Having tried corn pasta and finding it uniquely awful no matter how it was cooked and seasoned, I was in a dilemma. It's bad enough I've never read Jardine's book, but here I was also bagging on his sacred "super fuel" as totally inedible. What's an ultralight freak to do? Constantly hearing of the Mystical Powers of corn pasta, I felt left out. So I decided there had to be another way....
My goal was simple - to make a tasty, compact, efficient, and inexpensive snack food that packed a whallop of energy and would last well on the trail. I saw a lot of recipes on the Web, but to my barbaric senses they were all too complicated. I'm a lazy cook at heart. Anything with more than four ingredients better involve candles and a waiter named Jean-Luc. :-) What I ended up with is so simple, basic and tasty that even a restless kid could make it and like it!
Please note again that I am not a nutritionist! I just eyeballed my goals for ease, portability, calories, simple- and complex carbs, protein, etc. I then tried to fit that to what tastes good to me. The results: A mixture of honey, corn flour and peanut butter. That's it! For me at least, it's turned out to be a perfect, palatable mixture that supplies a good dose of "oomph". (Moose Goo and Cream of Rice were the core of what fueled me on my 60+ mile day from Rae Lakes to Lone Pine at the end of my JMT trek.)
One food tube supplies me with enough of the Goo to spread on my lunch tortillas for three days, two days if I'm really woofing the calories. Has a good shelf life too. One batch sat in my resupply box for several weeks, finished the JMT with me, and was still good after I got back home. Honey doesn't spoil! Guess the preservatives and stabilizers in the peanut butter help too.
NOTE: If you pass this around to your friends, I have but one request - please refer to it as "Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo". Since I run this site anonymously, it's not an ego thing. I just get a kick out of hearing it mentioned on the trail, let's me know I'm contributing to my fellow trekkers. A simple pleasure, perhaps, but I take what I can get. :-) Thanks!Basic Recipe:
BEWARE! Below 40F, Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo becomes impossible to squeeze out! I open the tube from the back and spoon it out when that happens. For snow camping I pack it in wax paper instead, eat it like a candy bar, or pre-pack it into tortillas.
Sandpiper (aka Amy) was mousing around with a batch of her Moose Goo variation one day and wondered what would happen if she tried baking some like cookies. The result? Mookies! To honor her creation, I ask everyone to pass the recipe along as "Sandpiper's Mookies". Thanks!
Ok, I have a breakthrough!!! A couple of weeks ago I had a Christmas Cookie Baking Party. Paula (Ten Toes/Cheerio) came and we were talking about her hike, and food, etcera, and late in the evening talk came around to Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo, which she hadn't tried. I mentioned that I had wanted to try baking it but never had any left when I was baking... but then I realized I actually had some left from my last trip!!! I took a little bit (my version, with the soy milk powder in it, plus a little extra honey) and baked it. Now we have a Mookie (Moose gOO cooKIE): great little cookie, no more frozen-solid Goo on cold trips. :-) Paula liked the cookie better than the goo even, since she's not used to the taste of soy.
1 tube -
As percent of calories -
That's pretty good, but it seemed a little low on protein, so I added 1/4 cup Better Than Milk soymilk powder (original light) and upped the protein to closer to 10% with little weight gain. (Calculations available if desired.)
For the baking part, form into balls by the tablespoon (balls are approx 1 inch in diameter). Place on unoiled baking sheet and flatten to ~1/4 inch thick with the bottom of a plastic cup dipped gently in corn flour - shake off the excess flour, and if any gets left behind on a Mookie, gently brush it off with a pastry brush. Bake at 350* for 8 - 10 minutes, or until light golden. Do not overbake! The easiest way to tell that they're done is to watch when the "sheen" disappears from the surface and it looks dry. If you've ever made crepes you know what I mean. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 - 10 minutes before attempting to move them to a cooling rack - they're very soft when they come out but do firm up. Two tubes' worth (starting with 1 cup of honey) makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen Mookies."
I'll be experimenting more some time after New Year's, to see what the baking time would be if, for example, I made them as larger drop cookies or bars (might be easier to pack?). I also want to add chopped dried cherries because I find the tartness enhances the flavor. Update: I made Cherry Mookies and Chocolate Chip Mookies last night, using ~3/4 cup chopped dried cherries and 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips respectively.
Ultralight Joe's Note: Sandpiper's right about the "don't overcook" part. I just turned a batch of original-recipe moose goo into Mookies (without soy milk powder or extra honey) and if the edges are getting dark, you've just created carmelized cajun pan-blackened edges surrouding your Mookie. Pre-squishing the moose goo balls (as directed) evens the thickness, which helps prevent this. (Sandpiper emailed me to suggest I try those Airbake cookie sheets as well. Thanks!) Pretty tasty! I can see where Sandpiper's extra honey and extra flour/powder of some form helps it. I'll bring a few dozen on my next snow camping trip and experiment!
Rosaleen was inspired by Moose Goo but wasn't happy with the texture. A few experiments in the kitchen and a few mutations later, her Bullwinkle Bars were born. As with Sandpiper's Mookies, please give Rosaleen's Bullwinkle Bars their proper title if you pass this around. Everyone deserves their 15 minutes of fame. :-)
For grins, I made up three small batches of B.-bars this weekend, the jam bars about midnight last night. The last batch firmed up with cooling, but could be stiffer. My oldest son tried out the first two- honey/molasses and "maple syrup" versions and gave his approval. He noted the "peanut-butter-stuck-to-the-roof-of-the-milk-gotta-have-milk" sensation didn't happen. My husband likes these instead of power bars for archery competitions. The carb-protein-fat combination gives a slow energy release instead of a quick high then crash. Except for commercial pancake syrup or commercial jam versions, these bars are low in artificial anything. If made up in advance of an adventure, maybe freezing would be a good idea.
Heating the peanut butter and syrup(s) make the mixing process easier. Once thoroughly combined, turn out onto a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap and use the wrap to help form into a log, slice to desired sizes while still warm to avoid excessive crumbling. Depending on the dryness of the weather, and of the ingredients, and depending on how many options are added, a little more of the peanut butter or syrup may be needed.Nutritional Info per batch (w/o raisins):
Variations - Substitute pancake (maple) syrup for the honey and molasses equivalent amount. Try kneading in dried grated carrots, chocolate shavings, dried fruit bits or coconut, or rolling in these or more soy grits. Mix in Ovaltine (Chocolate or Chocolate Malted Moose) with the dry ingredients, increasing the peanut butter. Try dipping the bars in chocolate shell sauce. Substitute a favorite jam or jelly for the syrups, adjusting other ingredients, as needed. (Strawberry Moose?)
Maple flavored, using pancake syrup in place of the honey and molasses, reduces calories in the batch by 128 calories, protein and fat stay the same. Not all the labels had complete listings, and the USDA nutritional values posting no longer lists percentages of daily values. This mix looks to me to be high in fat (but not saturated) and carbs, good for proteins, some minerals, notably calcium & potassium, some vitamin E, some B vits. and other good "stuff". It's not too bad in the sodium, if plain ground peanuts are used. Iron looked low, and vit. C almost doesn't count in this. Long haul hikers maybe should be looking at supplements, anyway. Hope you enjoy this!
From Bryan: " I have used your Moose goo for a couple long distance weekend trips (55,40 miles) and find it to provide great energy. I used the powdered milk version but found it to be gritty in texture. I switched to mixing in kamut flour that was finely milled and it was great. I could not taste or feel the flour yet, the energy was still there. I usually use this for lunch but this weekend went stoveless and it was lunch and dinner. I put this on an arabic pita type bread and loved it. Thanks for the ideas. "
From Andrew: " Living in the Southwest, you may not realize that Corn Flour is not readily available in "Yankee" territory. It can be tough to find from the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic area, throughout the Great Lakes area. Many grocerers insist that Corn Meal is the same thing (we both know that this is not the case). In light of this, I recommend Bob's Red Mill. You can get all kinds of ground goods, including Corn Flour, all sorts of multi-grain, just-add-water, hot cereals, and granola. Check it out! "
(Ultralight Joe's Note: Turns out Sandpiper has used these guys too, and agrees with Andrew that they're great. She also points out that sometimes you can find corn flour by its Spanish name - "masa harina" in the Latino/Hispanic section of your local store.)
Andrew continues, " Also, when mixing "Moose Goo", I've found that using a plastic, "tupperware" type bowl, as opposed to a glass bowl, is preferred. The reason is that, as the "Moose Goo" gets to a "finished" stage, it coagulates together, leaving no trace on the plastic dish. With a glass bowl, there are leftovers everywhere and cleaning that sticky mess is a pain. You know the "Moose Goo" is done when you can lift your spoon out of the plastic bowl and you take all the "Goo" along, leaving a spotless bowl. "
My old friend Marc sent some email my way after reading this. Seems his family used to munch on something very similar when he was a kidlette, but instead of corn flour, they used dried milk. K.H. and others have also kept the Moose Goo suggestions pouring in. Adding chocolate powder, maple butter (spoilage problem?), powdered eggs, powdered eggnog, rice flour, nuts, dried fruit, you name it.
Tell you what - If you actually make a Moose Goo variant and like it (note that critical distinction ;-) ), send me your notes and I'll post it here with full credit to you!