Pumpkin Cranberry Protein Bars

Commercial protein bars have always confused me. I understand the logic behind them - really, I do. What I don’t understand, though, is how it’s possible to both overpay for and consume such an obvious amount of excess sugar and somehow palatably stale protein. So here’s my seasonal take on the cardboard squares you’ve been consuming, and I can guarantee they’re not just tastier and more nutritious, but cheaper too.

One of these will make the perfect on-the-go breakfast, and an even better guilt-free dessert. And considering these are virtually impossible to ruin, do yourself a favor and stop purchasing those over-priced Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bars.

Pumpkin Cranberry Protein Bars

1.25 cups vanilla whey protein powder - $4.56
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour - 0.08
1/4 cup flax seeds - $0.25
1/4 cup wheat germ - $0.08
1/2 cup wheat bran - $0.59
1 tsp cinnamon - $0.05
0.5 tsp nutmeg - $0.05
0.5 tsp ground ginger - $0.05
0.25 tsp ground cloves - $0.05
0.5 tsp salt - $0.01
1/2 cup brown sugar - $0.21
1 cup pumpkin puree - $1.00
3 large eggs - $0.63
16 oz soft silken tofu - $2.13
1/2 cup fat free milk - $0.11
1.25 cups craisins, chopped (dried cranberries) - $1.05

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat tofu and brown sugar until mixture is smooth. Gradually add eggs, adding one at a time. Add milk and pumpkin puree and mix just until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients - excluding dried cranberries and brown sugar. Whisk ingredients together to until fully mixed.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just before fully incorporated, then add dried cranberries and mix until there is no more dry mixture showing.
  • Line a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Spread prepared mixture into baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: I recommend keeping these refrigerated. What I like to do is individually wrap each bar for a quick snack.

Makes approximately 12 servings.
Total Cost: $11.90
Cost Per Serving: $0.99

Nutritional Information:

(Source: dollarfriendlymeals.com)