Liquid Biscotti aka ‘Super Spackle’

Ingredients for Super Spackle

I tried a new recipe for my trip to Mt Whitney that is a calorie-dense, delicious treat that can be eaten on its own or added to other meals, like breakfast oatmeal, for a boost of energy to kick-start your day.

Unlike most people, ultralight backpackers do not eat low-calorie snacks. We’re not dieting when we’re on the trail, our bodies are being pushed hard for long periods of time so we want delicious easy to prepare snacks and meals that are packed with as many calories as possible. My goal is to pack as much nutrition and energy into the least amount of food as I can.

I was excited to read about a snack called Super Spackle in Mike Clellan’s new book “Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips: 153 amazing and inexpensive tips for extremely lightweight camping“. He likens it to his own version of Gu with a thick but runny consistency.

Illustration from Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips

Some of the ingredients were a little tricky to find, like cashew butter. I was unable to find pre-packaged cashew butter at any of my local grocery stores or natural food markets, so I used our kitchen food processor to blend a bag of unsalted roasted cashews until they turned into a thick paste – home-made cashew butter!

To make your own batch of Super Spackle at home, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 Cup unsalted almond butter
  • 1 Cup unsalted cashew butter (I make this myself)
  • ½ Cup agave syrup
  • ¼ Cup almond oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch salt

Almond Butter

Once I had gathered all of the necessary ingredients I started by measuring the almond butter and home-made cashew butter into a large glass mixing bowl.

Gu - aka: Super Spackle

Then I added all of the wet ingredients which were the two liquid extracts, agave syrup, and the almond oil.

Gu - aka: Super Spackle

Rather than use a food mixer, I used a spoon to mix all of the ingredients together until they formed a thick paste-like consistency. The final result was visually less than enticing, but it smelled absolutely fantastic! After some trepidation I mustered up the courage to try some and was surprised by what I tasted. The best way that I can describe it is liquid biscotti or a nuttier version of very strong marzipan.

Gu - aka: Super Spackle

After making the super spackle I stored it in a lightweight plastic container with an air-tight lid until I was ready to take it on my trip. It doesn’t require refrigeration.

Mike Clellan recommends carrying the super spackle in a Platypus container during a backpacking trip and employing it like a squeeze tube, so that it can be eaten without using a spoon. I decided to use a Sip’n Go collapsible bottle to carry my spackle.

Sip'n Go Water Bottle

It took less than 10 minutes to make the super spackle once I had gathered all of the ingredients. Finding some of the ingredients was the hardest part, but it is possible to improvise if necessary.

I’m a huge fan of almonds so this was a big win for me, my kids weren’t so excited about the look or the taste as I was. Next time I think I’ll blend the whole thing until it’s a little bit smoother. On a side note, my backpacking buddies (Jason and Ben) thought this looked more like something that belonged in a WAG bag than something that should be eaten as a snack. Just sayin! With the popularity of Mike’s book I wonder if anyone else has tried this or modified it?

Update with Nutritional Info:
Several of you have requested that I provide nutritional information for this recipe, so I have entered each of the ingredients (and measures) into SparkPeople.com in order to calculate the calorific values. I’m surprised it’s not as high as I thought it would be.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1847169238 Ken Jones

    Actually, it looks pretty good.  Peanut butter is a comfort food for me, so this is making my mouth water as I type this.

    I’m curious as to the calories this provides, you have that info?  Sounds a bit protein and fat heavy over complex carbs, though.

    How about blended smooth and addcrushed cashews or peanuts for a “crunchy” version?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ken, this stuff is delicious – trust me. I don’t have calorie or any other nutritional information but I know that there are websites that you can enter ingredients into and they will calculate that automagically. Fantastic suggestion, I’ll try and do that as soon as I can. Thanks.

  • sygyzy

    How much trouble did you have putting it inside the small opening of the Platypus. I imagine that was the most difficult part of the whole process.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      David, you’re spot on! That was tricky but I have two tips to share.

      1) Put the bowl of mixed ingredients into a bath of hot water and let it warm through. This makes it a little more runny.
      2) I have a large jerky gun that has a narrow round nozzle, I filled up the gun and in one foul swoop filled that Platypus in no time. If you don’t have that you can put the warmed Spackle into a clean Ziplock baggy, snip off one of the bottom corners and use it as a disposable pipping bag!

  • PaulOsborn

    I described it to my wife and she said it sounds delicious. I’ll be bookmarking this!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      LOL – if you make it be sure to let me know!

  • http://www.zoompal.com Joe D.

    That looks delish..will bookmark this for future hikes. thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ll give you five days before you break down and have to make it :-)

  • http://overlyambitiousme.wordpress.com/ Sonja

    I am definitely going to try this!  Getting it in the Platypus does sound difficult (and I imagine cleaning it later would be tough too) . . . but also very handy.  

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      See my earlier reply for tips on getting it into the Platypus easier. Cleaning it wasn’t bad at all and quite surprised me. Just be sure to use hot soapy water and it’s pretty easy.

  • Aawwff

    One word: Nutella

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Yummy!

  • Jaron Hendrix

    I don’t know what you used to get it into the bottle, but I’d suggest trying a piping bag…you can purchase one for $5 or less, and they’re made explicitly for dealing with sticky sweet cake icing already, so the spackle shouldn’t be a huge leap from there.  Seems like it’d be pretty easy to load up, then squeeze directly into the mouth of the bottle.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Exactly Jaron! Or you can use a clean Ziplock baggy and snip off a corner – instant disposable pipping bag!

  • Brett

    looks almost as revolting as my banana-mango-choclate-almond-wraps. can’t wait to try it :)

  • http://www.prepplace.blogspot.com badvoodoodaddy

    It actually looks very good and sounds even better.  I too wish you had put the calorie count and nutritional values on the post.  I have also seen squeeze tubes at some backpacking stores that have a close-able end with a slide on bar to keep it closed.  This would work excellent for this. Here is a site that has some: Coghlan’s Squeeze Tubes

  • http://twitter.com/vortex33 Vortex33

    Breakfast and backpacking for me doesn’t mix but that spackle sounds like something I could manage to eat at 6am. I wonder how it would taste with some added mini chocolate chips.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Not sure how it would be with chocolate chips, pretty good I would bet! They’d have to be tiny in order to squeeze out of the narrow mouth of the Platypus, but maybe coarsely grated chocolate would work?

      The spackle is amazing with a hot coffee! Not in it but with it :-)

  • OrganicOnno

    I’d give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  • Peter G.

    What is the net weight of the full recipe? That plus the total calories would give us the calories per gram figure, which is the best way to compare foods for caloric density.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You guys are bigger geeks than me, I love it! Let me either work it out or make a note of the total weight the next time I make it. I’m on it boss!

  • JJ_Mathes

    Brian- I bought something similar last summer in Kent CT, I can’t remember what it was called, locally made and packaged in a plastic jar, oh it had dried blueberries in it. Good stuff! The jar made it easy to spoon out and I can see the simplicity of using a small Platy, but how the heck do you clean the Platy when you’re done? That stuff is thick and gooey!

    I leave on a trip later this week, I may have to whip up a batch.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      JJ, clean up was easier than I thought. Just make sure to use hot soapy water and the stuff comes right out. Allow a little extra time for the hot water to loosen up whatever is clinging to the inside of the Platy and it will come right off.

  • JJ_Mathes

    Brian- okay I’m off to the store for spackle parts and maybe a food processor, not just for this, but I could use one, will let ya know how it all turns out.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      If you make it using the same proportions as I have listed, weigh the final product and let me know how much it makes :) Have fun!

      • JJ_Mathes

        Brian I was planning on making 1/2 amount, I’ll let you know what it weighs anyway

        okay, so I was going to make my own nut butters since I like almond so much, hence buying a food processor…but it’s back to the store tomorrow, the %#$ thing won’t power up. To keep things simple and soothe my frustration a bit I’ll buy the almond and cashew butter. 

  • JJ_Mathes

    I have gooey-goodness!  

    Brian I cut the ingredients by 1/2 and got an even 1-cup at 11.1-ozI cut back a little on the agave, so it wouldn’t be too sweet for me and for the next batch I’ll cut back a little on the vanilla extract to better suit my taste. 

  • JJ_Mathes

    okay, I’ve been playing around with this concoction, here’s my variation.

    1 cup almond butter (I used chunky for texture)
    1 cup cashew butter
    1/3 cup agave syrup (less than original)
    1/4 cup almond oil
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (less than original)
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    pinch salt
    3 packs of True Lemon <<< my addition
    1/2 cup chopped Craisins <<< my addition

    The True Lemon and Craisins add a little tartness and appeals to my taste more than the super sweet of the original. My version I think is a lot dryer/thicker then Mike C's, a preferred texture to me, not possible to squeeze out of a Platy, a utensil is required. And it's excellent on wheat crackers, bagels, flat bread, granola bars…

    I know what's going in my food bag for this weekend!  :-D

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.ratzloff James Ratzloff

    Is it just me, or is the need for high calorie food on the trail overrated?   I stick to my normal diet, which is veggies – either fresh on short trips, or dried, on longer trips.   I bring along some rice or beans to eat with them. (get some protein there).  I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I like a cookie or chocolate after dinner – my reward for a good day in the mountains.

    Talking about weight, lowering body weight can make a big difference on the trail.   I had a bad injury a month ago – a laceration to my leg (calve), requiring 28 stitches.   In the week after I got it stitched up I continued my normal activities, working in the yard, even a short hike.  My leg got swollen and hurt like heck – I got a fever from the infection.  My doctor convinced me I needed to cool it, or risk a long recovery.

    The way I limited my activity was to go on a juice fast – five days, and then two days.  I lost ten pounds, and have kept it off.

    I have worn the backpack since then, and it seems like my strength is the same – on my back and against my abdomen.  I am thrilled to no get out to be heading up with 10 less pounds this weekend.   (me and the dogs will be wearing orange).

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      James, a 28-stitch laceration sounds really freaking bad, how on earth did you manage to do that? Great to hear that you’re on the mend and lost a few pounds in the process.

      I go back and forth about the whole calorificly dense backpacking food issue to be honest. I read about this recipe in Mike’s book and got curious about making it – that’s really what happened.

      For the most part I try to carry standard foods that I would eat at home as long as they provide a reasonable amount of nutritional value (I also sneak in a cookie here and there for morale). I will dehydrate some of those ingredients to save weight and knowing that I’m going to rehydrate them later with hot water – that makes sense.

      I deliberately shy away from the pre-packaged backpacking foods because of the sodium. Are there any recipes or meals that you are particularly fond of that you’d like to share?

      • http://www.facebook.com/james.ratzloff James Ratzloff

        I was cutting a large, mostly dead tree down for a new garden.  When it started to move I ran towards my escape path.  I missed it and ran into a log with sharp edge, and went down hard.  The wierd thing was I didn’t even rip my jeans.  The whole details are here:
        http://www.naturalist.org/pages/100511.html

        I am careful in the wilderness.  Backyards can be dangerous.

        I don’t really have a recipe – just boil the rice, and saute the vegetables, then mix them together with some jalapeno seeds or garlic for seasoning.  It is awful good when you are hungry.

  • http://thehikehouse.com/sedona-trail-finder Sedona Trail hiker

    True the photo of your super spackle doesn’t seem like something from a chef’s kitchen. But I’m an adventurous foodie as well so I’m gonna take your word that it tastes better than it looks. Yeah, maybe we can tweak it a bit to suit our taste buds LOL

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You are willing to trust me? Holy smokes! Just kidding, this does taste much better than it looks and it very addictive so be prepared to stop yourself from continually going back to your stash to have “just a little bit more.”

      If you scroll down through the comments you’ll see that JJ made a half-size batch of this and tweaked the ingredients to make it slightly less sweet. So tweak away all you like, that’s why I posted this and shared it. You might at least want to make an original batch to see if you like it and then tweak to your preference from there. A half or quarter size batch is a great idea if you’re unsure.

      Please let us know how it goes and what you change if anything.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You are willing to trust me? Holy smokes! Just kidding, this does taste much better than it looks and it very addictive so be prepared to stop yourself from continually going back to your stash to have “just a little bit more.”

    If you scroll down through the comments you’ll see that JJ made a half-size batch of this and tweaked the ingredients to make it slightly less sweet. So tweak away all you like, that’s why I posted this and shared it. You might at least want to make an original batch to see if you like it and then tweak to your preference from there. A half or quarter size batch is a great idea if you’re unsure.

    Please let us know how it goes and what you change if anything.

  • http://thehikehouse.com/sedona-trail-finder Sedona Trail hiker

    True the photo of your super spackle doesn’t seem like something from a chef’s kitchen. But I’m an adventurous foodie as well so I’m gonna take your word that it tastes better than it looks. Yeah, maybe we can tweak it a bit to suit our taste buds LOL

  • Brian Sims

    For those with allergies consider local honey rather than agave to provide a little anti-histamine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HeatherDarnellNewKid Heather Darnell

    Brian, I read about a variation of this recipe some months ago on the PCT-L and have been meaning to try it. I don’t remember that it called for vanilla extract or almond extract, though. I personally can’t handle the alcohol content of standard store-bought extracts, so thought I’d better mention that it’s pretty high (up to 35%), for those who aren’t used to using them.

    I have never had trouble finding Cashew Butter, but I do frequent places like Whole Foods and Earth Fare. Other “regular” grocery store have also carried them – I’m personally fond of Maranatha brand of nut and seed butters.
    One more note – on the Nutella comment – it contains both dairy and chocolate, to which I have allergies. One thing great about this is that it has neither, and still tastes great!!

  • bekka

    Where did you buy your Sip’n Go collapsible bottle ?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I believe my wife picked it up from the local ‘Container Store’.