Just what everyone needs! A cure for the common cupcake.
Joking aside, I needed a cure right about now. I’ve been sick in bed for the past couple days, and I can’t tell you how nice it has been to have a tasty treat ready in the fridge whenever I need it.
Which is often. I need it often.
Red velvet is such a festive flavor, so I wanted cupcakes to move over for once and share the spotlight with another delectable. One that’s delicious, portable, crazy easy to make, and packed with protein.
Time to get down to business. Let’s talk frosting.
(It’s like talking turkey, but not at all.)
We all know red velvet isn’t really red velvet without something sweet and light-colored, namely that iconic cream cheese frosting.
I thought about making a full-fledged cream cheese frosting fiesta to accompany these red velvet beauties, but as delicious as that might have been, it was a non-starter.
The texture of a buttercream wouldn’t really work for coating truffles. Also the frosting would have been more time consuming to make than the truffles themselves, so that seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
Back to the frosting board.
I’ve heard of some other bloggers making a type of vanilla glaze out of almond milk and protein powder, so I gave that a try… and it just didn’t do it for me. I like protein powder in muffins and cookie dough and mug cakes and macaroons and fudge, but I guess not frosting.
Or maybe I need to make a recipe that will convince me otherwise? I’ll keep you updated.
Anyway, I was definitely in need of some frosting sub inspiration.
I’m one of those people who feels the spirit of winter and Christmas in the air when fall is just barely on the horizon. If we’re being honest, it’s absolutely because I’m from LA. The only two seasons here are summer and everything else that is slightly colder than summer. The weather is below 70? It must be Christmas!
Yes, I hope you’re shaking your head at this southern Californian foolishness. Just you wait until I get to college. That’ll teach me.
Anyway, I was inspired by those beautiful truffles that pop up at cookie swaps around the holidays. Glazes and frostings get messy, so these elegant cookies rely on powdered sugar or cocoa powder for that extra dose of flavor and pizzazz.
And being the low carb ninjas we are, what is a great sub for powdered sugar? Powdered erythritol!
That said, if you are sharing these with people who aren’t used to sugar substitutes, or if you and/or loved ones lucky enough to eat your cooking are sensitive to sugar alcohols, feel free to use powdered sugar here. The portion of sugar per truffle ends up being quite small so the amount of calories/carbs/sugar you’re adding is actually pretty nominal.
Prepare to be enchanted by visions of red velvet truffles dance in your head. Or something like that.
3/4 cup protein powder (225) + 1 cup powdered peanut butter (360) +1 tablespoon cocoa powder (10) / 25 = 24 calories per truffle
3/4 cup protein powder (7g) + 1 cup powdered peanut butter (24g) +1 tablespoon cocoa powder (1g) / 25 = 1g net carbs per truffle
3/4 cup protein powder (50g) + 1 cup powdered peanut butter (40) +1 tablespoon cocoa powder (1g) / 25 = 4g protein per truffle
- ¾ cup protein powder (see directions below for notes)
- ½ cup peanut butter or 1 cup dry powdered peanut butter (for a paleo version, use almond butter)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ¼ cup erythritol
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- red food coloring (beet juice is a great natural alternative!)
- almond milk
- In a large bowl, combine protein powder, peanut butter or powdered peanut butter, cocoa powder, erythritol, and vanilla extract and stir until completely combined. If using regular peanut butter (and not powdered), use your fingers to knead the dough, ensuring that the dry ingredients are incorporated into the peanut butter as well as possible.
- Now here comes the part where you really have to pay attention. Because protein powders vary so much in texture and ability to hold liquid, add in the almond milk one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition and stopping when you've reached a cookie dough texture. Obviously you will end up using slightly more if you use powdered peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter, as peanut butter is wet but the powder is dry.
- Using a heaping ½ tablespoon measure, roll the dough into balls.
- At this point, depending on if the bites turn out to be sturdy enough at room temperature, I place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet where I stick them in the freezer, freeze until cold, and transfer to a zip-lock bag for long term storage. Again, the texture of the finished bites will depend on what type of protein powder you use and whether you use regular peanut butter or powdered. In my experience, vegan protein powders (such as SunWarrior, which I love) are best able to hold liquid and thus result in the firmest end product. Whey/casein blends tend to be a close second (Quest protein powder is my favorite in this recipe), and plain whey protein tends to be the worst when it comes to absorbing liquid. Regular peanut butter results in a substantially firmer dough than powdered peanut butter, and it also tends to yield more volume and thus more bites. I personally am on a higher fat diet and love using regular peanut butter here. However, if you're restricting your fat/caloric intake, PB2 might be the best way to go, so I want to give you that option. Just be wary if you use whey protein and powdered peanut butter, as the dough can become runny if you're not very careful when adding the almond milk. The addition of cocoa powder here does help firm up the texture though. Make these bites and devour.
More red velvet favorites: