Happy Trails Adventure Cookies

197 comments

IMG 1170   Happy Trails Adventure Cookies

Last week was the week of the granola bar in my kitchen.

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It was also, unfortunately, the week of sticky fingers, sticky cupboards, sticky floors, sticky handles, and sticky clothing.

Actually, it still is. I should do something about that..

I’ve been testing oodles of baked and no-bake granola bars for the cookbook, working hard to get the perfect flavour, texture, and combination of healthy ingredients for each one. Granola bars are one of my all-time favourite things to bake and eat, but they can be tricky to get just right! One day, I’d like to write a cookbook devoted to granola bars, squares, and other snacks. That would be right up my alley.

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I planned this week of granola bar testing to coincide with our upcoming trip to Calgary (we leave tomorrow morning). We’re having a family reunion of sorts (Grandpa and Diane are also coming from Ontario…yay!!) so I will have lots of eager testers, most importantly my nephews. Kids are the best critics of all..they are just so honest.

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I’m just hoping the 60+ bars and two huge super soaker water guns (best aunt ever) don’t put my suitcase over the weight limit. I may be forced to eat all of the granola bars at the check-in counter (worst aunt ever). I’m willing to do whatever is necessary. That includes baking more and turning my mom’s kitchen into a sticky mess. Sorry mom.

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After last week’s granola-bar-athon, I decided it was time to move on. For now, at least. Next up: a portable hiking cookie to bring during our weekend hiking adventures.

I had a vision in mind:

1) Crispy around the edges

2) Chewy in the middle

3) Loaded with healthy ingredients

4) Fold in nuts, seeds, and dried fruit

5) A touch of chocolate, never hurts either (Enjoy Life mini chips are amazing and vegan too)

6) Props for being a bit homely looking! Ok, I added that in after the fact. ;)

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Here’s another great thing about the cookies – they are free of any added oil. The secret lies in a base of toasted pecans.

You simply toast pecans in the oven and process or chop them until they are smaller than peas, like so:

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This toasted pecan base creates a lovely “buttery” flavour without having to add a drop of oil. I’m sure you could also use walnuts here, but I love the sweetness of pecans. A mixture of the two might work well also. To round out these cookies I added dried sweetened cranberries, pepita seeds, and mini chocolate chips.

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The batter is very sticky so I had to dip my hands into a bowl of water, lightly shake them off, and then roll the dough into balls that way. Every 4 cookies or so, I re-dipped my hands into the water. This method worked really well. Be sure to pack the dough together firmly as this will help them stick together.

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After 11-12 minutes at 350F, we have a winner!

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Happy Trails Adventure Cookies

Print, Email, or Text this recipe

Yield: 13-14 cookies

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (I made my own flour in the blender using 1 cup rolled oats)*
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats*
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 scant tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed

 

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup*
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

 

Mix-ins:

  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 3 tbsp pepita seeds
  • 3-4 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)

 

1. Preheat oven to 325F and toast pecans for 8-10 minutes, watching closely. Remove and set aside to cool. Turn oven temp to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or grease with oil. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

3. In a mini processor (or by hand) process/chop the pecans into small crumbs, just smaller than the size of peas. Stir into the dry ingredients.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well until combined. The dough will be very sticky, but not to worry. Fold in the mix-ins.

5. With lightly wet hands, grab about 2 tbsp dough and shape into a ball, packing firmly. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Repeat for the rest, wetting hands every 4 cookies or so.

6. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes (I baked for 11.5 mins). Cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. When completely cooled, store in a glass jar or freeze for maximum freshness.

Note: 1) To make these gluten-free, using certified GF oats and check all other ingredients. 2) If you eat honey, you can probably use it as a sub for brown rice syrup. I do think the cookies need either brown rice syrup or honey for the cookies to hold together and retain that nice chewy texture. I don’t recommend subbing it for more maple syrup.

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Enjoy the cookies with a cold glass of almond milk or simply as fuel for all your outdoor summer adventures.

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happy trails to you!

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{ 197 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle @ Esculent Dreams June 20, 2012

These look wonderful!!!! Love the water dipping trick, I do it all the time. :) Thanks for an oil-free cookie recipe!

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Jill in Chicago June 20, 2012

YUM! These look somewhat similar to Dreena Burton’s ‘Super Charge Me’ Cookies (which I LOVE.) Can’t wait to try these, and thanks for the tip about dipping your hands in water!

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Sharon Lee June 24, 2012

I agree, these DO look delicious. I need to try them out to see if the texture hits the mark. As a side, I google your Spelt Pancakes for one recipe every couple of weeks. Why don’t I just print it out? Who knows, but I love them. I’m their biggest fan, but not in a creepy Stephen King way! Keep the recipes coming, please!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

haha that made me laugh. Glad you are enjoying them!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 20, 2012

Wow, these look great! You are the best Aunt ever – super soakers and granola bars? Awesome! Have fun in Calgary this week. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. It’s been so rainy and gross these last couple of weeks. Bring the sunshine with you, kay?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

hah I’ve had the weather report from the parents every day for the past week. I guess you never really know for sure until that day. We’ll be going from a high of 34-35C today, so I’m actually looking forward to a cooler visit.

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 20, 2012

Oh of course you have! Kevin’s Mom is the same way when we’re expected for a visit with her in Victoria. Weather reports daily! Kevin’s in Ottawa right now and says it’s pretty darn hot and humid. You’ll definitely get the cooler/dry temp while you’re visiting I’m sure of it. Safe travels :)

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Joanna June 20, 2012

Can’t wait to try these! I love trail mix anything and the fact that they can be gfree even better. I love the idea of a cookbook of just granola bars. I’m always looking for “the perfect” recipe. My only request is to include some gfree or gfree options :).

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

Glad you like the idea Joanna. Yes I would definitely include GF options and nut-free options too. The more people that can enjoy them, the better.

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Stephanie @ The Fitness Adventures June 20, 2012

Granola bar cookies? Pure genius! My husband would love some of these…I think I might have to surprise him with a batch of these. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

You are right, they are a lot like granola bars…I guess my week of granola bar baking rubbed off on them.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 20, 2012

Oooh these look like fun! I can see myself making several batches for the hikes I plan to do this summer. I hope you have a fantastic trip! I can’t wait to hear about it and I’m sure your nephews will think that whatever you bring is fantastic. You might need that super soaker to stop them from eating all your granola bars! ;)

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Sarah June 20, 2012

Yumm! Look great! Question…. Do you pat them down with the back of a spoon to make them round? Or just keep them in ball and the flatten on their own?
Can’t wait to try.
Thanks!
Sarah

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

they flatten on their own :)

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers June 20, 2012

Oh my gosh the cookies look amazing and so do the granola bars! I just love granola so much! I can’t wait to make these cookies! Thanks Angela!!

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Therese June 20, 2012

Can’t wait to try these! Also, will the elusive Glo Bar recipe be in the cookbook?

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh June 20, 2012

Oh my goodness…these look amazing! I tried grabbing one through the screen but no dice. (Weren’t we fooled into believing that could be possible by now after Mike TeeVee on Willy Wonka? I have to believe it would’ve applied to laptops/tablets as well!)

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Amelia June 20, 2012

MMMM! Deliciousness. I was looking for a cookie/ bar today that I could send my husbands grandma. She hasn’t been eating lately (but I know she loves sweets) so I want to send her something that is nutritionally dense, yet make her think it’s a cookie. PERFECT option here! Thanks Angela! :)

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elizabeth June 20, 2012

would Agave nectar sub for the brown rice syrup? These look so good! Thank you…

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Jennifer Sikes June 20, 2012

I was thinking the same thing. I have all the ingredients in my cupboard now, so when I get home from work today… these will be created!! Thanks again Angela for another tempting treat.

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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) June 20, 2012

YUMMY cookies! Get in my belly for sure!

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Susan June 20, 2012

Can Agave be a sub for Brown Rice Syrup?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

Im not sure…BRS has really great binding powers! thats why I used it in this cookie as there wasnt much to make it all stick.

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Sarah June 20, 2012

These look delicious!

I can think of the perfect cookie you need to try. The Supersonic Gypsy cookie from Bunner’s Bakery in Toronto. It’s a Gluten-Free vegan bakery in the Junction area and are the BEST baked goods I’ve ever had. GF or not! From what it sounded like you were looking for, you would love these cookies. Check it out: http://www.bunners.ca

Cheers!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) June 20, 2012

oooh, i love the pepitas in here! these sound incredible – i probably won’t even need to hike to devour them :)

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life June 20, 2012

They sound delicious – and props to you for ensuring there was some chocolate in there!

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } June 20, 2012

Ahhh I was on pins and needles after you said in your post yesterday you’d share this recipe – can’t wait to try it! As soon as the weather cools down here in Florida and we can hike again these cookies will definitely accompany us!

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Jen June 20, 2012

I would love a granola bar cookbook from you! I will definitely be trying these soon. My kids are little and super picky but they always seem to love your recipes – and I love that I know exactly what goes in their food and that it’s good for them. (They are currently obsessed with some of your carrot muffin recipes!). And as a side note I just found Enjoy Life mini chips yesterday and am SO excited that they taste so good.

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries June 20, 2012

these look awesome! i love any cookie with lots of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips involved! ;)

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Christa @ Edible Balance June 20, 2012

If you need another taste tester in Calgary, I live a stone’s throw away (literally) from The Coup :) Have a safe trip, I agree with Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit, please bring warmth with you!

These cookies are SO up my alley, they look fabulous!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

Lucky girl, I love the Coup! Not sure I will have time to get there this trip, but hopefully soon!

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K June 20, 2012

These look delicious! If they are anything like your Oh mega carrot cake cookies, I will love them!
Great bonus is that it’s all healthy ingredients!
Thank you again!!

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Madison @ Pilates Makes You Happy June 20, 2012

Well first off, these cookies look delish! Second off, you are coming to Calgary?! Any chance you want to host a seminar on “how to come up with kick ass recipes and blog entries” for your Calgary followers?!

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Christa @ Edible Balance June 20, 2012

YES YES YES!! I would be there in a heartbeat :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

you are sweet! I would love to do a meet up but not sure I will have the chance on this trip given that I’ll be with family most of the time. They are always so busy, but hopefully another time! Would love to meet you guys. :)

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Vicki June 20, 2012

Hahahahaha! I loved the “best aunt ever” and “worst aunt ever” part!!
Enjoy your trip to Calgary!!

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Jacqueline June 20, 2012

I wanna go hiking just to have an excuse to eat these!! They look so wholesome and delicious! Wish I could be a long-lost neice on your trip so I could sample all the granola bars! I’m sure your family will looovee them (and I can’t wait for your cookbook so I can make them too).

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Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition June 20, 2012

I need homemade bars like this! I get into my bar phases when I’m not eating real food- this would make it much better!

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Janae @ Bring Joy June 20, 2012

I’m going kayaking this weekend with my brother & I’ve been thinking about something compact & energy dense I could take with me. These’ll be perfect!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 20, 2012

These look like an even better version of oatmeal cookies! I love reading about your process as you think of and bake a new recipe. Great addition of pepitas, too!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 20, 2012

Those pictures of all those granola bars are making me excited for your cookbook! If any of those bars happen to be nut-free (other than almonds), I’d be happy to be a tester for you too. ;)

I hope you have a fun time in Chicago!

PS. How was the running group on Sunday morning? Sorry I couldn’t make it this week!

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Cait's Plate June 20, 2012

Yummm! These sound incredible! And I just adore those first two photos!

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 20, 2012

those look so delicious! the perfect little energy bite! and i love a good granola bar! sounds like you’ve had your fill this week! haha thanks for sharing!

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Andrea @ Vegvacious June 20, 2012

YUMMMEEEEE!!!! These cookies look wonderful!

Safe travels!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks June 20, 2012

They look and sound amazing and ironically, I was in the hunt for ‘the perfect granola bar’ about 2 weeks ago. I had so much agave, honey, rice syrup and sticky stuff everywhere but finally came upon “my” recipe and can rest happy now. Lol

That is…until I try yours. It looks awesome!

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Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness June 20, 2012

Printed the recipe and now I’m off to check the pantry for ingredients! Baking cookies! My kids are going to think we celebrating something :) Super soakers and granola bars. Cool!

Off to see if I missed a granola bar recipe or I have to wait for the book.

[Fitness, Health and Happiness]

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Shady June 20, 2012

I know you recommend brown rice syrup but I find using (*gasp*) corn syrup gives the same textures. Yes it’s bad for you but it’s much more economical and easier to find than brown rice syrup.

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf June 20, 2012

This reminds me of a “trail mix” type cookie I made a few years ago and took on a hike around our local canyon! Basically it was an oatmeal cookie recipe I vegan-ized and loaded with pecans, craisins, and a little bit of dark chocolate chips. So good!

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Vikki June 20, 2012

Hi Angela
Do you think Agave will work just as well as rice syrup ?
really looking forward to you book!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 20, 2012

Im not sure it has the same binding powers? I find the BRS does a great job at making it all stick together.

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Sharae June 27, 2012

Thanks Angela for the recipe!! I used agave and honey and it did not bind properly. It still turned out to be a good granola though!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 27, 2012

Thanks for letting me know, I’ll add that to the recipe notes. Glad it was ok for granola at least!

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mc August 12, 2012

Hi,

I am sitting here eating one of these delicious cookies right from the oven! I used honey flavoured agave syrup instead of maple syrup, and 2 tbs of honey with one heaping tbsp of peanut butter and they stuck together (and taste wonderful). I also used 1/4 cup walnuts (in place of some of the pecans) to change things up a bit. YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity June 20, 2012

These look so inviting!
I think I may use date paste instead of maple syrup (fingers crossed)
Hope you have an amazing time with the family!
Best of luck
Lisa X

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Willow June 20, 2012

It looks like those cookies turned out just how you wanted them – score! And that sounds like quite a week of granola! I need to do something similar, because I always seem to fail at making chewy granola bars… either they fall apart, or they turn rock hard. Definitely something I need to master. I look forward to any advice you might have on the matter!

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Moni Meals June 20, 2012

These are the type of cookies you could never get sick of. :) I absolutely love them Angela! I can’t wait to try em, thank you so much. Cute name too!

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