Trail Mix Cookies

A traditional cookie reminiscent of your favorite trail mix courtesy of the addition of chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, and dried cranberries. A dash of cinnamon and a healthy dose of browned butter lend a complex, irresistible flavor. You won't be able to stop eating these!

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There are two types of trail mix-eaters in this world:
1. Those who enjoy all the trail mix in its salty, nutty, jumbled glory, and;
2. Those who eat all the chocolate pieces out of the mix and then shove it aside, a helpless heap of salted nuts and raisins, never to be touched again.

While most of my family falls into camp 2, I am squarely situated in group 1. Perhaps it's because trail mix is my hiking snack of choice, and without the healthy fats from the nuts and the quick energy from the berries, I would never make it through the tough trails? Perhaps it's because of my deep love for everything salty-sweet? Or perhaps it's because I was always stuck with the leftovers from my father and brothers' chocolate massacre, and vowed that I would never bring the same terror upon my loved ones? Yep, probably the last one.

As I was gearing up for my road trip to Nashville this past Friday (post review & Nashville food guide to come this Friday!), I knew I needed to bring some kind of baked good to keep us satiated on the 10 hour drive. Since Candice and I met on a hiking trip in Ecuador, and had been hiking together several times since, I thought it would make sense to pay homage to those instances with a cookie reminiscent of trail mix.

Mission in mind, I shipped out to Trader Joe's in search of suitable ingredients. There I stocked up on almonds and dried cranberries, but there was something missing - chocolate, of course! I scooped up the final ingredient and scurried home, excited to see how these would turn out.

And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. #nocookieleftbehind2017

Trail Mix Cookies

To make these cookies, you will need:
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 bar semisweet or dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped finely

First, preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Next, brown your butter. Heat your stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir consistently as it starts to bubble. After a few minutes, when those bubbles have subsided and amber bits have collected in the bottom of your saucepan, remove the browned butter from the heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl to cool.

While the butter is cooling, get to chopping*! You'll want to chop your chocolate up into chunks, and your almonds into fine shards. Personally, I'd rather have a big chunk of chocolate than a big chunk of almond, but to each their own!

*Baking is dangerous. Sometimes you burn the hell out of your hand on a pan of cookies (RIP my fingerprints) and sometimes you get chopped chocolate and almonds all over your photo backdrop aka tank top. Life goes on.

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Next, whisk together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Into the butter add both sugars and mix well to combine. Whisk in your egg and vanilla extract, then add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in your chocolate, cranberries, and almonds, then scoop onto your baking sheet in balls of about 2T.

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Bake for 10-11 minutes, just until the cookies are beginning to brown around the edges, then remove them from the oven. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a baking rack to cool completely (that is, if you can refrain from eating them before then!)

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These make the perfect road trip, late night, breakfast, bad day, or anytime snack. Because, fruit and nuts! Health! Who could argue with that?!

XOXO,
Jesse