Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Schweddy Balls by Jon Maule


I’m kind of a cheap ass on most things (except wine, beer, food, bike parts, shoes, clothes…) well you get the picture.  Aside from the financial, aspect which probably doesn’t ring true (but please let me keep thinking that way), I just don’t like eating “space food” on rides.  Who really says “damn, I’m hungry.  Give me a tube of Gu!”

I just feel better eating fun (and reasonably cheap things) like Figs, Fig Newtons and Justin’s Nut Butter in those little packages.  Mmmmmmmmmmm, Vanilla Almond butter…

Look how happy she is!  That stuff is good even if the picture is backwards.


I’m facebook friends with Jeff Kerkove, yeah I’m a big deal.  One day he had the recipe for these little things  on his Facebook page and I said to myself, THAT is exactly what I’m looking for.  I like Allen Lim’s rice cakes, tasty as all hell but those things are tempramental and I’ve found them difficult to eat on the bike.

They don’t glimmer like Pete’s but they’re darn good.  The recipe below:

No-Bake Energy Bites


  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)

  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Tips -

I found that rolling the balls in shredded coconut helps to keep these things separated if you put the in a baggie and carry them in your pocket for a couple of hours.  Also recommend using the “mini” chips as opposed to my first batch which used these HUGE chunks (they were on sale!!!).  That way you’re almost assured to get some chocolate in each bite.

Substitution -

Because I’m lazy, I don’t toast the coconut and since I don’t like Peanut Butter (for political reasons) I use Almond Butter.  Tastes great and takes maybe 5 minutes to put this together (save for shaping the balls).  I think the next batch I’ll throw some chopped walnuts for a little bit of added fat.  Also thinking about adding just a touch of Salt to help with that.  My wife suggested substituting SOME nutella in for the almond butter (really expensive) but I’m concerned that will make it too sticky and maybe too sweet.  I LOVE Nutella so it might be worth a shot.

Real World Experience!!!

I took 10 of the Schweddy balls down to Pueblo the other weekend with the plan to have one every 30-45 min.  I kept 5 in a sandwhich bag in my jersey and 5 in my camelbak (right next to my banana and Nutella sammich – YUM!).  These things were great the whole day.  They do take a bit of water to get down but maybe I made them too big (?) so probably not the best route if you only ride with bottles.  Since I’d brought more than I needed, I had a few leftover after four hours of riding.  While they were a no longer round, they held their shape and didn’t form a big Oat, honey, chocolate chip blob in the bag – maybe because of the extra layer of shredded coconut?  It was about seventy degrees farhrenheit that day so not crazy but a decent day to test drive.

The only drawback to using these as fuel is reaching back into your jersery pocket.  Some jerseys make this easier than others.  The one I was wearing that day didn’t  make it easy.

The Verdict –

I love these things as they’re easy to make, taste great and are relatively inexpensive.  I’ll keep playing with portion sizes and adding some things to make them taste even better.  I see these as a staple in my training (and racing).


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