Monday 26 September 2016

Insomnia Flapjack

My flapjack now has a bit of a reputation's pretty good at keeping people going, without the sickliness of gels. One that that was missing, however, was a bit of a kick. There are a lot of caffeine gels on the market today, with varying amounts of the stimulant. I've personally found that careful use of caffeine can really help in-race recovery, and definitely gives you a bit of umph at the end of a long day.

So I did a bit of investigation into how to add caffeine into a bake. There is a lot of research out there, especially around sport, and it's nearly all positive. As a drug, it can dis fat metabolism, concentration, recovery and performance. It does have a few downsides...a bit hit of it will definitely hit your sleep patterns, and there is no "off switch", so once you've taken a dose, you're wired. I've also had a bad experience where I took a large dose (300mg) in a short period of time, and was also dehydrated...the end result being a small black-out while still pedalling (surprisingly I didn't crash, but I did come to riding through nettles about 3 metres off the track). I also needed to be wary of "hotspots", so it was important to get the caffeine mixed evenly in the bake. To this end I added it to the wet mix right at the start. I also got some super-accurate scales, to ensure the dosage was correct.

Initial results are positive...I've had 2 people "trial" it, and both had decent relative performances, and both couldn't sleep! The recipe below will give a dosage of 250mg, assuming you cut it into 16 bars. Unless you know what your tolerance to caffeine is, I would not recommend a higher hit than this. The strongest caffeine gel is 150mg, and most medical opinion is that over 400mg in a day may have undesired side-effects (for reference, the lethal dose is ~10g).

My next goal is to work on some other flavours, while keeping the low-fat/mixed sugar ratios. Chocolate and Cherry is a classic, but it would be good to have some variation.

Insomnia Flapjack - Recipe (makes 16 x 250mg bars)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160'C
  • Grease and line a 20 x 30cm tray-bake tin (for nice, even bars, try and find a sharp cornered one)


  • 4g 100% caffeine powder (this can be bought very careful weighing it out)
  • 50g un-salted butter
  • 150g ripe banana
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 150g fructose sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 200g condensed milk
  • ½tsp almond essence
  • 5g salt
  • 400g porridge oats
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g dried cherries
  • 100g dark chocolate chips

1) Mash the bananas in a large saucepan (large enough to fit all the ingredients)

2) Add the syrup, sugars, salt and butter

3) place over a low heat, and stir until the butter and sugar has melted

4) Add the caffeine, and stir in thoroughly (you do not want any hotspots)

5) Remove from the heat, and stir in the condensed milk and almond essence

6) Add the beaten egg, and stir in

7) Add the flaked almonds and oats, and mix thoroughly, ensuring there are no dry pockets left

8) Stir in the cherries and chocolate drops, making sure they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture

9) Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, and level it across the surface (the neater you can do this, the better your bars will look)

10) Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes, until the top is golden

11) remove from the oven, and leave to cool completely in the tin.Then place it in the fridge overnight (this makes cutting easier)

12) For 16 bars, chop into rectangles 10cm x 3.75cm

13) Wrap each one in foil, and store in the fridge until needed

Here's the nutrition breakdown from the original post. Each bar is about 3 blocks from this recipe.