Ice cream bars are definitely one of the most underrated desserts out there.
The only problem is that most of them are packed with tons of calories and not much nutritional benefit…
And sure, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. I mean, it is a treat after all!
But doesn’t a protein-packed version sound appealing?
These bars have 175 calories, just 12g of net carbs, and 9g of protein!
Okay, before you get on my case that these aren’t very high in protein, I get it. Most of my recipes have much more protein to them, and if you were to compare these bars to a protein bar, these have much less protein.
But, let’s look at some other ice cream bar options out there…
Yasso Ice Cream Bars: 150 Calories & 5g Protein
Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Bar: 270 Calories & 4g Protein
Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar: 210 Calories & 3g Protein
I think it’s safe to call our version high-protein!
These bars are truly simple to make, too. We’re going to use high-protein ice cream as our base (I use Halo Top, but any ice cream will work) and create our very own Protein Magic Shell for the coating. Let’s get into it…
Which ice cream is best for these Protein Ice Cream Bars?
I chose to go with Halo Top as the base of these ice cream bars, because I wanted to maximize the total protein as much as possible.
I’ll be honest with you: I used to really dislike Halo Top. My philosophy was (and still is) that I’d prefer to enjoy real ice cream and get my protein in elsewhere.
But since I first tried Halo Top years ago, it seems that they’ve improved their recipe A LOT. I bought a pint on a whim for some recipe testing, and I was genuinely surprised by how good the vanilla was.
The main issue I used to have with Halo Top is that it was rock-hard when you took it out of the freezer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer, and it was great to eat right out of the freezer.
Either way, you are free to use any ice cream you’d like for this recipe, even if it’s not high in protein. The process here will be the same regardless.
Simply scoop out ice cream and fill your popsicle molds, then add them back to the freezer for 1-2 hours to allow them to harden.
If you’re trying to calculate the calories, rather than try to measure out exact amounts of ice cream to use, I like to use the negative function on my food scale to figure out exactly how much ice cream I used.
If you’d like to do the same, here’s what you do:
Put the pint of ice cream on the food scale and zero it out.
Then, fill your popsicle molds with your ice cream and return the pint back to the scale.
The food scale will display a negative amount, showing how much weight your pint lost.
In this case, I used about 190g of ice cream. Based on a serving being 85g, that means I used about 2.25 servings for this recipe!
Once you know that, it’s super easy to figure out how many calories each pop has.
If you want to calculate the exact nutrition for your ice cream bars based on the ice cream you are using, I highly recommend using this handy trick to make your life much easier.
How to make the chocolate protein coating
I love creating this protein “Magic Shell” for ice cream because it is so incredibly easy!
The secret to creating a shell is using coconut oil. Coconut oil melts into a liquid, and when it touches something frozen, it instantly freezes and creates a shell. Pretty neat, right?
You cannot substitute coconut oil for any other type of fat, because it will not work the same.
Along with coconut oil, we’re going to use a little bit of protein powder and cocoa powder. If you want to use vanilla protein powder, that will work here as well. Since we’re adding cocoa powder, you won’t taste the vanilla.
You can certainly leave out the protein powder altogether if you prefer. The coconut oil is what makes the magic happen, and everything else is just for the flavoring.
I also added a little bit of powdered sugar here, which I forgot to include in this photo. The additional sweetener is optional as it depends on how sweet you like your chocolate.
If you prefer dark chocolate, you can leave that out completely.
Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then whisk in the dry ingredients.
This will create a chocolate sauce that if you were to taste as-is, would be very gritty.
I wasn’t sure if this would be a problem, but don’t worry- once it freezes, it doesn’t taste gritty at all! I’ve tested this numerous times, and with different types of protein powder, and I promise you won’t be able to tell once it solidifies.
Once you have the chocolate mixture, all that’s left to do is coat your ice cream bars.
Remove the ice cream bars from the freezer, then use a spoon to fully coat the bars. I originally tried dipping the bars, but I found using a spoon much easier.
The chocolate coating will freeze immediately upon touching the ice cream, which is amazing to me every single time.
You should be able to cover all of the bars with your coating, but if you get really heavy-handed with the chocolate shell (or you miss a ton as I did) you may run out at the very end. My third ice cream bar ended up with the bottom being nude, but it wasn’t a huge deal for me.
After about 30 seconds, these are ready to go! Since the chocolate coating hardens right away, you’re free to dig in.
If you want to save these protein ice cream bars for another day, you certainly can. These keep very well in the freezer- I recommend just wrapping them in foil to prevent any kind of freezer burn.
Now go make yourselves some ice cream bars!
Ice Cream Filling
- 185g Vanilla Halo Top Ice Cream (about 3/4 pint)- You can use any high-protein or light ice cream here
- Scoop out the halo top ice cream (or any ice cream of your choice) and add to your popsicle molds. I used my hands to make sure the molds were as stuffed as possible.
- Add the freezer for about 2 hours or so to allow them to harden in the molds.
- Once the bars are ready to go, we'll make the chocolate coating. Add coconut oil to a wide bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to fully melt it.
- Whisk in the protein powder, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar until smooth. Note that if you were to taste the mixture, it would taste very gritty. I promise you won't even notice once it hardens.
- Remove the ice cream from the molds, then take a spoon and pour the chocolate over the popsicles until covered. It should harden almost instantly, so you'll be able to put these bars onto a plate or cooling rack.
- You should have the perfect amount of chocolate coating for 3 ice cream bars, but if you pour it on thick (or miss with a lot of it), you may run out. If that's the case, you can quickly whip up more as needed.
- You can enjoy the ice cream bars immediately, or add them back to the freezer to enjoy later. I recommend wrapping these in foil to help prevent freezer burn.
- You can melt down chocolate chips for the coating to bring the calories down if needed, but I love using coconut oil to create that shell!
- Don't try to infuse more protein into this one. I started by trying a full 30g of protein in the chocolate coating, and it was way too much (it ended up turning into a paste).
- The coconut oil is what is going to create that shell, so you can flavor it however you want! You can just use cocoa powder without sweetener if you prefer darker chocolate, or you could even go with vanilla.
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Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1 Ice Cream Bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 175Total Fat 11gCarbohydrates 17gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 9g