Trail Mix Oatmeal Cookies

by Alexandra

I like to experiment with different nuts and dried fruits to make some funky trail mixes that have a butt-load of diversity. The other day I made one that had pecans, pine nuts, coconut, dried pineapple, Craisins, and semisweet chocolate chips. After one bite, it was sheer OHMIGOSH-ness in my mouth and flavor exploded…everywhere. It was a…pina colada…NO! Chocolate covered cranberry goodness…NO! double-pine apple-nut (lol)…NO! I don’t know what it was. But it was fantastic. And then it hit me…This would be amazing in a cookie!

And so I made cookies! YUM! Dough-y!

Freshly baked cookie- y! And healthy too! (well, as healthy as you can get with a cookie) And they only have 85 calories each.

To make cookies healthier, the idea is NOT to cut out the fat and replace it with applesauce. This yields cookies that bounce and taste like rubber. Use oil! Hydrogenated oils (shortening) are chemically saturated. Yuck. This means that all of the fatty acids are completely straight and there are no C=C bonds, or ‘kinks’ in it’s molecular structure. Naturally, the oils wouldhave kinks, but chemical processing straightened them out. Thus, the molecules all stack up nicely and are solid at room temperature.

So, boot the shortening and use non-hydrogenated oil instead! I used olive oil because I simply love the flavor, but it’s super expensive, so canola oil is an equally smart choice. You could also use organic butter or coconut oil.
For maximum health benefits, use whole-wheat flour. I didn’t have any whole-wheat pastry flour on hand, but you could use that too. With cookie baking, use a one-to-one ratio of flour to sugar. Raw sugar is the best choice, but turbinado or brown sugar also work well. Try not to use liquid sweeteners in cookies because they throw off the dry to wet ingredient ratio.
Personally, I love Oatmeal Cookies. They also take some of the nuttiness out of all-whole-wheat-flour cookies. Plus they’re crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and all-over delicious!
Wacky Trail Mix Oatmeal Cookies
½ cup canola oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons whole flax seeds
¼ cup craisins
¼ cup sweetened dried pineapple chunks
¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the flour and oats. Mix well. Stir in the nuts, dried fruit, coconut and chocolate. Chill for 1 hour.

Drop teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, flatten slightly with your hand or the back of a spoon, and bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.

Serving size: 2 cookies
Calories: 170