Whole wheat trail mix cookies for hitting the road (or the skies)
Food is always a big part of our travel plans. Both in the way of food tourism – whenever we talk about travel or places we want to go, one of the first questions is what will we eat there? – and in that food is always a big part of planning the logistics for our trips. I really can’t go more than a couple of hours without eating something, which makes traveling a little difficult sometimes unless we do some advance planning. I’m definitely a little hypoglycemic, and that leads to migraines, and everything just goes downhill from there. One minute I’ll be fine, and five minutes later it can feel like if I don’t find food soon I might have some sort of breakdown (this sounds dramatic, but … well … you can ask Brett).
But I’m a pretty good planner, and if you’ve spent much time with me you know that it’s rare for me to be without food on my person in some form or another. I’m the one you can count on to have a granola bar in my purse, or a baggie full of cookies, or a bit of fruit salad in a tupperware container (I love these, since they’re recycled plastic and it’s virtually impossible for them to leak or come undone in my bag). I can’t remember the last time I got on a plane without at least one meal packed into my carryon.
All of this will be a little more complicated on this trip. We have to carry everything on our backs, which limits capacity, and we’re not sure what kind of snack items we’ll be able to get easily on the road. Our trip will be stressful enough without my stomach turning me into a crazy maniac, so I’m bringing a kind of travel food kit – one of those Preserve containers, a half-dozen ziploc bags, a set of travel silverware, and a half-dozen of my favorite energy bars. And a dozen or so of these cookies.
They certainly won’t last four months, but they’ll give us a good source of energy and a good taste of home for at least the first week or so. I packed them with hearty, toasty whole wheat flour, pumpkin seeds, chunks of dark chocolate, and raisins, and the beauty of this cookie is that you can put in whatever sort of trail mix-appropriate bits and pieces you have around your kitchen. I love the whole wheat flour here because it lends toasty oatmeal-like flavor and a great, hearty chew. It also means the flavor develops with time, and the ones I ate the next day were more sophisticated and nuanced than they were when fresher. We stashed half the batch in the freezer to bring with us, and I think they might be even better that way.
Not sure when I’ll be posting here again – hopefully something about the food in Buenos Aires, or the wine in Mendoza, or the seafood we’ll get on the coast of Chile. And there’s a salsa recipe Brett’s been writing about and that I will hopefully post in the next few weeks. Until then, stay tuned to our travel blog – hopefully we’ll be posting every week or so, and the plan is to write up our packing list sometime tomorrow before we leave.
Whole wheat trail mix cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, roughly chopped into cubes
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (light brown will work as well)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups additions – here I used 1 cup each dark chocolate chunks, raisins, and pumpkin seeds, but you can come up with your own favorite combinations of seeds, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips. Larger additions (e.g. dried apricots) should be roughly chopped before adding.
- Flaky finishing salt, such as Maldon (optional)
– Preheat oven and prepare baking sheets: Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
– Combine dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
– Combine wet ingredients and add dry: Mix together the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed, for about 2 minutes or until combined (a handheld electric mixer or a wooden spoon would also work for this and all remaining steps). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each until well integrated. Add in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture until just incorporated.
– Add the fun stuff: Add the chocolate chips, raisins, and pumpkin seeds, and mix on low until well integrated. Before scooping dough onto baking sheets, turn the dough around with your hands to make sure it’s all integrated, with no floury bits remaining at the bottom of the bowl.
– Bake the cookies: Scoop mounds of dough about 3 Tbsp. each onto baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Try to keep the mounds piled high, since that will help to keep the cookies thick and chewy. Before putting the cookies in the oven, sprinkle a bit of flaky finishing salt on top of each, if using. Bake cookies 16-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are evenly golden brown on top. They may still be a bit soft, but cool them on the parchment on top of wire racks.