Trail Mix Cookies
Please don’t let me hold the bag of trail mix on our next hike. You’ll notice me falling behind as I attempt to munch and walk without tripping; I’ll inevitably drop crumbs, bad news for whichever ecosystem we’re in; most importantly, I’ll pick out every last nut and chocolate chip, leaving you with only the raisins. Let’s just eat Trail Mix Cookies instead.
Trail Mix Cookies are soft, chewy oatmeal cookies loaded with salty-sweet, nutty-fruity, chocolaty goodies. Trail Mix Cookies are also the best possible motivation to get me up a hill on a 90-degree day, which is exactly what I found myself doing during last week’s camping trip.
What can I say, I am motivated by food. (Raspberry Jam Corn Muffins were the only thing that pulled me out my tent the next morning.) The view of the Mississippi when we finally reached the top of the bluff was pretty rewarding too.
In addition to hiking and chowing down on s’mores, our camping trip included a less traditional form of entertainment: hatchet throwing. We were pleasantly surprised to find our campground hosting interactive demonstrations of life in Wisconsin during the Seven Year’s War, circa 1755. We learned about the fur trade, lighting a fire without matches, and tried our hand at weaponry, including (supervised) hatchet throwing.
The one member of our group who nailed the target: Lisa. You go girl. This calls for a celebratory stack of Trail Mix Cookies.
Trail Mix Cookies boast the elusive soft middle/chewy edge cookie texture we crave. A hint of cinnamon adds warmth, and a touch of whole wheat flour adds both health benefits and a lovely nuttiness that pairs well with our multitude of mix-ins.
Oh the mix-ins. We’re talking salty-sweet lovin’ till the end of time. Use your favorite store-bought trail mix, or stir in a personalized combo of dried fruits, nuts, and chips. Thanks to dark brown sugar (which adds depth and extra moisture) and one sneaky extra egg white, we can also cut down on the butter (don’t worry, it’s still in there), giving us total permission to have four cookies instead of three.
Like trail mix itself, Trail Mix Cookies are graze worthy-food. Their salty-sweetness and chewy-softness will have you sneaking back to the cookie jar for bite after bite. While you are at it, go ahead and take a swig of milk right from the jug; your secret is safe with me.
Trail Mix Cookies
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats — (not quick-cooking)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter — (softened)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg — at room temperature
- 1 large egg white — at room temperature
- 1 cup favorite trail mix — or any combo of: toasted nuts, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans—I used peanuts and almonds, baking chips (chocolate, peanut butter, M&M pieces—I used regular M&Ms), dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries—I used cherries and raisins)
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the egg, egg white, scrape down the bowl, then add vanilla and beat again, just until combined.
Change speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Add your trail mix (or nut/chip/fruit combination). Beat in the trail mix at low speed until nearly incorporated. Stop mixture and finish incorporating the trail mix by hand with a spatula.
Scoop dough by tablespoonfuls into your hands, then roll into a ball, wetting hands as needed to prevent the dough from sticking (alternatively, you can use a cookie scoop or very small ice cream scoop). Place doughballs 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9 minutes (cookies will appear underdone), then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or not).
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