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....