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Entries in cycling (2)

Wednesday
Oct032012

Power Pizzelle

I'd like to start this post by talking about waffles. I do enjoy a good waffle, don't you? I recently took part in the NJ Gran Fondo - a 63 mile bike "tour" with timed hill climbs. It was awesome. And one of the best things about this race were the rest stops. See, unlike triathlon, bike tours have rest stops. These are designated areas where cyclists can refill on their calories and hydration, visit the port-a-loo, and mill about. It's comparatively civilized. 

The NJ Gran Fondo had some excellently catered rest stops. They featured waffles. Two different kinds of waffles, in fact. When my fellow riders and I figured this out, we began making up excuses to stop at all the rest areas.

"I have a flat."

"I have to pee."

"I need...um...water."

And finally, "Oh let's just pull over, I want a waffle."

Finally, my teammate Luke decided that it wasn't about who crossed the finish line first, but who crossed the finish line with the most waffles.

So we began shoving them into the pockets of our biking jerseys, and stuffing them into our bento boxes. It was quite obscene. Especially since there was a hot dog and hamburger bbq at the finish line.

But we wanted waffles, so waffles we had! And how.

How many?

I really have no idea. I brought some home. And this got me to thinking....about making my own. Now, I can easily do this, but I wanted to make something more streamlined...more AERODYNAMIC. I mean, we ARE cyclists.

I thought of the Belgian stroopwafel, which is essentially a sweetened, smashed waffle that looks like a cookie – the brand Honey Stinger even makes one specifically for athletes.

But I wanted something....Italian. And then it came to me: THE PIZZELLE! Pizzelle are traditional Italian cookies that look exactly like stroopwafels. Pizzelle are not overly sweet, but are more similar to a waffle cone. 

I've made traditional pizzelle before. My family makes them every year at Christmas time. But I wanted to make a POWER Pizzelle. Something to get me up the hills of numerous Gran Fondos. And back down again.

So I tinkered with the ingredients. And made them better. I even made them gluten-free. Imagine that.

These Power Pizzelle are small and can be easily tucked into cycling jerseys or bento boxes. They're crisp, but also thick, so they don't fall apart or crumble when you bite into them or break off pieces. 

What follows is a recipe for a pizzelle that's packed with good energy. Perfect for cycling, or a quick bite between multiple workouts. Here's how to do it:

Ingredients:

Makes 24 Pizzelle

1 cup almond flour

1 cup millet or brown rice flour

1/4 sugar in the raw

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons butter - melted and cooled

1 1/2 Tablespoons Chia seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1 Tablespoon anise seeds

 

Equipement: 1 pizzelle chef 

Process:

Crack the 2 eggs into a large bowl.

Using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat until the mixture foams up and the sugar is incorporated into the eggs.

 

Add the butter (melted and cooled so it doesn't scramble the eggs) and continue mixing.

 

Add the Chia seeds, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and anise seeds (if you're using them). Mix to combine.

 

Now add in the flours, 1/2 cup at a time. If you would like to use more or less of a certain flour, that's fine, just make sure that you total 2 cups of flour. Mix until a dough forms. 

 

Your dough should be slightly sticky, but you should be easily able to roll it into small balls without it sticking to your fingers. If the dough is too moist, add more flour, 1/8 of a cup at a time.

 

Heat up your pizzelle iron and form the dough into small balls, slightly smaller than golf ball sized. You can play with what size suits you best (based on what size your pockets are!).

 

Press the dough balls into the forms on the interior of the iron, like you're making waffles. The iron will beep when your cookies are finished (they take about a minute to cook). Remove them carefully (I like to use a spatula) and place them flat on a plate to cool.

 

Store in plastic bags for weeks. Seriously.

Photo taken by Luke TuddenhamIncidentally, I placed 1st overall female for the 63 mile ride. I credit the waffles completely.

Thursday
Sep202012

Bike To The Orchards For Donuts

It's officially the off season for triathlon. At least for me, it is. I've thrown in the towel on racing until the spring. So what do I do now, gorge myself on donuts? 

The answer to this question is yes.

But let's not get crazy. The weather is pure perfect autum – clear blue skies and excellent for biking. And I have a brand new roadie named Sheena (the punkrocker). Sheena enjoys long rides, especially when they end in donuts. We get along famously.

So my "training plan" for the fall involves biking around for food. This past Sunday it was to The Orchards, a farm stand and orchard in Concklin, NY.

It's a 40 mile ride to The Orchards from New York City, so round trip makes it a cool 80 (ish) miles. I figure this ride earns me a donut (or two).

I was told The Orchards had good cider donuts. But were they good enough to bike 80 miles for?

Yes. Yes, they were.

My only regret is that I did not purchase more of them and stuff them into all the pockets of my biking jersey.

They were somewhere between mini and full-sized. A perfect overgrown snack-size. They were moist, encased in a browned shell that was generously sprinkles with large granules of sugar for a sweet crunch. The insides were speckled with fall spices – cinnamon and nutmeg if I'm correct.

I devoured one and then sized up the second. I ate half of it and then casually asked one of my co-riders, "How long until we have to climb a hill on the way back?" Too soon, apparently, so I packed the remaining half in my bike pouch. I ate this half later in the ride when I needed a little extra energy.

I HIGHLY recommend getting yourself by bike or by car to The Orchards. Their market is stuffed with other baked goods if donuts aren't your thing (they are though, aren't they??): pies, an assortment of cookies, butters (like apple and pear), jams and cinnamon buns!

I'm going back with a backpack. And skipping all the hills on the way back.