Trail Mix Cookies

Sweet, salty, and crunchy - the perfect mix-and-match cookies!  These Trail Mix Cookies are hearty and full of nuts, seeds, fruit, and grains.

Trail Mix Cookies

My baby boy started pre-school on Monday.  Let's all take a moment (mostly just me) to let that sink in...

...

Okay, but seriously – how can that be?!?!  To celebrate, we made these delicious Trail Mix Cookies together.  If that's all you came here for, then go ahead and scroll down.  But if you want to read a bit about my darling boy (even if it's just me and maybe my mom coming back to read this 10 years from now), then keep reading.

Trail Mix Cookies
Trail Mix Cookies

Oh Everett James... I am so proud!  My baby boy is still so sweet, sensitive, and without an aggressive bone in his little body.  But while he still asks for cuddles, he is also brave, silly, and clever.  It's funny, I feel like he is one of lasts ones left of all my friends' kids to go to school/daycare but he is only 2.5 years old.  I didn't start pre-school until I was 3, so who knows.  What I do know is that he is going to thrive in this program.

Everett spends a lot of time with adults so I am excited for him to truly interact with kids his own age.  Sure we go to music class and gymnastics, but this is his first time without mom or our wonderful nanny.  Being around adults all the time has made him quite mature, curious, and patient.  He looks before he leaps and likes to figure things out first instead diving right in.  I swear I can hear the wheels churning is his little brain while he tries to take in a new situation sometimes.  He gets nervous when there are too many kids around, especially when they are being rowdy.  He likes rules and order, unless I'm telling him not to do something that he really wants to do, haha.  Having a January birthday likely means he is the oldest in his new class.  I hope he learns to play hard and be a bit more free-spirited while also being a leader for those little ones that are lot younger than him.

Trail Mix Cookies

Things he's into these day:
– Cars of all kind
– Jumping off the furniture and rough-housing with dad
– Riding his balance bike
– Cooking with mom (mainly smoothies, granola, and cookies/muffins/bread)
– Books
– Learning his letters, numbers, and colors
– Riding the SkyTrain
– Swimming at Nan's house
– Singings songs (nursery rhymes and show tunes, lol)
– Beach life

Trail Mix Cookies

Okay, on to the cookies.... oh these cookies are soooo good!  I literally can't stop eating them and I don't even feel bad about it.  The recipes comes from America's Test Kitchen's latest masterpiece: The Perfect Cookie.  Perfect, indeed!

ATK really nailed this book.  Seriously.  They killed it - in a good way.  It is jam-packed with recipe after recipe for cookies, brownies, and bars – each one tested and retested until perfection.  What I absolutely LOVE about this book is that each and every recipe comes with a section called "Why This Recipe Works" which breaks down not only what the cookies should taste/look/feel like, but all the tips/tricks, techniques, and exact ingredients that went into creating the perfect recipe.  I live for this stuff!!  If you like to know the how's and why's behind your recipes, then get this book!

Trail Mix Cookies
Trail Mix Cookies

I book-marked over a dozen recipes to make, but I ultimately picked the Trail Mix Cookies because I had all of the ingredients already.  All of the ingredients that I wanted to use, that is.  I love this recipe because it is totally customizable.  The base is actually on the healthy-ish side (as far as cookies go) using only a little melted butter, whole wheat flour, and tons of oats.  The fun comes with all the add-ins.  I live for add-ins!  These hearty cookies are filled with an assortment of nuts, seeds, fruit, and a little bit of chocolate (because you can't leave out the chocolate, am I right?).  These were also fun for Everett to make because he got to scoop and toss in so many different ingredients.  In the end, we went with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (ours were salted and made the cookies perfectly salty/sweet), dried cherries, and chopped walnuts.  Feel free to mix and match your own batch with whatever you have on hand!

Trail Mix Cookies
recipe from The Perfect Cookie

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
splash almond extract (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, currants)
1/2 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
1/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, stir together the oats, flours, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, egg, vanilla, and almond (is using).  Add in the brown sugar and stir until no clumps remain. Add in the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir until just combined.  Add in the nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate.  Fold until evenly distributed.

Using a mechanical disher, scoop out balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons) and place on the lined baking sheets at least 2-inches apart.  Bake for 14 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies).  When done, the edges should be set but the center should look almost raw and undercooked.  Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Thank you the America's Test Kitchen for providing a copy of The Perfect Cookie.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.