RECIPE: Pete Ganderton's Solid Energy Gel Bars

 [Original recipe here]

At the recent ORRL team time trial (report), team member Pete Ganderton brought along  a box of what he said were "basically solid energy gels". That doesn't sound particularly delicious, but they were (he was obviously referring to the similarity of the targeted energy macro nutrient delivery system...or something).

Anyway, the team devoured them before putting in a storming performance and winning the TTT. 

I decided I should make some for myself, and use them as my primary fuel source for an upcoming 12hr time trial (Newbury 12hr, June 12th 2016) where solid food is preferable over liquid food alone (12hrs on gels would be a miserable experience). The 'solid gels' have equal quantities of two different types of sugar (glucose and fructose) which is more readily absorbed by the body, I'm told.

I asked Pete for the recipe, and it turns out he has a blog, velobake, with lots of similar recipes that only a cyclist who burns thousands of calories a day could get away with eating. I have published this recipe with his full permission! 

 Ingredients

makes 48 chunks (110kcals per chunk)

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 150g ripe bananas (approx 1½ bananas)
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 150g fructose sugar (you can buy this from Holland and Barrett in the UK)
  • 1 large egg (about 70g), lightly beaten
  • 200g condensed milk
  • 400g porridge oats
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g dried cherries (not glacé ones!)
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • A few drops of almond essence

 Method

  • Pre-Heat oven to 160'C
  • Line a 20cm x 30cm traybake tin with baking parchment

1) In a large saucepan (large enough to fit all the ingredients) put the bananas and butter in, and mash with a fork.


2) Add the glucose syrup, caster sugar and fructose sugar

3) Put on a low heat, and stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and the butter has melted.

4) Take off the heat, and stir the condensed milk and almond essence in

5) Add in the beaten egg, and mix thoroughly

6) Add in the oats, flaked almonds, cherries and chocolate drops, and mix thoroughly until all the dry ingredients are covered in the wet mixture. Make sure there are no dry pockets left.

7) Put all the mixture into the lined traybake tin, and using the back of a fork push it into all the corners, and level off the top

8) Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes. The top should just be turning golden

9) Remove to a wire tray, and allow to cool completely in the tin

10) Once cool, turn out onto a chopping board, and place in the fridge overnight (this make it easier to cut up)

11) Chop up into 48 bits (chop it into quarters, then each quarter can be cut into a 3 x 4 grid, providing 12 pieces). These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Weighing the naughty stuffs. I used sultanas rather than cherries because I am tight.

Melting the naughty stuff

Delicious, oaty, goop

Before baking. Pressed down hard to give firmer bars. 

Post baking. The chocolate melted - I think because I used chopped up chocolate bars rather than drops. 

Finished 'solid gels' 

Source: http://velobake.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/cyc...

RECIPE: The MK1 Recovery Triangles™ total recovery solution (homemade high protein recovery bars)

BACKGROUND

With all the ultra hard, Energy Rectangle™ fuelled (read: caffeine fuelled) training sessions you are smashing out, your muscles will need all the help they can get to recover.  Everyone has a favourite recovery food; mine is obviously porridge, usually with protein powder mixed in to boost protein content, but anything with some carbs (to replenish glycogen in the muscles) and protein (to help absorb the glycogen and muscle repair) will do. The problem I find is managing to eat within the 20min ‘recovery window’ post exercise (this is the optimum time to eat, when the body will more readily take up glycogen); cleaning my bike down, having a shower, text message admin etc, means it’s usually an hour before I eat anything substantial.

So, to perfectly complement the Energy Rectangle™ energy solution, I have created the Recovery Triangle™ total recovery solution. A delicious (well, edible at least) bar to have on standby, optimally formulated to replenish your muscles, that can be eaten immediately post exercise before making something proper (and nice).

FORMULATING THE RECOVERY TRIANGLE

I am no doctor or sports nutritionist, but I do know that a recovery food should  have a good amount of carbs in it to replace the glycogen in your muscles, but should have a fairly high protein content (higher than an energy bar or rectangle) to not only help the body absorb the glycogen but also to help repair muscles. I looked at some popular recovery bars on the market, and noticed that there didn’t seem to be a hard and fast ratio of carbs : protein. A quick google, shows many differing opinions on this. For example,

  • "The 3:1 carbohydrate:protein post-exercise protocol is rational for the endurance athlete, especially if lean muscle mass recovery is the objective" [From hammer nutrition]
  • "simply a snack or meal providing 15 to 25 grams of protein, regardless of the amount of carbs" & "if enough protein is consumed, the ratio is not as critical and can be relaxed slightly. For optimal recovery, aim for a ratio somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1 if you’re into counting grams of carbs and protein." [From Runners World]
  • "Following initial fuelling immediately after exercise, meals should be consumed little and often to promote a full recovery. Around 20 grams high quality protein, 1-1.2 grams per kg body mass carbohydrate" [From SIS website]

So my conclusion is, that it perhaps is not so critical as long as the recovery snack has a fair amount of protein and some carbs in it. Taking the popular CNP protein bar (as used by Team Sky, if you believe the marketing) as an example, it has the following nutritional content;

Nutrition profile of CNP Recovery bar

So from a 70g bar there are 20g carbs and 30g protein. i.e a 2:3 ratio!

Using the same spreadsheet I used to formulate the Energy Rectangle™ I got to work to try and match the nutritional profile. It was hard getting the same amount of protein as the CNP bar. 30g is a huge amount of protein (approximately 45% by mass); my preferred protein powder is only ~60% protein by mass on its own . However, after some tweaking, I came up with an initial basic recipe that has a similar nutritional profile and one which I thought would taste nice and hold together when formed into triangles. I made a few batches using the initial recipe, and have since made a few additional adjustments to further refine the triangle recipe.

The final 75g bar has 265kcals, 27g Carbs and 18g Protein (i.e. a 3:2 ratio). The cost (including the extras listed below) comes in at 39p, which is favourable compared to shop bought recovery bars which are usually way over £1.

 

ADDING THE PUREST GREEN

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word triangle? Probably not a quality street green triangle, but that would certainly be up there in the top 50. I thought there would be no better way to honour the quality street green triangles triangular credentials than to attempt to mimic this in the Recovery Triangles. To do this, I have added 0.5tbsp of Matcha Green Tea powder to the topping. Matcha powder has all sorts of health benefits. Having just 2.5g of Matcha Powder is equivalent to drinking 150cups of green tea.

YOGHURT TOP

Cereal bars with a yoghurt flavour topping are delicious, so I decided to top the triangles with something similar – a white chocolate and yoghurt topping. This is perhaps a bit unnecessary, and I don’t really think it adds anything nutritionally to the triangle other than a load of fat. It does taste delicious though, and complements the flavour and texture of the bar.

WRAPPING THE BARS

I employed a similar wrapping technique as to the rectangles, using paper lined foil. I also printed off a new sticker sheet to help hold the wrappers together. I don’t really think it is essential to wrap these, as they will mainly be kept at home, so keeping them in an airtight container would suffice.

STORAGE

I wasn’t sure if the triangles would need refrigerating, as they have milk in them and the protein powder has therefore been wetted. However, I have been keeping them on my kitchen worktop at room temperature for a couple of weeks at a time with no noticeable issues.

RECIPE: The Recovery Triangle™

INGREDIENTS (Makes 20 triangles)

For the base:

  • Oats 150g
  • Peanut Butter 75g
  • Golden Syrup 200g
  • Corn Flakes (crushed up) 50g
  • Sultanas 50g
  • Peanuts 100g
  • Protein Powder 350g
  • Salt 1g
  • Milk 250ml

For the topping:

  • White chocolate (broken into small pieces) 200g
  • Yoghurt 75g
  • Matcha Tea 2.5g

Total Mix 1504g / Per Bar 75g

METHOD

  1. Weigh the peanut butter and golden syrup and add to a pan on the hob.
  2. Heat gently. The peanut butter and syrup mix should start to melt together and become runnier.
  3. While keeping the pan on a low heat, add all the base ingredients and mix quickly while the syrup/peanut butter mix is still warm and runny.
  4. Once thoroughly mixed, add the mix to a lined baking tray.
  5. Press the mixture down hard, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
  6. Leave to cool.
  7. Prepare the topping by melting the chocolate in a pan, over a very low heat.
  8. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the yoghurt and quickly mix.
  9. Sprinkle in the matcha tea powder.
  10. Spread the topping over the base and allow to set.
  11. Turn the cooled mixture out of the tray, and then divide into 20 equal portions. (TIP: leave a length of greasproof paper under the base, to use as a 'hoist' to remove the base from the tray once cooled).
  12. Wrap each triangle and apply a sticker.

RECIPE: Homemade energy bar with a Kick...... The Energy Rectangle™

BACKGROUND

I make my own energy bars. Not because I can't afford to buy real ones, as some people have suggested (although, have you seen the price of these things?). No, the reason is because the 'real' ones tend towards the rancid end of the taste spectrum, with the texture of a dry weetabix or lump of previously chewed chewing gum. My home made ones are delicious. And oat/porridge based, obviously.

I usually don't bother following an exact recipe or weigh ingredients out, although I have made them so many times now they turn out fairly consistent with only slight variations depending on what happens to be in the cupboard. However, the time has now come to formally capture a recipe and share it with you lucky people. Behold, the Energy Rectangle™.

FORMULATING THE ENERGY RECTANGLE

I use the same ingredients for nearly every batch of rectangles. The taste and function is tried and tested in all the events I have competed in since 2014 (and a lot of training, when eating is necessary). The magic ingredients are; Oats, Peanut Butter, Golden Syrup, Corn Flakes, Sultanas, Peanuts & White chocolate. Before locking down a recipe in this blog post for good, I wanted to ensure the nutritional profile was optimal. So I had a look at some 'real' energy bar details, and came to the conclusion that they should consist of approximately 75% Carbohydrate, 10% Fat, 15% Protein.

Typical nutrition profile of a 'real' energy bar.

Based on this, I created a spreadsheet listing the ingredients along with corresponding nutritional content, and tweaked the quantities until the desired nutritional profile, copied from a 'real' bar, was achieved (a batch of rectangles, in this spreadsheet, is 16 rectangles).

To boost the protein content of the rectangles, the obvious option would be chopped up steak or tinned tuna. However, this would probably affect the flavour balance, so I decided to add some protein powder, Dymatize Elite XT chocolate (I haven't done this before, but turned out it worked well in the mix).

I also calculated the price per rectangle. I used Tesco value ingredients where possible. The rectangles came to a whopping 17p each. I ate a lot of mixture while making them though, so the price / nutrition values may be slightly out in reality...!

Ingredients optimisation....

ADDING A KICK

Caffeine is commonly added to gels / chews / drinks but it is less frequently found in energy bars. Maybe there is a scientific reason for this, like we cant absorb it with solid food or it makes us shit ourselves, or something. But, I need caffeine to function, and if I can sneak it in to food then I will. The caffeine pills I have are 200mg per pill (for reference, a can of red bull is 80mg). Obviously, the amount per rectangle can be tweaked.  I thought a good amount per rectangle was about 100mg, but I could make both caffeinated and decaffeinated ones to prevent hospital visits from caffeine OD'ing. The pills are ground up and then mixed in with the other ingredients.

Caffeine pills...

PACKAGING

The method used for wrapping, once cut, is based (well, literally copied) from the book 'The Feed Zone Cookbook'. This uses paper backed foil (I used this stuff; it is strong, folds well and holds shape) and a bit of origami folding.

Wrapping the rectangles

To stick the flaps of each wrapper down, I made some stickers up which are also handy at helping identify whether the rectangles have caffeine in them. If you want to print some off, print this PDF on to some gloss sticker paper (I got some off ebay).

Energy rectangle stickers. Handy for identifying caffeine content and sticking wrapper flaps down.

Finished product. Both Caffeinated / Decaff variations....

RECIPE: The Energy Rectangle™

INGREDIENTS (Makes 16 rectangles)

  • Oats 300g
  • Peanut Butter 50g
  • Golden Syrup 300g
  • Corn Flakes (crushed up) 100g
  • Sultanas 150g
  • Peanuts 50g
  • White chocolate (broken into small pieces) 50g
  • Protein Powder 66g
  • Salt 6g
  • 200mg Caffeine Pills (ground) x8 (optional)

Total Mix 1067g / Per Bar 67g

METHOD

  1. Weigh all the dry ingredients. (Oats, Corn Flakes, Sultanas, Peanuts, Chocolate, Protein Powder, Salt & Caffeine if using)
  2. Weigh the peanut butter and golden syrup and add to a pan on the hob.
  3. Heat gently. The peanut butter and syrup mix should start to melt together and become runnier.
  4. While keeping the pan on a low heat, add all the dry ingredients and mix quickly while the syrup/peanut butter mix is still warm and runny.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, add the mix to a lined baking tray.
  6. Press the mixture down hard, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
  7. Leave to cool.
  8. Turn the cooled mixture out of the tray, and then divide into 16 equal portions.
  9. Wrap each rectangle and apply a sticker depending on the variant.

Weigh the ingredients out first so you can add all at once, making mixing easier.

Heat the peanut butter and syrup.

Mix together quickly, while on a low heat.

Turn the mixture into a baking tray and press down hard with the back of a spoon.

Cut into 16 rectangles

Wrap

Finished rectangles....