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 }

Jilian July 29, 2012

These look delicious! I’m allergic to pecans and walnuts :( Any chance another nut could work? So excited for your book! :)

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Melissa August 1, 2012

These are tasty and satisfying. I ‘ve made these twice in the last month. I substituted Sunburst Sunflower Seeds (SSS) for the chocolate chips hoping that they were less likely to melt and be messy in outdoor activities. (SSS are found in the bulk section of Whole Foods, Spouts & HEB. They’re like teeny peanut M&Ms, but with sunflower seeds instead of peanuts.) These were great for our trip to the Texas Coast in a baggie in the ice chest, but they melted to yummy oatmeal goo if not refrigerated. Then it occurred to me: I’m in South Texas (104 degrees yesterday), and Angela is in Canada (probably not 100 degrees). The Happy Trails Cookies may just get me over the 3pm slump at work. I’ll make these again, and experiment with the mix-ins. These will be a fall/winter treat for outdoor activities. Good stuff!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 2, 2012

Hey Melissa, Thanks for letting me know about the heat factor with these! I wonder what I could modify in the recipe so they dont melt? Hmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

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Christy August 10, 2012

These are so good!,,,even my 10 year old son eats them ( and he will not eat anything healthy) thank you!:)

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Sara August 11, 2012

I added honey and and an extra tablespoon for extra binding powers. I also licked all of my fingers clean of the batter before they even hit the oven to bake;) Thank you for the delicious,heavenly,aromatic cookies!!

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Hilary August 12, 2012

Amazing! I used honey instead of brown rice syrup and mine stuck together just fine. I also used a cup of oat flour plus 2T almond flour because when I ground my oats i ended up shy the of the amount listed and the almond flour was there and already ground.

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Shannon September 7, 2012

Hi Angela,

They look divine!! I am curious to know if I could sub the brown rice syrup for Agave Nectar?

Happy Eating!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 8, 2012

Hey Shannon,

Brown rice syrup tends to bind things – and I suspect they do that in this recipe too. So I’m not too sure. I know honey would be an easy sub, but of course that depends on whether you eat it or not. If you do try it with agave, let me know!

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Alice September 12, 2012

I just made these cookies tonight and they are so delicious! Unfortunately I didn’t have pecans in the house so I used almonds instead but they still turned out fabulous. Thank you, Angela, for yet another great recipe :)

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Katie September 14, 2012

Thank uou, thank you for all your delicious gf recipes!

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Cathy September 16, 2012

Love the granola cookies! I used honey instead of the brown rice syrup. I also used my cookie scooper so I didn’t have to use my fingers. I really don’t eat sugar anymore but every once in awhile I treat myself, so these will be on the top of my lst!

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Diane Abatemarco October 7, 2012

Hi Angela! I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for a while! I am living in Hawaii for the time being, and last night I made your chia jam wih guava and then made the oat squares!! So tasty! I want to make your happy trails adventure cookies and I’m wondering if you think it will work with macadamia nuts instead of pecans?

Thanks so much for writing an awesome blog and being an everyday inspiration!

Diane

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 8, 2012

Hey Diane, Thank you so much for your kind words! So glad you enjoy the blog.
I’m sorry but Im not sure if the mac nuts would work. It might be worth a shot though! Let me know if you do try it out.

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Leauna October 21, 2012

I am making these cookies right now. They are so amazing. I added some different add in’s to mine. I add chia seeds, goji berries in place of cranberries, and unsweetened coconut. They look like a granola ball cookie. This is at the top of my list.

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Katherine November 11, 2012

These are amazing!! Even the dough is to die for :)

I added almonds, raisins and chocolate chips and used gluten-free oats. I left them in the oven for a little longer because they seemed super spongey and not quite done. But they hardened up quite a bit so the suggested time could have been just fine.

Made these with a friend who hasn’t really been exposed much vegan food. (…well, besides a horrid date to an unflavourful vegan restaurant– and this was in England, the land of bland food, so it must have been horrible! Such a shame because vegan food can play up so many fun flavours… But anyways, she was very impressed that something vegan could taste so delicious! These may have changed one mind about vegan food :) Hurray!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

I’m so glad to hear that Katherine! Thanks for the feedback. And yes I agree it’s a bit tough when determining that they are ready to come out of the oven.

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Christina December 8, 2012

I made these cookies last night using walnuts instead of pecans and (other than over-baking them), they turned out fine. I’m making my second batch tomorrow morning because I can’t stand to end on a bad note and I’m determined not to over-bake them this time. :)

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Christina December 9, 2012

The second batch turned out great! I used honey instead of maple syrup (only because I didn’t have any maple syrup) and walnuts instead of pecans. They were delicious and they had all been eaten by the night that I made them.

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Amanda January 25, 2013

Just made these for the first time tonight, and I have to say … YUMMM! I think I have a new fav cookie … I couldn’t even keep my paws off the dough! Lol

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Melanie February 18, 2013

OMG! I thought your raspberry and almond thumbprints were my favourites, but now that I’ve made these I can’t pick one favourite. Delicious, chewy, and healthy. I love that they are so nourishing, full of protein and sugar- free. (Love maple-sweetened treats.) Thank you for your delicious gluten-free options!

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Christine February 21, 2013

These are incredible! My criteria for a good cookie requires that the dough taste as good as the finished product. These exceeded my expectation. Delicious….another Oh She Glows winner!

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Shay March 8, 2013

Everyone always loves these when I make them. Great recipe!

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Eve March 9, 2013

Angela you nailed it with these cookies. They are delicious, and I love the texture. This batch won’t be making it to the trail or out of the house for that matter. My family loves them. I will have to make multiple batches next time.

Thank you for all of your delicious recipes. I have made a variety of them and have enjoyed all of them with my family. Looking forward to your cook book.

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evie April 1, 2013

I substituted non-dairy milk for the brown rice syrup and they were perfect. Thanks for this awesome recipe.

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beckyblueeyes April 3, 2013

I’ve always loved your site and I just stumbled upon it again tonight while searching for the perfect trail bar. I will have to try these! They look absolutely amazing. Great job!

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Devra April 26, 2013

Im now making my second batch. My office friends used some crazy superlatives to tell me how much they liked them. Now making them for my family. this is now my go-to treat for guests, for hostess gifts and my own house parties. Love love love them! And, by the way, reading previous posts. I don’t have brown rice syrup, I used agave. I was concerned that honey would be too sweet. Love your site. Thanks so much for making me meal selection and choices so much easier.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 28, 2013

Hey Devra, I’m so happy you enjoyed them! Thanks for letting me know about the sweetener swap :)

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Julee May 31, 2013

We love these cookies! I never have dried cranberries so I always use medjool dates instead. I process them in a food processor until they form a ball and then incorporate them into the dry ingredients. SO GOOD! I never have pecans either, so I use walnuts. I always use the honey instead of rice syrup too….hmmm I wonder if they’re the same cookie? :D

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Andrea July 2, 2013

Oh my. These cookies are soooo good! Too good in fact – I can’t stop eating them! :s

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alli june July 30, 2013

I barely pulled these out of the oven before they were GONE! My hubby and brother are demanding a another batch – better make it double this time! Soooo tasty!

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Christy September 6, 2013

This recipe is definitely my favorite cookie recipe. I probably make it more than any other recipe on your blog. :) I made these cookies once when some friends were over and they loved them. They told me that they made the recipe when they got home.

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Anna September 7, 2013

Hi! These biscuits are so so delicious! I love them!
But whenever I seem to make its a real struggle for them to stick
(I do the water hand thing too) and they don’t turn out like the look
of biscuits more so granola bunched together (but they’re still really
yum). I sub honey for brown rice syrup but I don’t know if that’s the reason why?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 8, 2013

Hey Anna, Honey isn’t as sticky as brown rice syrup, so my guess is that is why. Glad you still enjoy them though!

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Marissa December 22, 2013

Can regular flour be used instead of oat flour?

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Margaret February 4, 2014

Everyone thinks I’m a great baker because of you, Angela, and I’m trying to keep it a secret for as long as I can. The Itty Bitty Carrot Cake and Chewy Trail Mix Cookie recipes are so good that I just keep making them over and over again. But I’m determined to try a new recipe, and this one will be it. I have the ingredients on my shopping list!

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Liz February 21, 2014

Can you please point me in the direction to find the recipe for the granola bars below the top picture. Have the mini chocolate chips. Thanks!

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Kim March 31, 2014

Awesome! This is the first homemade granola bar that didn’t disintegrate with the first bite! I used Bark Thins snackable chocolate “crisps” as my add in (the blueberry agave one); I pulsed the thins in my food processor until it was a very coarse powder (cous-cous sized). I also didn’t have any rice syrup so I just used more maple syrup. OMG. So. Good. Thanks for the great recipe!

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dede May 16, 2014

These are WAY too addicting and just healthy enough. I make a variation of them almost every day! Holy moly.

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louise July 11, 2014

Just made these – they are soooo delicious!!!! Thx :)

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Jodi Kurilla July 23, 2014

I made these cookies the other day and they’re already devoured:) They are unbelievably good, the pecans really heighten the flavor, while the maple syrup is the perfect amount of sweetness and really compliments the whole cookie.

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