Jacksonholefoodie.com was proud to sponsor the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Moose Chase this year!
The Moose Chase in Jackson, Wyoming is the quintessential community nordic ski race. Yesterday at The Moose Chase, there was something for everyone on skinny skis, from the former Olympic nordic ski racer to the littlest kid.
Nick tries to focus at the starting gate of the 4th Moose Chase of his life. And he's only 10!
There was a grueling 30k nordic course, zipping up and down those notorious hills, for the hardcore skate skiers amongst us. The 15k was perfect for the more moderate recreationsists, as was the 5k Mini-Moose for the youngsters and the uber-energetic sprinters. There was even a 0.5k Mini-mini moose chase for the 6 and unders.
Mini-mini-moose chasers Nico, Natalie, and Mimi, enjoying a Moose Chase Power Bar after their 0.5 K race.
The Moose Chase even had real moose blocking the track, keeping the volunteer "moose patrol" busy trying to avert a disastrous collision between moose and racer.
Mike and Brian were working the Moose Chase this year; Mike took photos and Brian got to chase Moose.
A pre-race sword fight helps calm the race jitters for Jack and Nick.
There's free lunch by The Bunnery and The Mangy Moose, free swag by the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, and lots of community spirit.
Tammy with Libby before she starts the 15k. You've got to admire a mother of 3, (including a 2 year old) who makes time to race a 15k on the weekend!
The only thing the Moose Chase was lacking was it's own Power Bar. Wanting to do something special for my favorite nordic ski event, I tackled the challenge of making a delicious, healthy, highly quaffable power bar for the nordic racers.
The look on Jack V.'s face says it all. He is obviously thrilled to be in his first Moose Chase, skiing next to Moose Chase veteran Riley.
Thus was the inspiration for the Moose Chase Power Bar, an addictive no-bake bar packed with lots of quick-burning carbohydrates and a good dose of protein.
Chris was pumped to have finished the women's 30k...what an accomplishment! Chris was the mastermind who helped me name the bars.
Using my endurance athlete friends as Taste Testers, I was able to come up with what a good power bar should be: easily swallowed, soft, chewy, salty, a bit crispy, and nutty. It should stay soft even when the temperature is hovering around zero.
Larry liked the chewy power bar. His wife, Shannon, was featured on jacksonholefoodie not long ago. Hey, it's a small town.
Erich suggested adding bacon. Mmmm, this could be difficult.
More importantly, my Taste Testers told me what a power bar should NOT be: too sweet, too crunchy, too chewy, too chunky.
Lars, Peter and Riis were the top 3 finishers in the 5k.
My own criteria included a bar that is easy to make, with whole food ingredients, and cheaper than a store-bought power bar. And it had to include ginger. And figs. And chocolate. And almond or peanut butter.
Nick is pushing hard in the last lap of the 5k.
After 10 or so recipe versions, a kitchen covered head to toe with honey, peanut butter, agave nectar and chocolate, and many backcountry and nordic ski work-outs to test them in the field, we arrived at a formula that fit everyone's criteria (except for the bacon, sorry Erich).
Erich took 2nd in the men's 30k. He couldn't remember how many Moose Chases he's done...14? 15? 20? The old-timers often forget.
The Moose Chase Power Bar was finally ready to be handed out at the aid stations to the real Moose Chasers as they power up and down the hills of Trail Creek Nordic Center.
Getting a moose sucker at the end make's it all worthwhile for Nick.
Along the way in the test kitchen, another bar was born: The Moose Chase Apres Ski Bar. Too chocolatey and crispy for a power bar, yet tasty and chewy and decadent enough to have when the race is over.
Ellen took a break from ladling chili to sample the Moose Chase Apres Ski Bars.
The Moose Chase Apres Ski Bar is a layered bar with an oatmeal crust, a layer of rich chocolate, topped with chopped figs, crystallized ginger, and chopped almonds. Actually, you should probably refrain from getting addicted to these yummy calorie-replenishing bars unless you've burned a few thousand calories nordic skiing.
Congratulations to Jenny, the kids' nordic coach, for winning the women's 30k. This was the first Moose Chase that she wasn't working to support the other athletes.
I'd like to thank all my super-athletic friends for their input on the many versions leading up to the final Moose Chase Power Bar and Apres Ski Bar.
I'd especially like to thank Len for providing me with the recipe from his obscure cycling magazine, on which I based one of my bars. Once the power bars were finally ready for the Moose Chase, he noted that they tasted like Rice Krispie Treats for grown-ups. I like that.
Julie was running around like crazy working the race, but did stop by to enjoy a Moose Bar.
Nico was an enthusiastic Mini-mini-moose chase participant. If he skis like his Mom, he'll be a champion for sure.
Moose Chase Power Bars (above) and Moose Chase Apres Ski Bars. Like skiing, they are a healthy addiction.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Moose Chase Power Bar
I based my Moose Chase Power Bar recipe on one that appeared in VeloNews, by Caley Fritz and Nick Legan. I liked their mix and match approach to ingredients, which lets you customize the bar with your favorite stuff.
I found agave nectar to be too sweet, and preferred the flavor of good honey. If you use agave nectar, you may try reducing the amount slightly.
By using a gluten-free puffed rice cereal, I was able to offer these bars to the gluten-free nordic athletes at the Moose Chase.
Almond butter is the ultimate nut butter for these bars, but peanut butter makes them more economical.
- 1 cup peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter
- 2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 1/2 cups almonds, cashews, peanuts or walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger slices (found in bulk at Jackson Whole Grocer)
- 1/2 cup dried Mission figs
- 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups puffed brown rice cereal (I used Erewhon, a gluten-free brand)
I like to cut the stems off the mission figs. Don't ask me why, I just do.
- If you are using raw nuts, toast them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
- Place peanut butter and honey in a large saucepan, and warm until melted and bubbly, stirring until smooth. Add salt and vanilla extract.
If you use a large saucepan, you'll be able to mix it all up in the same pan.
Be generous with the salt. I used a heaping 1/4 tsp.
3. Add dried figs and crystallized ginger to a food processor, and process until finely minced.
4. Add the nuts, and continue to process until coarsely ground.
Small piece of ginger and figs are fine, but you don't want any big chunks.
5. Add the fruit/nut mixture to the honey/peanut butter mixture and mix well.
6. Add puffed rice cereal and mix well.
7. Scoop mixture onto a 9x13 inch pan lined with wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top, and firmly press down evenly. Use a rolling pin to flatten and compress the bars.
This is a double recipe. I made 4 double recipes for the Moose Chase and they all got eaten. Whew!
8. Wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
9. Remove bars from the pan by lifting the wax paper underneath. Cut into small bars, any size you like. They will keep for about a week wrapped up, or can be frozen for a few months.
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The Moose Chase Apres Ski Bar
This is a layered bar designed to replenish some of those calories expended at the Moose Chase. First, you'll bake an oatmeal crust. Then, you'll spread it with a melted chocolate layer, sprinkle it with dried fruit, and top it off with chopped almonds.
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Lyle's golden syrup
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. almond extract
- 2 1/3 cup quick (1 minute) oats (not instant)
- 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger slices (found in bulk at Jackson Whole Grocer), chopped into small pieces
- 3/4 cup dried mission figs, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and chopped into small pieces.
We are ginger lovers over here. We put it in our granola, our chocolate chip cookies, and sprinkle it on ice cream. The best crystallized ginger can be found at Jackson Whole Grocer in the bulk foods section.
Lyle's Golden Syrup can be found at most grocery stores next to the other syrups. It gives the oatmeal crust a butterscotchy caramelly flavor.
- If using raw almonds, toast them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
- Chop the figs and ginger with a sharp knife (spraying it with vegetable oil will make this job easier), or whiz them in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Make the oatmeal crust. Place the butter, brown sugar, Lyle's golden syrup and maple syrup in a saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, and stir until smooth.
- Add oats, salt, and almond extract, and stir well.
- Scoop into an 8x8 inch pan lined with foil, and sprayed with vegetable oil.
- Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 18-22 minutes, or just until starting to brown. If they brown too much, they will not be chewy.
When the edge of the crust is getting brown, take them out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool off.
7. Cool pan on a wire rack, or stick it outside for a few minutes.
8. While the crust is cooling, melt the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl for 30 second spurts, until melted and smooth.
9. Stir the chocolate vigorously with a spatula, and then spread it evenly on the still warm oatmeal crust.
10. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle chopped figs and ginger evenly over the top of the chocolate layer. Now sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
11. Place a piece of wax paper over the top, and press lightly.
12. Once completely cool, lift foil liner from the pan, and place the bars on a cutting board. Cut into small squares and enjoy!
The chopped fig and ginger pieces are sprinkled on top of the chocolate layer. They don't need to cover it completely.
The toasted, chopped almonds are the final layer. You could use any nut you like.
Wax paper works nicely to gently press the fruit and nuts into the chocolate layer. I love wax paper; it makes me feel like I'm in my Grandma's kitchen.
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