Step 1: Ingredients:
Caramel cubes (1/4 cup, approx. 10 cubes)
Semisweet chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
Sweetened condensed milk (1 cup)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup) (wheat germ may be an even more food-dense alternative)
Protein powder (1.5 cup)
Walnuts, diced (1/2 cup)
Raisins (1/4 cup)
Craisins (1/4 cup)
When purchasing materials in the store, be sure to compare brands to get the product with the highest food value per unit volume. I focused on calorie, carbohydrate, and protein content.
Step 2: Tools
Mixing spoon (good and sturdy)
Pots for double boiler
Step 3: Wet Ingredients:
Step 4: Dry Ingredients:
Step 5: Baking:
Step 6: Serving
Step 7: Data
The full spreadsheet is attached.
Step 8: Testing
I was concerned that the bars might destabilize in the kind of heat they might encounter on the trail. To test for this I stuck a meat thermometer into one of the bars and heated it to a little over 100F without any loss of stability.
Shelf life testing:
I thought that the bars might get stale quickly so I left one on the counter for a week. After seven days in the air the bar tasted pretty much the same as it had when it was fresh.
I ate these bars for breakfast for several days and they kept me fuller longer than anything else I typically eat, even while running four miles every morning.
I made two full recipes of these bars which comprised about a third of the food I brought for a six day hike and I noted a few problems. First of all, ten one cup bars in a gallon plastic bag in a backpack grounding against each other for six days produced about half a bar worth of crumbs. My brother’s unbaked bars did get somewhat smashed, but stood up better in a backpack. Second, I got very tired of my own cooking. I think that semisweet chocolate chips and chocolate flavored protein powder was too much chocolate. It wound up tasting a bit like carbon. I think that vanilla protein powder would make it more palatable. Despite these couple of issues, one solid testament for the nutritional value of the bars is that fact that I went into Vermont’s wet, rocky, wooded hills weighing 184lbs and 90 miles and 6 days later I came out without losing an ounce.