Hungry Haley

it's more than food

Dark Chocolate Almond Protein Pops {Updated!} (Vegan, GF)

GF, Freezer-friendly, Dessert, High-protein, Meal-prep, Snack, Vegan, Whole-GrainHaley HansenComment

Chocolate. 

Chocolate and I have this love/hate relationship. Y’all know I have a sweet tooth bigger than King Kong, and a love for peanut butter stronger than Ronda Rousey. But, when it comes to chocolate, I’m picky.

Me? Picky? HA.

The only chocolate I can vividly remember from my childhood, besides the opening scene of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, with the velvety dreaminess folding, layer by layer, over and over (WATCH IT FULL-SCREEN), is the blizzard I always ordered from Dairy Queen – chocolate ice cream with crushed m&m’s. I would’ve easily put a ring on that thing if he could walk smooth like his rich ice cream and talk sweet like his pure chocolatey-ness.

But that’s weird, because in reality, he’s just a blue paper cup full of fat disguised by sugar and addiction.

Between that time (which probably ended at age 10) and about a year ago, I don’t recall being a big fan of the dark sweet stuff. That being said, let’s rewind to this time last year. My roommates liked to make fun of me for a lot of things – my crushing on a different boy practically each week, my pre-eating photography session of whatever’s on my plate, and perhaps the funniest of all to them was my “chocolate day”, which usually took place on Tuesdays. It looked a little something like this.

I’d like to pause here and point out the “broken” health “rule”. You may have heard that about an ounce of quality dark chocolate a day is actually good for you and may help silence those rather loud, frequent sweet-tooth screams. Buuuuuuuut I didn’t care about that. I preferred to indulge in (what I assumed was) about two ounces (but was probably more like three, but we’ll just bury that one underneath us and pretend it never existed) mostly because my friends, relatives and parents sent me enough chocolate to make the phrase “you are what you eat” a visual truth.

And then reality hit me hard, like harder than that one 34-second tussle between Ronda and that other chick. I realized just how much sugar/fat/calories I was indulging in, and forced myself to cut back. Eventually, I just didn’t crave it anymore, and my chocolate-Tuesdays were peacefully laid to rest.

Since then, I haven't been able to handle the richness of a simple bar of chocolate. For a while, I feared that I'd gone so far as to burn out chocolate-craving tastebuds. Will I never want chocolate again? Will I be that girl at movie-nights, munching on just plain ol' popcorn? What will I crave when that time of the month comes? The vast amount of chocolate I've consumed since that fear first hit, however, has easily convinced me otherwise. Vegan chocolate gelato, brownie batter oatmeal (yes, that's a totally-acceptable breakfast item) a 6 oz. dark chocolate peanut butter cup, endless vegan donuts with chocolate frosting and Oreos (!!!), double chocolate rice krispy treats, and the almost-daily homemade mocha. 

Oh, and these perfectly round ("round"... hehehe, that word makes me giggle), rich, satisfying AND healthy little bites of chocolate + protein + heaven. I actually created this recipe about a year ago, but recently decided to update it because 1) the pictures were frighteningly ugly and outdated, and 2) that would mean I'd get to eat them. All. All of them, myself, all the chocolate and me :) Not much has changed within the recipe, except that the plain rice krispies have become chocolate, the coconut oil has become sweet almond coconut butter from Essentially Coconut, and the cacao and protein powder have combined into Chocolate Whole Body Meal from Ka'Chava Tribe (I use this everyday!) Ka'Chava Tribe is, by far, my favorite brand of protein powder - use the code "hungryyhaley10" when you check out for $10 off your first order. 

Much love and appreciation for reading, and much more for those who leave a comment below – how’d you like it? Any questions I can answer?  Gimme’ whatcha’ got, people!

Makes about 14 pops

½ cup + 2 tbsp. crunchy almond butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut butter (or oil, but I used this), melted
~2 scoops Ka'Chava Tribe Chocolate Protein Powder
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup Chocolate Koala Crisp Cereal
¼ cup cacao nibs

  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl until they combine as much as possible. Set aside. 
  2. In a separate, medium-size bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients – the protein powder, cacao nibs, and everything in between – and carefully add the mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir it all together very slowly – feel free to use your hands and have some fun. No shame in messiness when it comes to food. 
  3. When everything is combined, roll the dough into golfball-sized portions. You can make them bigger or smaller – up to you! Refrigerate them overnight. You might be able to get away with popping them in fridge for, like, 4-5 hours, but I haven’t tried that. 
  4. Make sure they’re nice and firm before you serve them. Enjoy!