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Healthy Twix Mini Protein Bars (vegan & gluten free)

dairy freedessertgluten freegrain freerefined sugar freesnack

Healthy Twix Mini Protein Bars turn your favorite nostalgic candy into a bite-size high-protein, post workout snack or guilt free treat. Between the decadent layers of almond flour shortbread, caramel middle, and chocolate topping, you’ll find plant-based protein, healthy fats, and fiber that’ll give you energy and even help with things like weight loss and inflammation. Twix mini protein bars are vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free!

healthy twix no bake energy bites

Recently, I’ve been going to the gym to lift weights, something I’ve never done before on my fitness journey. I love it—the gym feels like a jungle gym for grownups, and I can shake up what I do every single day (want to follow along and see what I actually do each day? Come hang on Insta!). Lifting weights is great, but I’ve never felt so hungry in my whole life. I would eat Perfect Bar Perfect Bites in my fridge, so that I could have a little nosh without having to open a whole energy bar and ruin my lunch or dinner. One day, I was eating one, and I had the realization: I could make this! I could make a bite-size homemade protein bar that was tastier and had ingredients my body would LOVE.

If you’ve been a part of the HT Community for a while, you know I love to create better-for-you versions of the trash foods that I love. Remember my healthy Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Or how about the grain free Starbucks Coffee Cake? DELICIOUS. and SO good for you. Well, that led me to wanting to create a Twix version of the Perfect Bar. Talk about perfect.

These homemade protein bar bites taste just like popping a mini Twix bar in your mouth, except they’re super nourishing and satiating.

What makes these protein bites healthy?

For this perfect post-workout snack, I used organic pea protein for its buttery flavor and texture that plays well in the shortbread layer of our Twix. On top of that is a quick healthy caramel made from almond butter and a dash of maple syrup. I also love adding molasses to my quick caramels, because I think it adds the extra depth and almost burnt, maillard richness that gives caramel it’s distinct taste. Beyond tasting amazing, I snuck in superfood-status ingredients with powerful health benefits, like:

Black strap molasses: rich in vitamin and minerals, iron, selenium, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and more, so it adds an electrolyte quality to these energy bites.

Pea protein: this dairy-free protein has shown in studies to be great for weight loss, heart health and building muscle!

Coconut oil: this superfood has around 1,500 studies showing how coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s proven to reduce inflammation, protect against neurological diseases like Alzheimers, and boost gut health.

Almond flour: this gluten free, heart-healthy flour alternative is proven to be great for low-carb eating and helping to manage blood sugar. It’s also shown to help with weight loss!

Vanilla extract: beyond adding wonderful flavor, vanilla is a powerful antioxidant that’s shown to have mind-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits.

homemade twix bars

How to make twix mini protein bars

  1. First, make your shortbread base by mixing the almond flour, protein powder, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl. Press this into a parchment-lined loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes. Then, set in the freezer to cool.
  2. Next, make the caramel by mixing the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt, and molasses together. Spoon the caramel over the cooled shortbread base and return to the freezer for about 30 minutes to solidify.
  3. Then, make the chocolate by using a double broiler or microwave to melt together the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pour it over the solidified caramel and shortbread so it’s evenly distributed. Set it in the freezer for 5 minutes before then adding the flaky sea salt on top. Return to the freezer for at least one hour before slicing!
  4. Finally, cut them into strips and then squares. Enjoy!

Storing & freezing tips

Immediately after cutting them into bite size pieces, spread them out on a parchment-lined plate or pan in the freezer so they’re not touching each other. Freeze completely before transferring them to a bag or tightly sealed container.

Keep them in a freezer-safe container in the freezer until you’re ready to eat, so you always have a high protein snack on hand to replenish after a workout or when you’re having a mid-day blood sugar dip! They’ll stay good in the freezer for 6 months. I recommend letting them sit out on the counter for a few minutes before eating so they soften just a little.

If you like this recipe, try these next:

Glucose Friendly Cookies & Cream Cookie Dough Bites

Healthy Brookie Batter Bites

Make Ahead Monster Breakfast Bars

Fun-Size Healthy Mounds Bars

Milk Bar Birthday Cake Energy Balls

Print
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Twix Protein Bites Paleo Grain Free Vegan

Healthy Twix Mini Protein Bars


  • Author: Liz Moody

Ingredients

Scale

Shortbread base

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup organic unflavored pea protein (I bought the plain Whole Foods one, but any organic pea protein with only one ingredient—pea protein—will work great. This brand is on Amazon and looks perfect)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 

Caramel layer

  • 1/3 cup unsalted creamy almond butter (my favorite is Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (optional, but recommended, see post text for more details)

Chocolate layer

  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
  • Flaky sea salt (optional, but yum!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all of the “shortbread” ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper so it overhangs the sides (I like to cut two pieces so there’s one going horizontal and one going vertical), then press the shortbread into the pan so it reaches the edges and is even, and tightly packed. Bake for 10 minutes. Set in the freezer to cool while you make the caramel.
  2. In a large bowl (I just use the same one as the shortbread), mix together all “caramel” ingredients. Spoon onto shortbread base and return to the freezer to set before adding chocolate layer (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a double boiler or the microwave. Pour on top of the caramel layer, tipping it every which way to distribute the chocolate and banging on the table a few times to get an even coat. Let cool for 5 minutes in the freezer then add flaky sea salt, if using. Let set completely in the freezer—at least 1 hour—before cutting. 
  4. To cut, remove from the loaf pan. First cut strips horizontally (it should look like normal Twix bars at this point). Then, turn the strips on their side, so the layers are facing you and cut into small squares (this prevents cracking the chocolate on top, although a little cracking isn’t the end of the world!). Spread out on a parchment-lined plate or pan in the freezer so they’re not touching each other. Freeze completely before transferring to a bag or tightly sealed container. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months, grabbing a bite whenever you’re hungry!

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Comments

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  1. Dana says:

    I’m only on step one but are you sure the oil amount is correct? It is so so so oily. I just took it out of the oven (after baking for 10 min) and it’s not baked (like a shortbread) but rather still really really doughy and EXTREMELY oily. A full layer of oil on the top. The only thing I can think of is that I used 3 T. of MELTED coconut oil; maybe it needed to be room temp? Anyway, tried to scoop off the layer of oil and trying to bake it a little longer. Bummer. 🙁

  2. Dana says:

    Any substitute for pea protein?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Dana — You can utilize any protein powder you’d like!
      Xo Liz

  3. Danielle says:

    I subbed collagen for the pea protein because it is what I had on hand. Turned out really good – love the molasses! Very yummy.