August 4, 2020

A la Carte: Peek in the Pantry, You Likely Have all the Ingredients for Tasty Trail Mix Cookies!

Okay, as I write this, I am home for the sixth week. 

Each day seems a little easier. I like my condo. I love my cat (although I miss my Elderlee, who died in December). I eat when I want to, which seems to be more likely twice a day. I wake up and feed the cat around 7:30, watch MSNBC for an hour (why is it that I seem to like Mika and Joe more than I used to?)

Then I go upstairs, shower, get dressed, make the bed and think about whether my meal will be breakfast-y and lunch-y. Often it is eggs and sweet peppers, onions and garlic and rye bread. Sometimes it is cereal with bananas. I think about dinner around 3 p.m. and decide whether it will be something that I should prepare or leftovers in the fridge. Sometimes it is two kosher hot dogs.

I have not been very interested in dessert, but three nights ago I read the new Bon Appetit in bed and saw a recipe for trail mix cookies. It looked really delicious and I had every single ingredient in my pantry. The cookies required little sugar and almost no flour. But I read the recipe again: you make the batter, then refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight before you make the cookies.

So it isn’t a case of make the cookies and eat them hot in 20 minutes, but they are amazing. So check out your pantry; I bet you have most of the ingredients in yours, too.

Trail Mix Cookies

From Bon Appetit, May 2020

Yield: makes 12 every large cookies

1½ cups assorted nuts and seeds
½ cup old-fashioned oats
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,
1 large egg
¼ cup dark brown sugar (although light will do fine)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup assorted dried fruit (cut into ½ inch pieces if large)
¾ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate chips, discs or chopped bars
½ cup all-purpose flour
Flaky sea salt

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Toast nuts and seeds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.

Meanwhile, mix egg, butter, brown and granulated sugars, vanilla, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Let sit until nuts and seeds are cool (this will make for a chewier cookie).

Add dried fruits and chocolate to nut mixture; toss to combine. Give egg mixture a good stir, then stir in the flour. Mix in nut mixture, smashing it against the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until combined and mix-ins evenly coated in dough. (It will look like too many mix-ins but dough will come together as it chills.) Cover and chill at least two hours and up to three days.

Reheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a 1/3 cup measure or a #16 cookie scoop, portion out dough, packing firmly, to make 12 cookies. Divide between two parchment-lined baking sheets as you go (I use my Silpat sheets.) Using a cup or your hand, press cookies into 2½” diameter disks about ¾” thick and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake cookies, rotating sheets top to bottom and from front to back, until golden brown and no longer wet looking, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.

Cookies can be made one week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Lee White

About the author: Former Old Lyme resident Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and also for the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 

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