Homemade Hematogen – Russian blood protein bar

“Hematogen (Russian: Гематоген, Gematogen; Latin: Haematogenum) is a nutrition bar, which is notable in that one of its main ingredients is black food albumin taken from processed (defibrinated) cow’s blood. Other ingredients may vary, but they usually contain sugar, milk and vanillin.” (courtesy of Wikipedia)

I had come across Hematogen bars online a couple of times, (see this Chowhound’s article.) and the idea of blood protein bars sounded pretty appealing.  I started looking for more information and saw that the dark colored candies, contrary to expectations, had not lost their popularity with the fall of the Soviet Union. There’s now a wide range of flavors available, enriched with vitamins and minerals, produced by different brands : Like these, From Lithuania.


Bars of Hematogen

Though they are available on Ebay and Amazon, I have not yet had the opportunity to taste them. I may eventually end up ordering a couple, but in the meantime, I thought I’d try making my own.

With some changes.

While the product is marketed as a nutritional supplement, and a healthy snack, when you look at Hematogen’s ingredients, It appears to not be so healthy : Sugar, is the main ingredient, then sweetened condensed milk, glucose syrup, vegetable fats….(and not much blood at all). You get the picture.
The substance used is not actual blood but albumin, a protein derived from cow blood.

Here, what I wanted to do, was make a candy bar similar to Hematogen, but with actual blood, and healthier, raw ingredients from classic protein bar recipes.

Here’s the result of several experiments :

blood protein fudge bar

Ingredients (for 6)

  • 1 cup protein powder
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3-6 tbsp unsweetened raw cocoa (or carob powder)
  • 3-6 tbsp blood powder dry
    OR 1/3 – 1/2 cup raw blood* (if using, you will need to add more flour/dry ingredients until you get the right consistency)
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavor
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp chilli pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp maca powder (optional)

Feel free to play around and add seeds like sesame, chia, poppy, crushed nuts or cacao nibs…Possibilities are endless

* There are risks involving the use of raw blood (more so than raw eggs). Keep this in mind, provenance and handling are extremely important factors to consider. Freezing the blood in ice cube trays for over two weeks is a good way to minimize risks.

Method:

    1. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment.
    1. Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and give the mixture a few pulses to combine. Then run it until the whole mixture is very well ground, and sticks together when you squeeze a handful.
    2. Add the dates (and honey if using) the peanut butter, (the blood if using fresh), and continue to process for a minute or two to form a stiff dough.
    1. Press the mixture firmly into the pan using the back of a spoon.
    1. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up. Cut into bars.


Notes and Tips:

You can wrap them in tinfoil and keep them in the fridge.

I have tried a version of this without coconut flakes, using peanut and almond flour instead, and have found it to be much more pleasant. As the taste of coconut can be a bit overpowering.

Here’s the alternate version I have also tested and that I personally prefer :

  • 1/2 cup roasted chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4th cup peanut flour (or crushed/processed peanuts)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened raw cocoa (or carob powder)
  • 3-6 tbsp blood powder dry
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavor
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted

These bars are a packed with protein, healthy fats and vitamins. They’re a great snack pre or post workout, or for whenever you need a kick of energy. They might not look or sound as cool at the Soviet originals, but they’ll definitely keep you fueled up through the morning, and they are bloody delicious!


Sources :
http://www.foodiefiasco.com/perfect-protein-fudge/
https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/gematogen-soviet-russia-blood-bar
https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/199997/this-russian-candy-bar-contains-actual-cow-blood/

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