:

    Any idea on a general price range for a batch of these protein bars? I know it is tough to guesstimate due to buying a lot of these ingredients in bulk.

  109. Penelope says:

    Since the baking time was so specific (16 minutes seems more precise than 15 would) and the directions mention that they will look undercooked, I followed the directions exactly but this morning they are still a gooey mess. They are a tasty gooey mess but still, not bar-like in any way. Maybe there could be a better description of what they should look like in their underdone state?

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Hmm I’ve never had that issue in all the times I’ve made them. Are you sure your oven is calibrated? Also did you cover the bars or leave uncovered overnight?