Got extra trail mix? Want to make cookies? Then you’ve got a done deal. It occurred to me that trail mix is the perfect cookie ingredient: you get a whole handful of dried fruit and nuts and seeds at once (and it’s more cost-effective to buy a single bag of trail mix than several bags of straight fruit, nuts, and/or seeds), the dried fruit in the mix is the perfect natural sweetener for cookies, and you can use the extra trail mix as…well…trail mix.
I actually got the idea to include trail mix in my cookies a few weeks ago when I got back from PanamÃ¡ and still had half a bag of mix to spare. (The first half was eaten during the three hours we spent on the tarmac in Panama City, the ensuing four-hour flight to Atlanta, the five hours I spent waiting for the next flight because I’d missed the first two connections, and then the final two-hour flight to Detroit. But that’s another story…) My mix happened to have macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, almonds, and ginger, but you could use any mix you’d like. Just try to find one that contains unsugared dried fruit – most dried fruit is plenty sweet enough on its own. Read through the ingredient list to see if the fruit is sugared or not. (You’ll see words like “sugar” and “syrup” in the parentheses following the individual types of fruit.)
Trail Mix Cookies
This is a gluten-free recipe, but if you’d rather make a wheat-based one, substitute whole wheat flour for the gluten-free flours.
1/2 cup brown rice flour*
1/2 amaranth OR millet flour*
1/2 cup teff flour*
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sucanat, depending on how sweet you like your cookies (note that sucanat or SUgar CAne NATural is unrefined cane sugar and can be found in Whole Foods and most whole-food/health-oriented grocery stores)
1 stick butter (8 T.), softened, preferably from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold and Organic Valley are good choices)
1 egg, preferably from pastured hens
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups trail mix**
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Either lightly grease 2 baking sheets or cover them with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sucanat and butter together for 2 minutes or until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Beat in egg and vanilla until well-combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. If the dough gets too thick for your beaters, stir in the rest by hand. (If you’re using whole-wheat flour, stir in all of the flour mixture – beating it in will cause gluten to form and will make the cookies tough.) Stir in trail mix.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out little balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1â€³ apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. If you like, you can roll the hot-out-of-the-oven cookies in additional sucanat to give them an sweeter, crunchier exterior.
* If you’d rather make whole-wheat cookies, substitute 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour for the gluten-free flours.
** Trail mix with lots of dried fruit is sweeter than mix that is primarily nuts and seeds. If you’re using a less-sweet mix, you may want to use 3/4 to 1 cup of sucanat.