These Cacao Coffee Protein Bars are a homemade version of that popular RXBAR. Simple and quick, these coffee energy bars are low carb, low fat and perfect for the morning or even a midday snack. Vegetarian, no added sugars and Whole30 compliant.
You know what is tough? Getting back into the swing of things. Getting back into routines and work mode and exercise and more nutritious foods. It can be tough because we (must) allow ourselves to take breaks.
A break from routine to feel free again.
A break from work to feel relaxed.
A break from exercise to feel rested.
A break from greens to enjoy the sweets.
Jill Coleman on Instagram asked something along the lines of “Can you find/reach/know balance without going through an extreme?” The poll seemed to be about 60/40, with 60% of people saying “No.”
My thoughts? I’m not sure… My first thought is “No.” Kind of like sometimes you have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs. But then I think maybe it possible? Somehow we can instill balance without going through an extreme and I found one of the best ways to do that is make homemade proteins bars packed with the right ingredients. That’s what these coffee protein bars do for me!
Paleo Cacao Coffee Protein Bars
These cacao coffee protein bars are Paleo, Vegetarian, Whole30 and have no added sugar. All the sweetness comes from dried dates and a big dose of lean protein from egg white protein powder.
These coffee protein bars are great for a grab-n-go in the morning or as a midday pick-me-up – Unless you’re sensitive to caffeine then consuming one of these midday may not be the best for you. Just use your best judgement 😉
They’re basically a take on the RXBAR, but made at home in your food processor (or high-powered blender). They take just minutes to mix together and then you just press them into a pan and chill them before cutting. Simple and quick!
For the ingredients you’ll need
- egg white protein powder
- cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- instant coffee or espresso powder
- Medjool dates
- cacao nibs, optional
Using a food processor to make homemade protein bars
- Prepare a dish for pressing bars into. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper or use a silicone square pan.
- Process the dry ingredients. In the bowl of your food processor (or blender), process the nuts, egg white protein powder, cacao powder and coffee until coarse.
- Add the dates and water. Process until the dates break down. Add 1 Tablespoon of water at a time until the coffee protein bar dough comes together – it will be a bit sticky. Remove the blade and fold in cacao nibs, if using.
- Set and slice. Transfer the date-nut mixture to the prepared baking dish and flatten into one even layer. It helps to have damp hands. Set in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes-1 hour. When ready, remove from the baking dish and slice into 12-16 squares.
Egg White Protein Powder
The best part about these paleo cacao coffee protein bars is the use of egg white protein powder – the same stuff they use in RXBARs. Egg whites are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, as well as being high in protein but low in calories. That’s reason enough to make these coffee energy bars a part of your routine!
Tips For The Best Coffee Protein Bars:
- Use cacao powder for more nutrients. Cacao powder is processed more gently than conventional cocoa powder, meaning more of the nutrients are kept intact. More nutrients = Better for you!
- Adjust the coffee taste to your liking. The energy bar recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons, but you can reduce this amount to your liking depending on how much coffee flavor you like!
- Add more or less water depending on the Medjool dates. The dates you purchase may be drier or moister than mine, so it is best to add 1 Tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture just comes together.
How To Store
These paleo coffee protein bars are best eaten at room temperature, but keep best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
For longer storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in a freezer-safe storage bag, seal tight, label, date and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Protein Bar Recipes You’ll Love:
- Nut-Free Ginger Chocolate Protein Bars
- Chocolate Chai Protein Bars
- Peanut Butter Protein Oat Bars
- Mint Chocolate Protein Bars
- 4-Ingredient Homemade Protein Bars
- Chocolate Almond Butter Oat Protein Bars
- Vegan Baked Banana Protein Bars
If you make these Cacao Coffee Protein Bars, be sure to leave a comment and review on the blog! I love hearing from you, and it helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 2 cups nuts (I used half almonds, half pecans, but cashews or walnuts would also work)
- 1 cup egg white protein powder
- 1/4 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa)
- 3 TBS instant coffee, or espresso powder (can adjust to taste)
- 18 large Medjool dates, pitted (10 ounces)
- 3–5 TBS water, as needed to blend
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs, optional
- Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper or use square silicone pan; set aside.
- In the bowl of your food processor, process nuts, egg white protein, cacao powder and coffee powder until nuts have broken down into small pieces. Careful not to over-process, as the nuts will continue to break down in the next step.
- Add in pitted dates and process until combined–the mixture will look a little dry. With the motor running about 1 tablespoon of water at a time until mixture is sticky and everything comes together. Depending on if your dates were juicy or dry, you may need less or more water. I used 6 tablespoons.
- Once mixtures has come together and is sticky, remove S-blade and stir in cacao nibs if using.
- Transfer mixture to lined 8×8 pan. Use slightly wet hands to press evenly into pan. I use his fun little pastry roller to make it extra flat.
- Place pan in fridge for 1 hour, or freezer for 30 minutes before cutting into bars. Use large sharp knife and cutting board, cutting bars into 12 or 16 squares.
Bars can be enjoyed at room temperature, but keep best in fridge. Store bars in covered container, with parchment paper in between layers, for 2-3 weeks.
Approximate nutrition. Will change based on type of nuts used. This is an estimate.
Post originally published January 2018. Updated and re-posted January 2020.
- Serving Size: 1/12th
- Calories: 196
- Sugar: 16g
- Sodium: 104mg
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 11g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS I USED IN TODAY’S RECIPE
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