Scottish Cycling Foods: protein recovery Flapjack recipe

After posting about Graeme Obree’s low-fi energy food recently, you may end up ‘breathing in crumbs’, to borrow a phrase of his, with this recipe.

The recipe is the creation of my brother, who spends his spare time mountain biking and back-country skiing in Switzerland, when he isn’t trying out the trails of Borneo.

The addition of protein powder certainly makes it more of a recovery food than race fuel, but having tested it on the reliability rides this month it is good on-ride winter fodder if you nibble in small quantities, or is ideal for carrying as an insurance policy against the dreaded bonk.

Protein flapjack ingredients 1

200g porridge oats
200g fine oatmeal / aka pinhead oats
50g oat flour (if you can’t find oat flour, stick some porridge oats in a blender)
200g butter (don’t skimp: if anything go over 200g as it helps to bind it together)
200g brown sugar
200g honey
nuts, seeds and berries
Unsweetened whey protein
(If you buy from myprotein, use referrer code MP548496 to kick me back some loyalty points!)

Mix the porridge oats, oatmeal and oat flour together in a bowl. Don’t grind the oatmeal in a pestle and mortar as I did in the photo above- you will be pounding it for 10 minutes or more. If you can find oat flour, that would be best, if not, put porridge oats in a blender.

Add the fruit/seeds/nuts according to your preference– I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and dried blueberries, with a mixture of walnuts, almonds and pistachios. This may be a bit exotic- as a bare minimum you want some raisins in there. All of these things can be bought in supermarkets and stored in a big tub. It’s a good healthy snack as well as a flapjack ingredient.

Then add the whey protein. I used 8-10 heaped coffee scoops. You can leave this out if you like but I find it can be a challenge to get more protein in your diet and this is good for recovering at the end or after a ride. Ideally I’d figure out the right ratio of protein to carbs and sugar but for now it is pretty unscientific.

Flapjack ingredients 2

The honey/sugar/butter mix is melted over a gentle heat- be careful not to burn it. Pour the syrup into the oats in three or four batches, stirring well with a wooden spoon to make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Have a deep baking tray ready with a sheet of grease proof paper with a little butter or other spread wiped over it, to enable easy removal after baking. My tray measures 35x25cm and is pretty much spot on for this.

Flapjack mix pre-bake

Pour the mix into your tray, pack it in with your fingers and leave to settle for a few minutes before putting into the oven. I baked it in a fan oven preheated to 175°C and 20 minutes was almost too much– it was getting a bit crispy around the edges.

Flapjack just out of the oven

Above, I’ve scored the flapjack after taking it out, but wait for it to cool after this. Remove from the tray and then cut it properly on a board otherwise you will ruin your tray. Pack in foil for the ride- cling film is a nightmare to unwrap, especially when you are still pedalling or your fingers are cold.

I can’t tell you how long it keeps as I haven’t been able to make a batch last longer than a week- I’ve been handing it out to colleagues and riders for feedback.