Granola Bars for Winter rides and summer Sportives
So, many people have asked for the recipe for these bars after a taster at one event or other. I have made and eaten them for several years and always found them to be tastier and far more nutritious than the things you buy in the store…especially those oxymoronic low-calorie energy bars(?) Go figger.
This recipe contains enough to keep pretty much all your systems going in all but the hardest of events (where you may need a higher ratio of sugars) and has both quick release sugars, slow carbs, nuts for protein and micro nutrients, dried fruit and salt for electrolytes and loads of roughage to make you a, er, regular racer. The bars taste delicious and with a bit of attention you will get the consistency just right so they do not crumble but can be torn off into a chunk easily for consumption while riding.
Some history: I got the recipe from a racer in New Jersey who had in turn been passed the recipe when he was inducted into the League of Red Headed Cyclists in the far west. The recipe was not supposed to be passed on and he has, since he passed it on to me, passed on.
However, there is more good to be served here by a serving of granola than bad to be had by hiding the formula, and so it follows.
Measurements in US cups can be roughly translated based on 1 Cup=.675 regular Mug
——————-Wheel Energy Granola Bars——————-
…………….Goodness in races for miles and miles and miles…………
5 cups oats
1.5 cup wheat germ
1 cup flax seed
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup peanuts or almonds, crushed a little if you like to.
1.5 cup brown sugar or 500g Jaggery (Cane sugar extract found in all Asian stores and loaded with things your body likes)
1 cup honey
1 stick butter
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1lb Raisins or cranberries or goji berries or all 3.
Baking tray 20″ x 10″ x .75”
Large stiff bread board or cutting board bigger than the baking tray.
Long sharp knife
Make the Binding caramel: Put the brown sugar (or Jaggery), honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Keep this mixture on a low heat for 20 minutes boiling all the time. The longer this mix cooks the harder and firmer the bars will be. Keep careful tabs. Too soft and bars will melt in your pocket on a hot day, too hard and they will be tough to break and chew while riding.
You can test the mix by putting a teaspoon on a cold plate and placing in freezer for a few minutes. You want it so it is firm but not so it is hard. You will have to test and adjust the caramel to get this consistency as it varies depending on ingredients. The key is more sugar means firmer mix, more butter means looser. Adjust if you need to based on testing.
Roast the mix:
Start by roasting only the oats and wheat germ for 15min and make sure to turn every minute or two so they do not burn. You do not want them even browning.
Then add all the nuts, roast another 3-5 minutes with turning: Nuts singe very easily, you must keep turning and watch every minute or so or you will burn your nuts. 🙂
Add the raisins last and roast for 1 min, remove from heat. Leave to cool.
Prepare a non stick baking tray 20″ x 10″ x .75” approx. Butter the surface. If it is not a non-stick tray, line it with buttered wax paper.
Have another sheet of wax paper slightly larger than the tray buttered on one side and ready.
In a large mixing bowl pour the roasted mix and make a pit into which you pour the caramel mixing very thoroughly making sure there are no dry spots. This can take several minutes of mixing and you need to really dig down and turn it all over to avoid pockets of dry.
You can add flavours here. I use about 1 tbsp Cinnamon and 1 tsp Cardamom if you like these tastes. They make the bars very interesting. You can also add some Pomegranate sauce (several tablespoons) to give a little zip and lift the taste. Lots of good electrolytes in this also.
Once mixed thoroughly, spoon the mixture evenly across the prepared tray, spread it out and then press flat with a spoon. This layer should be about .25 inch higher than the try lip.
Place the second layer of waxed paper on top of mix butter-side down.
Place the large firm bread board on the tray, place tray on the floor and then stand on the bread board several times and move your feet all around the board around to compress the mixture to an even layer.
Make sure to do this across the whole area of the tray and several times. This will create a packed cake of granola that will set up as a slab.
Now leave to cool.
Remove the whole “cake” of granola from the tray when cool by turning upside down and dropping onto a clean surface you can cut on.
Peel off the wax paper (from the bottom which is now top) if you used it. If it is sticking, take a dish towel and soak in V hot water and then rest on the wax paper a while, this will melt the butter and caramel underneath just enough to release the paper.
Slice this “cake” up. It should make 16-18 bars about 5″ long.
Wrap in Saran wrap and store dry for consumption. The bars do not need refrigeration and will keep a long time.
Label with date and ingredients as you may share with people who and may have food allergies and they need to know what they are eating.
Depending on ingredients, a bar of 5″ by 2″ by .75″ is about 300-400 cals and should be good for 30+ easy miles or a great recovery snack after a race. Good for all sorts of other things to.
I have wondered if a man could live on 4 bars a day for a week….if you want to try it let me know and I will supply the bars.
This may not need to be said but: when eating some bar during hard exercise, be sure to bite off a chunk and store it in a cheek so you can continue to breathe. Then let it slowly dissolve and chew it a piece at a time very thoroughly to break down the outer shells on the grains and release the starches and goodness. You cannot go wrong.
“In Velo, Veritas”