vegan orange oatmeal trail mix cookies


It's pretty hard to think about the holidays without thinking about cookies. It's just one of those things that goes hand in hand and would feel sort of weird without - you know what I mean, those tins or tray of a variety of baked goods that somehow all end up tasting like peppermint extract because of these guys?

As nostalgic as that thought makes me, the 29-year-old version of me (that's right) could do without the red food coloring and toothpaste taste. What I found myself craving around December 20th (or always) was a cookie I've had many time from a favorite small grocer back in New Jersey. These cookies were trail mix-y with oats, a hint of orange, chewy cherries and some sort of toasted nuts. What stuck out in my mind were pecan or almonds or maybe both. So I set out to see if I could replicate this recipe.

And if I'm allowed to jump the cookie gun here, I'd say: well done, Helen. Well done.

For this recipe, you'll need:

2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons warm water
2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup vegan butter, softened (organic Earth Balance is my go-to)
Zest of 1 large organic orange
1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice (it will make more, so drink the rest!)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup combination dried cherries and cranberries (unsweetened, if you can find them: good luck!)
1/2 cup combination toasted pecans and almonds 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the flaxseed and water. Whisk until well emulsified and allow to thicken while you get to some other stuff.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.
To your mixer's bowl, add your vegan butter, orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, granulated syrup, and vanilla. Mix on medium-high speed until combined.

Gradually add in your dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Mix on high until the dough comes together. Remove your bowl from the mixer and fold in your oats, dried fruit and nuts. This will take some doing but about ten to twelve solid folds will get you there.

Scoop teaspoon sized balls of dough onto your prepared baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool on wire racks. 

I mean, I'll be honest here: I don't usually hit it out of the park on the first attempt. And I did try another time or two before I got the texture and flavor I was looking for. But this version really did make me feel like I was wandering the streets of Princeton, cookie in hand, browsing the book store on Nassau Street. Or, you know, like it was starting to feel like Christmas.

So you've got the cookie fever?