baked energy: fruitcake flatbread – part 1

Well, it’s mid-February which for me means it’s time to start getting ready for the upcoming cycling season. Last year went well and I’m looking forward to 2017.

When I turned 43, I decided somewhat randomly that I wanted to do a triathlon. I’d never done a triathlon before but felt that the training would at the very least help me get healthier and because of the multiple sports – swim, bike, run – not become boring. Also, I was a little concerned that by starting to get active at an older age following a number of less than physically active years, if I didn’t mix things up I might end up getting hurt if I focused on only one activity. I eventually settled on a sprint distance which as the sport goes is the shortest member of the family. TWhat I didn’t know then is that whenever you set your mind to participating in an endurance sport, for simplicity sake let’s call that anything that lasts more than one hour, it becomes necessary to think about what you’ll need to eat if you want enough energy to keep going.

I sort of fell into the habit of eating those mass marketed, mass-produced energy products made for endurance sports. In retrospect, the brand doesn’t really matter because ultimately they are all the same: expensive and full of ingredients I certainly couldn’t name. Because getting healthier was my goal and I like to know what I’m eating, I eventually starting trying the healthy alternative versions of the mass marketed, mass-produced energy products. Quickly, I found out that while better in terms of ingredients, those options were unsurprisingly more expensive. Dilemma. Do I spend a lot of money and eat stuff I couldn’t pronounce or spend a lot more money to eat stuff that I could? I decided to try another way by making my own, shall I say small-batch, real, baked, energy food.

Which leads me to the point of this post, my latest experiment – a fruitcake flatbread. Many people laugh at the simple thought of fruitcake. But if you take the joke out of it and look at the ingredients guess what remains: dried fruits, nuts, bread and some kind of sweetener. Translating those ingredients in terms of endurance training fuel and you get this: energy, protein, energy and flat-out rocket fuel. In other words, real food ingredients that happen to be exactly what I want to eat when training for any endurance event. Not bad, huh?

The key to making this all work however is getting the delivery system right. Regular fruitcake is damp and crumbly. Not the best combination for something to eat while on the move. I know because I’ve tried. But if I could make bread with a drier exterior and not crumbly it just might work. And that is how the flatbread idea sprouted.

So, here’s the plan…I’ll take the King Arthur recipe for sourdough crackers which is just a simple dough recipe and fill it with a homemade apple jam primarily because I just happen to have a lot of apples in my refrigerator right now. Then I’ll bake the flatbread in my waffle iron using the flat side of the double-sided, nonstick plates.

I’ll let you know how this all turns out in part 2. Till then.

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