Gluten free and vegan, these lightly sweetened, whole grain almond trail mix cookies are the perfect snack to fuel your hike.
I was asked to participate in the “#CrunchOn ” campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time and also received free samples for recipe testing.
To me, food is one of the most important parts of travel. Before we take a trip, even a quick weekend jaunt within the South, I'll spend hours online, learning local specialties, researching the best restaurants and figuring out how to work in as many tasty yums as possible. There are few things in life that make me more sad than a subpar meal while on vacation.
Scott and I love camping, but that type of vacation doesn't exactly lend itself to good eats. We've taken a few camping trips in the last couple years, and in each case, crappy food was pretty unavoidable. Even if a can of beanie weenies was the panacea of health, you still wouldn't catch me eating it. I have no problem not showering or peeing in the woods, but eating rehydrated food for dinner? NOPE.
When we decided to camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains for my birthday, I planned ahead to ensure the weekend was filled with deliciousness. I prepared a gourmet meal of potatoes, grilled vegetables and halloumi cheese with smoked paprika, cooked over an open fire. We packed a nice bottle of wine, which I think we were judged for by the, um, mountain folk at the campsite next to us. The second night, we drove into Asheville for dinner at my favorite brewery and birthday cake from my favorite chocolatier (Asheville has all my favorites!). And lastly, I made sure to pack plenty of tasty snacks to fuel our hikes - olive oil popcorn from Trader Joes, honeycrisp apples, wasabi peas and these trail cookies, stuffed with all sorts of almond goodness.
Y'all, these are kind of the perfect trail food. I get pretty hungry when I'm hiking, which isn't that different from my usual state of being, but of course when hiking, there's no refrigerator nearby. Portable, compact, full of healthy fats, protein and a boost of energy from honey, these were perfect for munching on while we stopped to rest our legs. Sure, we could have just packed an energy bar, but I mean, cookies.
These cookies incorporate almonds in four different ways:
WHOLE ALMONDS // For satiating crunch!
ALMOND MEAL // My favorite gluten free flour for baking, it adds a nice crumbly texture and nutty flavor.
ALMOND BUTTER // Used instead of butter and other added fats.
ALMOND MILK // Mix 3 tablespoons almond milk with 1 tablespoon chia seeds to make a vegan egg for baking.
Besides the obvious fact that they taste amazing, there's a lot to love about almonds:
- Almonds are a rich source of monounsaturated fat, the type found in extra-virgin olive oil and avocados, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
- With 1/4 cup providing 40% your daily needs of vitamin E, almonds are the best nut source of the fat soluble vitamin. The antioxidant vitamin helps protect against heart disease and protects fats in the brain against oxidative damage and inflammation.
- Almonds also top all other nuts in calcium content, one of the reasons (besides it's creamy deliciousness) that I love homemade almond milk so much!
- Some people still avoid almonds because of their fat content, but study after study have shown them to be beneficial for weight management. And not that I recommend calorie counting, but recent studies with more accurate methods of measuring calories, have shown an ounce of almonds contain only 130 calories versus the previous count of 160.
- With 6 grams of protein in each ounce, a serving of nuts is one of my favorite post-workout snacks.
- Snacking on crunchy food like almonds can actually help combat stress!
Feel free to mix in your favorite trail mix ingredients. I like using freeze dried fruit, which is less sweet than dried fruit, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Dark chocolate chips never hurt anything. Because these are vegan, you can always skip the whole baking step, roll into balls and enjoy like cookie dough!
Almond Trail Mix Cookies
Makes 20 cookies
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1 cup freeze dried blueberries
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
- In a small bowl, mix almond milk and chia. Let sit 10 minutes or so to gel.
- In a large bowl, mix chia "egg," almond butter, coconut oil, honey and vanilla with an electric beater. In another medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Using electric beater, mix wet ingredients into dry. Stir in oats, blueberries and almonds. Cover dough with saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto an oiled baking sheet. Press down lightly with the back of a spoon to flatten. Bake for 16-18 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.