You guys, I’m not the fittest person in the country, or in the state of Illinois, or in Chicago, or even (literally) in the room in which I am currently sitting. So I was real proud of myself when I ran a mini-triathlon at the end of the summer.
I definitely appreciated the little sugar rush from the Clif Shot Bloks that I picked up at the triathlon exhibition fest beforehand. I’d tried them before at the student gym where Gatorade was giving out their version of these energy chews. So I thought I’d try to make them myself after some googling. This used up the end of my chia seeds. I made that chia seed pudding maybe four or five times in the course of two weeks. I really really liked it.
I also had to buy a candy thermometer to make these, which was so fun to use. This was made with all things that were already in my house, since I’d gone to the Asian supermarket the week before and had randomly picked up a packet of agar. I think plain gelatin would also work; as is these chews are vegan.
First, boil some chia seeds in frozen concentrated OJ- I think you could use any juice, and the recipe I used called for pineapple but OJ was what I had. I also had to defrost the concentrate for like 5 minutes so I could spoon it out.
You boil those two together until they get thick (really just bring them to a boil, stir a few times, and take it off). Toss that in the fridge while you do the next part.
Mix together the “electrolyte mix.” The recipe said to use low-sodium salt (KCl instead of NaCl) but I just used regular salt. Probably if you’re a super serious athlete you’ll want the potassium over the sodium but I don’t know why.
Open a can of coconut milk, measure out the sugar-honey-water-agar agar/gelatin into a pot. Put cool water in a stockpot in the sink, but don’t fill it up: maybe 1/2 way or so- you’ll want to put the honey-sugar-water pot into it without spilling cool water into the smaller pot. Then grease a little loaf pan if you’re doing a half batch like I did, or an 8×8 square baking pan if you’re doing the full batch. By now the orange-chia should be cooled enough to toss in the coconut milk and stir it:
Then comes the fun part: making candy! Boil that sugar-honey stuff and stir constantly, until the candy thermometer hits 230 (my “230” was under the plastic part so I ended up hitting 250, no biggie). The recipe says it’ll take 20-25 minutes but it only took me about 5 for the half-sized batch I made.
Once this hits that temperature, throw the pot into the cool water stockpot (don’t get cold water into your candy), and stir in the OJ mix we set aside earlier until it’s well mixed.
Then pour into your prepared greased pan(s) and throw in the fridge for a few hours. When cool, cut into squares.
I like to grab one or two before heading to the gym or in the middle of a long workout. Also making these yourself is both more fun and more cost-effective than buying. Some people suggest dusting with cornstarch so they don’t stick together, but once cool they’re totally fine.
Chia energy chews, adapted/mostly copied from Midpack Runner. I did a half batch of this and got about 18 little chews.
1 cup frozen concentrated orange juice
1/3 cup (2 oz) chia seed
¼ cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1½ cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 cup honey/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
1 cup water
2 TB powdered agar-agar (kanten)/gelatin
- Boil the OJ and chia seeds together, let boil for a minute. Then put into the fridge. Grease a 8″x8″ baking dish or two loaf pans (use veggie oil).
- Mix the salt and baking soda well, mix with the coconut milk. Mix this with the OJ-chia once cool. Also, fill a large stockpot about halfway with cool water.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together in a smaller pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it hits 230°. I don’t know how to do this without a candy thermometer.
- Once the sugar mixture reaches 230°, remove it from the heat and place the saucepan into the big stockpot filled with cool water- don’t get the cool water into the candy! Stir in the OJ-chia mix.
- Pour the gel mix into the greased dish, and let it stand for a few hours (I threw mine into the fridge because why not?) Cut the gel into 1″ squares, and store in tupperwares. You can dust with cornstarch if you want, but I didn’t have a problem with stickiness.