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

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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 }

Laura Dickerson June 22, 2012

Do you think there would be a way to make this grain free and use a different flour? If so, what flour would you think would be equivalent – almond flour and chopped almonds instead of the oats or some chia seeds to help soak up some of the liquid like the oats would?

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em @ simplypresent June 22, 2012

I’m always on the lookout for homemade granola bars/healthier treats! Thanks! :)

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Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings June 22, 2012

Yum! These look so delicious, anything with oats in cookie form is my favorite. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

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Mara June 22, 2012

I should have known better and doubled the recipe batch cuz these were a hit all across the board! My two year old pretty much tried ramming a whole one into his mouth, haha! These are soooo scrumptious. I didn’t have cranberries so subbed for dried plump cherries. Ahmazing! I would be all over your granola cookbook. Who doesn’t love anything granola!
Have a great time in Calgary and hope all your goodies made it there too:-)

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Sam June 23, 2012

I just made these and they are delicious! Mmmmmm

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Andrea June 23, 2012

So I made these the other day and they were very good! A nice hearty and healthy cookie but still sweet. I was wondering though…mine did not spread out on their own. After 8-9 min in the oven I flattened them because they were still round. Any ideas? The only thing I changed was using honey and quick oats not rolled. Thanks for sharing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

Hey Andrea, Hmm my guess is that it was the quick oats? I think honey is usually a 1:1 sub for brown rice syrup so I cant imagine that was the issue. Im glad you enjoyed them anyways!

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Deidre December 7, 2012

I just made these tonight and had the same spreading issue, I used regular oats. Hmmm…

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Jojo June 23, 2012

yum, i love granola-esque cookies like this. i usually just throw together whatever i have. a mashed banana here, a handful of fruit and nuts there.

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Catherine @ http://agirlandhernorts.blogspot.com/ June 23, 2012

These look SOOOO good :) I am definitely making these soon! But I have one question…Can I substitute a different type of nut for the pecans??

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

you probably can…I can’t see why not :) The flavour will change of course, but most nuts are pretty darn tasty. I think walnuts would also work.

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stormy June 23, 2012

I made these this morning for hubby and my impromptu trip to the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson Mo. Amazing!!!!!! I used raw sunflower seeds instead of pepita just because i had them on hand. They kept us fueled and satisfied throughout the day…a big task when the smell of fried treats are all around you (a slight weakness of ours…funnel cake). These may become our traditional theme park snack!!!!

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Suzanne June 23, 2012

Angela,
You have changed my life. I have never cooked until I discovered your website. Your recipes are delicious and non-intimidating. I have been moving towards this plant based diet and you are an inspiration. I ran my 11th marathon as a “no meat athlete” and it was one of my best performances. I thought of you during that race and how you recognize your fears and anxiety and then move through them. You find beauty seemingly everywhere and I am trying to do the same. I just have to say thank you for enriching my life and making such yummy food!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

Hey Suzanne, Thank you so much for your lovely comment. That means so much to me! Congrats to you for all of the healthy changes you are making in your life. 11 marathons?? Wow!! What an accomplishment. So glad you are enjoying the recipes too.

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Eve June 23, 2012

I made these this afternoon with walnuts as I was out of pecans, and they turned out absolutely delicious! Next time I’m going to use pecans – they are my fav! :)

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sarah from Adelaide June 24, 2012

These were so delicious Angela! Just made them…hard to wait the 10 mins needed but so worth it! YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

Hey Sarah, So glad to hear that you enjoyed the cookies! I have some waiting for me at home in the freezer :) yum

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Viveca @ Caffeinated Contentment June 24, 2012

Sounds like heaven! You have inspired me to invest in my first REAL camera (a Nikon D3100). It’s seriously my baby – I take it everywhere! Too bad all those buttons still terrify me…automatic mode all the way…need to get a little bit more adventurous in that department. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 24, 2012

Enjoy your camera…don’t worry the manual settings will come. It took me a long time to get used to it too.

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Ali @ Project Kale June 24, 2012

These look delicious – perfect for a summer road trip :) I love that they’re oil-free and sugar-free too – can’t wait to make them! Thank you!

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Amber @ getplantfit.com June 24, 2012

These are delicious! I didn’t have the brown rice syrup on hand and I don’t eat honey, so I subbed agave nectar. They held together pretty well overall. I can’t wait to eat these this week!

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 24, 2012

Mmm these cookies look great! I love cookies with lots of add-ins, especially if there’s no oil to deal with either :)

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Taylor June 24, 2012

Made these tonight for my boot campers! They are delicious. I had to wrap them asap to keep myself from eating them up.

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Maddy June 25, 2012

Oh.my.goodness. These cookies were so fantastic! I made them the day before our whole family came in to town before leaving on a trip. I told them that I made them to have on the plane and also so I would have some vegan snacks in case there was a non veganish area :) They devoured them. My cousin had 4, then begged for more, uncle had 3, dad had 2. Put it this way…I had to stop them because I only had 2 left for the trip! Wow, what an amazing recipe. I got to have the last 2, and thank goodness! They are delicious. Chewy, full of texture, slightly sweet, and you would never know that this was a healthy oatmeal cookie.

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lindsey June 25, 2012

Made these as a post-hiking snack yesterday. even my non-vegan boyfriend (who balked at the idea of using pumpkin seeds in cookies) thought they were awesome! You’re right, the dough is sticky, but the water trick works wonders.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 27, 2012

Glad to hear that Lindsey!

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Nicole June 25, 2012

Any ideas as to how I could make these without tree nuts? They look amazing!

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Melissa June 26, 2012

Well, I made these. They look NOTHING like yours. Mine look like little piles of oatmeal and didn’t really stick together. The flavor is good, but they aren’t anything you could call cookies. I am an experience baker/cook, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a recipe fail! We were very disappointed. Did you by chance leave an ingredient out? I followed the directions exactly as written.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 27, 2012

Hey Melissa, I’m surprised to hear that. I’ve tested these cookies 3 times now and had no issues. Did you make any changes to the recipe? Also keep in mind that they need to be cooled on the sheet before touching as they are delicate.

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Melissa June 28, 2012

Nope. No changes. I left them on the pan to cool, too.

The only thing I can think of might be humidity differences. I will try again! They did taste great, but they weren’t pretty!

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alana June 26, 2012

Angela!!! I made these last night and my family (myself include) can’t stop raving about them! YUM, thanks!!

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Emily June 26, 2012

Thanks for the recipe Angela! They look yummy. I love healthy treats, and your cookies are perfect for my family cookbook.

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Stevie June 27, 2012

These are my new favorite cookies, and my husband says they are the best cookies he has ever had! Made a batch last week and last night a made a double batch :) Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!

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Kayti June 27, 2012

Is the flax seed powder necessary to bind/rise (egg replacement) or could I sub with sprouted chia powder?

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Rachel June 28, 2012

These are delicious! I just made them for a rafting trip this weekend, and my “test” cookie was amazing! Shocking they don’t have any real sugar or oil. Thanks for sharing!

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Karin June 28, 2012

I just made these cookies and I have to tell you that I LOVE them!
Thank you SO much for this recipe!
I had a happy accident with them. I was lazy and skipped the step about letting the pecans cool. I tossed them into the batter while they were still piping hot. They melted my chocolate chips enough to make the whole bowl of batter chocolatey. I’m now eating the most delicious chocolate cookies and I’ll bet even my kids will go for them like this!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 29, 2012

I too thought about letting the chips melt…glad to hear it was a success for you!

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Suzanne P June 29, 2012

I crumbled on over a bowl of sliced bananas and greek yogurt… heaven :)

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Kara June 30, 2012

These cookies are fantastic!
They made one 8 year old and one 5 year old very happy (as well as a health conscious mom).
Thank you for the recipe.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 2, 2012

So glad to hear that Kara, thanks for letting me know! Im glad the kids enjoyed them too :)

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Kim July 1, 2012

These are delicious! My husband keeps asking when I am going to make again. Did not have mini chocolate chips so chopped up regular ones.

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Allison July 2, 2012

I am just looking at your blog for the first time and I love it! I have recently become intolerant to gluten so I’m very interested in ways of avoiding it in cookie recipes. Have you tried any cookie recipes with quinoa flakes/flour? Do you suppose it would substitute well into this recipe?
I am so excited to explore all your other recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 2, 2012

I havent tried cooking with them in cookies yet. My experience is that they are much softer and mushier than rolled oats so Im really not sure how they would hold up in these cookies. Let me know if you try it!

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Karen July 2, 2012

Oh my goodness, I brought a double batch of these out to a family gathering for July long weekend and they disappeared in no time. Every time I looked over, people were sneaking them until the very last one was gone. My kids are crazy about them and asking me when I am going to make them again. The recipe is perfect just the way it is! Thank you for sharing this one with us.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 3, 2012

Hey Karen, that is great to hear!!! Thank you for letting me know. :) That makes my heart happy.

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Irina @ Chocolatea Time July 6, 2012

I made these cookies the other day and I just had to come back and say that they are INCREDIBLE!! My entire family loved them and we demolished the entire batch in an embarrassingly short amount of time :) I’ll be making these again and again!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 6, 2012

awww that makes me smile, thank you!

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Laura July 9, 2012

I made a double batch of these (that’s how much trust I have in the deliciousness of your recipes) and they were an absolute hit with all my family and friends! They gobbled them all up and had rave reviews! Thanks so much for this recipe! They were simple to make and a real crowd pleaser! This is one I will continue to use for years to come! Thanks, Angela!

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Susan July 10, 2012

these are incredible – my new favorite cookie; i will definately make these again and again and again… :)
instead of using my fingers I used a cookie scoop – just pack in the dough and push the button to release – no sticky mess

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Corinne July 11, 2012

Yum! I made a batch of these this morning and I’ll just say between the kids and I, the batch is gone.

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Rebe July 14, 2012

These “Adventure Cookies” are incredible! Just finished my first batch. They are definitely being added to my favorite recipes. Thanks for posting!

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Belinda July 15, 2012

Angela, I have just made these and I am COMPELLED to post and thank-you so much! They are AWESOME!!! Now if I can only stop eating them to be able to actually store some…. ha ha ;)

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Janna July 18, 2012

These are THE BEST cookies I’ve ever had. No joke! I made them and my family ate them all and asked for a 2nd batch! Thanks so much! mmmmm

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 19, 2012

Wow Im so happy to hear that Janna!!!

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Shannon July 24, 2012

I made these cookies for a camping/hiking trip and they were delicious! My batch yielded 10 cookies and 3-4 kind of them fell apart during baking but they still tasted delicious (good for mixing into yogurt). I think I needed a tablespoon or so more of flour. I got engaged on my trip so these cookies will always be in my memories of that weekend!

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