Trail Mix Cookies

So umm..really winter?

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This is how it’s gonna be? Look, I understand that winter is supposed to be cold and snowy. But, I mean, REALLY?! Just stop. I can only take so much. I’m so over winter that I don’t even care if I don’t get another snow day from work. I’ll gladly work my usual 5 days a week if that means spring and warmer weather is coming. I’m throwing my white flag into the pile of white snow and forfeiting.

Oh, and take your “polar vortex” and shove it.

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These cold, snowy, wintry days have me looking forward to the warmer spring and summer weather. Where we all can all enjoy the outdoors and nature with long walks and hikes and truly embrace the end of winter. I actually am a big fan of hiking. I like that feeling of being connected with nature. I like how being surrounded by trees and hills and mountains can make me feel so small. I like being reminded that there is a big, big world out there. It’s very peaceful and I love taking a time out from my hectic life and just chilling out for a couple hours.

Being outdoors is also a great way to get exercise without the monotony of running on a treadmill. Seriously, I hate working out at a gym. My brand new gym membership? Poor thing. I’ve been paying each and every month, and barely (and I mean barely) use it. It’s just that I get so bored running on a treadmill. I literally can have a TV on while listening to my iPod and I still can’t fight my way through it. I’d much rather be walking outside. There are a lot more things to focus on than the mile counter on the treadmill.

And if I’m being completely honest, the people watching is great. It’s like my all-time favorite past-time. And, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m GREAT at it. Can I sometimes be borderline creepy with it? Sure. Sometimes. But I take pride in my creepiness. People are so fascinating!! 

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Anywho, while I do love enjoying nature and going on the occasional hike, the truth is, I don’t really hike very often. It’s hard to go on many hikes while living in a metropolitan area. But if the opportunity presents itself, I’m totally game.

But if we’re being completely honest here, another thing I really love about hiking is what people EAT while hiking. Because, as usual, it’s all about the food for me. Trail mix, granola, granola bars, dried fruits, nuts, and the occasional handful of chocolate. Some of my favorite snackies! I’d climb Mt. Everest if that meant I could munch on that the whole time.

And that’s exactly what these cookies are all about. All those great hiking snacks in one cookie! In this jam-packed cookie, we have oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, raisins, and chocolate. All wonderful energizing snacks that, will not only help give you the energy to push through your hike, but taste great in cookie form.

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I love the texture of these cookies. The chewyness from the oats, the crunch of the walnuts and sunflower seeds, as well as the softness of the raisins and dried cherries. Perfection. I love a chewy cookie, and while the are somewhat on the thin side (to me), don’t let that fool you. There is chewyness for DAYS. And the flavor combinations?! UGH. Delish. Sweet, salty, tart.

The one thing I would do differently next time? Chill the dough. I like chilling cookie dough because it keeps cookies from spreading out and keeps them nice and thick. Chilling the dough also lets the ingredients meld together, allowing the cookie to really develop its flavors. While this cookie was completely chewy, I would have preferred it a little thicker. So next time? I’m chilling the dough. I usually chill my cookie dough overnight, but if you’re in a rush, 1-2 hours will work as well.

I sent these cookies with my boyfriend for him to bring to work. By 11:00am they were all gone. I think that speaks for itself 🙂

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And while it may not be proper weather to go for a nice hike, you all still deserve these cookies. Because climbing these giant piles of snow is pretty much the same thing. It’s hiking. Winter style.

*****

TRAIL MIX COOKIES

(Recipe by: Annie’s Eats)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; whisk to blend, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Blend in the egg.  Mix in the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
  6. Stir in the oats until evenly combined.
  7. Use a spatula to fold in the raisins, cherries, walnuts, chocolate and sunflower seeds, mixing just until evenly incorporated.
  8. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least a couple of inches apart.
  9. Bake  until golden brown and just set, about 10-12 minutes total.
  10. Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.
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