Co-founders Brooks and Kyle at Taos Ski Valley.
The Roots of A Long Journey
The idea came to co-founders Kyle and Brooks while they were ski bumming at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico back in 2010. Childhood friends, both had moved to New Mexico after college to take time off and see how many days they could ski in one winter.
While skiing they were constantly burning calories, and always hungry. Many days Brooks says he craved something his family back in Minnesota used to make that were colloquially referred to as “Special-K bars” or “Peanut Butter Scotcharoos.” Essentially dessert bars, Brooks and Kyle wanted the same incredible taste but not all the processed ingredients they knew would fuel them for an hour, then putter out and leave them feeling awful.
In the meantime, Brooks and Kyle had also come across an ad in the local newspaper referencing a community kitchen in Taos where they could use the space and tools to cook up whatever they wanted. A healthier Scotcharoo that would fuel long days on the slopes is what they went after.
They started with the peanut butter and tasted dozens before realizing nothing hit the mark they were looking for. The samples were either too oily or just plain tasteless. Eventually they decided to grind their own.
Next, instead of using rice cereal, they landed on a healthier multi-grain medley that includes ingredients like cornmeal, buckwheat flour, and quinoa. As Brooks likes to put it, they wanted to create a flavor profile that was more complex than a regular Scotcharoo, but not so complicated that people were put off. Instead of corn syrup, which is what most Scotcharoo recipes call for, they substituted things like agave and their own butterscotch syrup.
“Ultimately, we wanted the best of all worlds,” says Brooks. “We wanted something that was absolutely delicious but also healthier. It took a lot of experimentation, but eventually we got there.”
There were plenty of priceless stories to go along with this bar, too. To keep the chocolate from melting, Kyle and Brooks had to put their ski gear back on, go into the kitchen’s walk-in freezer and cut the sheets of bars by hand.
Also, local legend has it that after the bars were being sold around Taos, a bear broke into one of the local store’s storage sheds. The bear wreaked havoc on the Taos Bakes, tearing through the entire supply, but left all the other snack bars alone. Take it for what you will, but nature chose us.
“I kid you not, that’s exactly what someone told us,” Brooks says. “We never totally verified the story, but it’s still pretty funny!”