Trail Mix Cookies Recipe

Having teenagers is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it’s kind of cool that my girls are old enough to have adult conversations and share clothes with me.  On the other hand, it bums me out that they prefer to be with their friends over their parents.  I don’t take it personally, of course.  But if all goes according to plan, Daughter #1 will be going to college in two years and her younger sister two years after that which means I don’t have a lot of time left with them in the house.  This is one reason I encourage them to invite their friends to hang out at our house or spend the night as much as possible.  Not only does it make the house more lively, but I know what they’re up to and sometimes I’ll even overhear some good gossip.  Just recently did I figure out how to make my home the place to be.  It’s called FOOD.

Teenagers are always hungry.  No, I take that back.  They’re always “STAR-ving.”  They don’t even know what the word means.  My daughters complain that they’re starving if they haven’t eaten in two hours.  My point is that if you want to have the house that the kids want to hang out in, other than breaking the law and supplying alcohol (not recommended), you need to have some good eats.  I don’t think my house is considered to have the “best” food by any means.  There are no Cheetos, no soda and no microwave popcorn.  But I do always have tons of fresh fruit, leftovers from dinner, the makings of a quesadilla and lots of homemade cookie dough in the freezer, especially in the fall when the kids are back in school.

These Trail Mix cookies are a new favorite around here.  They’re like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies PLUS.  There are so many goodies in the cookies, it feels like you’re eating a handful of trail mix held together with some oatmeal cookie batter.  In fact, you could use trail mix in this recipe, hence the name.  I’m not sure I’ve made this recipe the same way twice since I’ll often use it as an excuse to clean out the bottom of my nut and dried fruit jars.  Before you get excited about a cookie that sounds like it might be healthful, it’s still a cookie, just maybe a higher quality one.  If you want a cookie that you can eat for breakfast, make these.  This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats, flakes of unsweetened coconut, and chocolate chips.  My kids love pecans, so I generally use them here, but if I have a handful of walnuts or macadamia nuts, those can go in too.  Same idea with dried fruit — use whatever you’ve got.  The key with these cookies though, is to make sure you don’t decide to just eliminate an entire ingredient without coming up with a substitution.  All the “stuff” helps give your cookies structure and without it, your cookies will go a tad flat.  If you can’t eat nuts, I have used sunflower seeds with success, or you can just add 1/2 cup extra of chocolate chips, dried fruit and coconut to make up for the 1 1/2 cups of nuts.  What I did struggle with was the sugar in the cookies. The quantity is quite a bit less than you would find in a comparable cookie, but I didn’t have as much success substituting coconut sugar or maple syrup for the white and brown sugars.  At the end of the day, it’s still a cookie which we should enjoy in moderation.

If you like to be prepared for weekday school lunches or unexpected playdates, it’s always nice to have some cookie dough on hand.  You can make this batter and keep it refrigerated for a week, baking off as many cookies as you like at any given time.  I also like to scoop the dough onto baking sheets with my ice cream scooper, freeze them raw (the same way you would freeze fruit), and when they are frozen solid, gather them up and put them in a container to freeze for a rainy day or the next sleepover.  And from the empty containers I generally see in the morning, I have also observed that teenagers are at their most STARVING in the middle of the night.

Trail Mix Cookies
Author: 
Serves: makes 3 dozen cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup rolled oats (either old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans (or walnuts or macadamia nuts)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes (or use extra pecans)
  • ½ cup dried fruit, such as cranberries (or use extra chocolate chips)
  • (Or use 3 ½ cups trail mix instead of above add-ins; chop nuts)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 egg at a time until well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add half the dry mix to the butter with the mixer on low speed. After the flour has been incorporated, add the remaining flour mixture and stir together.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet and bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. (If you bake the dough directly from the fridge, add 3-5 minutes.)
  6. Remove from the oven and cool cookies for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Zucchini bread pancakes recipe

A few years ago, someone suggested I teach a class with a breakfast menu.  At first I didn’t think it was such a good idea because breakfast seems kind of easy, at least too easy to be taught in a cooking class.  In our house the rotations is oatmeal or muesli, scrambled eggs, smoothies, yogurt and granola, pancakes and leftovers from last night’s dinner.  But the more I thought about it, I realized there was a nice variety of fun, delicious and healthful recipes I could share.  Because I do believe breakfast is nutritionally the most important meal of the day, especially for children, I knew these recipes needed to provide sustenance, long-lasting energy and stable blood sugar.  My first breakfast class was a great success and I have continued the tradition every June (arbitrary selection of month) since then.

I tend to follow a similar formula each June based on what my family and I love to eat for breakfast, both on the weekdays and weekend.  I always teach a smoothie, muffin, egg-based dish and a pancake recipe.  When I was growing up, pancakes were for Saturday mornings when Mom had time and no one was rushing off to work or school.  I too love lingering over a plate of pancakes on the weekends, but by making the batter the night before and teaching my older girls how to cook their own, we enjoy them on a school mornings, as well.  If you’re thinking it’s a little boring to eat plain old pancakes twice a week, I would agree with you!  We add lots of different things to our pancakes while they’re cooking and the kids each seem to have their own favorite combo, such as fresh raspberries and mini-chocolate chips or diced banana and pecans.

But for my breakfast classes, I needed to debut more than just buttermilk pancakes with a different fruit each time.  I’ve posted most of my favorites by now, including oatmeal pancakes and pumpkin pancakes.  Both are really delicious!  After seeing a recipe by fellow Foodily tastemakerJoy the Baker, for carrot cake pancakes, I had an idea to make pancakes with the same flavors in zucchini bread.  To me, zucchini bread really isn’t about the zucchini, which I think is a little tasteless but does add nice moisture to muffins and quick breads.  I’m mostly in it for the sweet spiciness of cinnamon and nutmeg, perhaps combined with a few nuggets of walnuts.  What’s not to love?  And zucchini bread pancakes could be made with almost no added sweetener — so great!

These pancakes made it on the menu this past June and I think they were a big hit.  I made them successfully with several different flours, including whole wheat pastry, whole spelt, and sprouted whole wheat.  The latter two flours tend to create a thicker batter, so I used a bit less of those, but they made for a nice hearty pancake.  Whole wheat pastry flour is very light, almost mimicking white flour, but still has all the fiber and bran of whole wheat, which it is.  We also played around with adding pecans, blueberries or the oft-requested chocolate chips, but personally I love them completely plain with either a thin drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of whole yogurt.  Such a delicious breakfast for the long weekend as well as for a first day of school.  I hope you all enjoy a fantastic Labor Day!

Zucchini Bread Pancakes
Author: 
Serves: makes about 12 4-inch pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cups sprouted wheat flour or 2 cups whole wheat pastry, white whole wheat or whole spelt flour (or a combo)*
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • scant ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups buttermilk**
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • Melted, unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter for brushing the griddle
Instructions
  1. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees or medium heat.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl or 4-6 cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and melted butter until well blended. (A blender can do this easily, too.) Fold in shredded zucchini.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Brush the griddle with coconut oil and spoon about ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle. Add blueberries, chocolate chips, diced banana or chopped walnuts to the surface, if desired. When bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake and the edges become slightly dry, flip it over and cook until done. Maintain the heat on medium-low or 400 degrees.
Notes
*Gluten-free: substitute 1 cup buckwheat flour and 1 cup brown rice flour for the wheat flour. Or you can use GF oat flour, too, such as ¾ cup oat flour, ¾ cup buckwheat flour and ½ cup brown rice flour.

**No buttermilk? Sub half unsweetened yogurt and half whole milk. Or use 2 cups milk, omit the baking soda and use 2 teaspoons baking powder instead.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancake Recipe

gluten-free buckwheat pancakes | pamela salzman

I have two things on my mind this week — eating anything that was forbidden during Passover (like grains) and being mindful of our consumption of limited resources with Earth Day coming up on April 22nd.   “How will she ever revert this to a pancake recipe?” you ask.  Stay with me, peeps.

Passover, which occurred last week,  is a mighty 8-day abstinence from eating all grains, except wheat turned into matzoh.  Giving up bread, pasta and most starches isn’t such a big deal to me, but my hubby and the kids start groaning after about Day 3.  “How much loooooonger?”  “How come we can’t have rice?  Jack’s family eats rice during Passover.”  “What??!!  It ends on Saturday night?  I thought it ended on Friday!”  And so on and so forth.  Same spiel every year.  Yawn.  So on sundown of the 8th day, my people were freed from bondage, ordered pizza and ravaged it like contestants on “Survivor.”   As for me, I will admit, I was missing oatmeal for breakfast.   Sunday morning I made an extra-large batch thinking everyone craved it as much as I did.  Wrong!  Everyone was craving bagels.    That brings me to my other thought for the week which is being efficient with resources and limiting waste.  I needed a creative way to use that leftover oatmeal!

dry ingredients

By now you know I am serious about pancakes.  I make them twice per week, very often varying the flours or even adding pumpkin and spices to the mix.  I love that everyone has fun customizing his or her own with fruit, nuts or chocolate chips.  Yesterday I made a a lovely batch of oatmeal pancakes with some of the leftovers from Sunday’s excess.  I added a good cup’s worth of steel cut oatmeal to gluten-free oat flour and buckwheat flour, which gave the pancakes these fantastic tiny little chewy bites.  I am a big fan of texture and whole grain flavors, so I adore these pancakes.  If you’ve never tried buckwheat flour, it has a great wholesome earthiness, but it does lend an odd, grey color to the batter.  By the way, buckwheat has no wheat in it and isn’t even related to wheat.  In fact, it is a relative of the rhubarb family, which is why it’s gluten-free.

leftover steel cut oats

 

gluten-free oatmeal pancake batter |pamela salzman

Oat flour is quite simple to make yourself if you don’t feel like buying it.  Just process rolled oats in the food processor until powdery.  That’s it!  If you need or want the oat flour to be gluten-free, you must buy oats/oat flour that is labeled as such, because otherwise it can contain trace amounts of gluten.  If you’re like my husband and are wondering how they take the gluten out of oats, they don’t really.  Botanically oats should not contain gluten, but they do share crop space with gluten-containing grains and often they are processed in facilities which also process wheat and barley, for example.  So the oats can pick up gluten that way.  But if you prefer, feel free to use my standard whole wheat pastry flour for the oat and buckwheat flours.  It just won’t be gluten-free and it will taste more like my traditional buttermilk pancakes, but with a little chew from the oats.  I tend to adorn these pancakes with the same yummies that I would add to a bowl of oatmeal — diced bananas, chopped walnuts, and the like.  But strawberries are incredible and plentiful right now, so we all included them yesterday and my husband tossed in his standard handful of blueberries.  Mr. Picky eats these pancakes just fine, but did declare my “normal” pancakes are his first choice.

add fruit to pancakes before flipping | pamela salzman

Extra pancake batter?  We won’t waste it!!  It will stay good in the refrigerator for a few days and can be used to make fresh pancakes later in the week.  If you use buckwheat flour, don’t be put off by the gumminess of the batter.  It’s very normal and still turns out perfect pancakes.  You can also make all the pancakes at once and freeze them for another day.  I like to put a piece of parchment paper in between each piece so they don’t stick together.  Another idea is to use the pancakes instead of bread for a sandwich or a roll-up.  Any other creative ideas for using up oatmeal or pancakes??

 gluten-free oatmeal pancakes | pamela salzman

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Pancakes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all or part of the oat and buckwheat flours)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups buttermilk*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup COOKED oatmeal (preferably steel-cut)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Melted, unrefined coconut oil for brushing the griddle
Instructions
  1. Preheat a griddle to 400 degrees or medium heat. (Not all built-in griddles are the same. 350 degrees may be fine for you.)
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl or 4-6 cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, melted butter and oatmeal until well blended. (Or combine all wet ingredients in a blender and add to dry mix with oatmeal.)
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Brush the griddle with coconut oil and spoon about ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle. Add blueberries, chocolate chips or diced banana to the surface, if desired. When bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake and the edges become slightly dry, flip it over and cook until done. Maintain the heat on medium-low or 400 degrees.
Notes
*No buttermilk? Sub half unsweetened yogurt and half whole milk. Or use 2 cups milk, omit the baking soda and use 1 Tablespoon baking powder instead.

Cornbread (with quinoa!) Recipe

Let me just start out with a disclaimer — I am not from the South.  I am a Yankee, which means I like my cornbread with half cornmeal and half flour and a drop of sweet and that’s that.  If you are a true Southerner and wouldn’t dream of adding honey or sugar or maple syrup to your cornbread, I hope we can still be friends.  I didn’t grow up eating it and I have no recipe that was passed down from my grandmother.  But my husband and my kids love cornbread, especially at certain times of the year and I love preparing them good food that makes them happy.

After I posted my Thanksgiving menu a few months ago, I had many inquiries about my cornbread recipe, so I figured I would share it just before the Super Bowl when you might be whipping up a big pot of chili.  Even if you’re not eating something that goes well with cornbread, you will be delighted with this quick bread just by itself.  My husband loves to split a wedge of the bread, toast it and slather it with a little more butter or honey or strawberry preserves for a nice treat.  I typically like a barely sweet cornbread, which this is if you use 4 Tablespoons of honey.  You can adjust the sweetness level according to your preference, but the best part about this bread is how moist and corny it is (even after several days.)     I’m not sure anyone in my family knows that I add cooked quinoa to the batter.  And it’s not because I’m the kind of person that sneaks healthful food into recipes and doesn’t say anything.  I’m not clever enough for that.  But I do try to use food efficiently and one day I had a bit of quinoa left in the fridge and since quinoa and corn go really well together, I decided to add it to the corn bread batter.  You don’t notice it at all, except that I think the quinoa adds a nice moistness to the bread and a great boost of protein.

I’ve made this cornbread so many times with different combinations of ingredients based on whom I am feeding or what is available to me in the pantry and it has never disappointed.  Although I’ve learned something about how certain foods affect the end result.  Dairy, such as milk and butter, result in a slightly more golden color to the finished bread.  Coconut oil leaves a slightly sweet, subtly tropical aftertaste.  The whole spelt flour is slightly coarser than whole wheat pastry, and made the bread feel a little more “whole grain.”  If you use olive oil, you can taste it if the bread is still warm, but not after it has cooled a bit, but that will also depend on the kind of olive oil you use.  Take this as a foundation recipe and have fun with it.  Drop the honey and add diced cooked bacon, finely chopped jalapenos, or shredded cheese.  Or prepare as is with some vanilla extract and blueberries or raspberries for a sweet treat.

Are you entertaining for the Super Bowl?  I would love to hear what you’re making.  I am making guacamole and baked chips, but I’ll also serve it with jicama.  I’ll make a giant pot of Vegetable Chili tomorrow and reheat on Sunday.  I am also doing a Baked Potato Bar with lots of toppings (what in the world is easier to make than a baked potato?)  I actually love a baked potato topped with chili!  A big chopped salad and cornbread for sure!  Daughter #1 told me she’s in charge of desserts.  I’m nervous.  Other fun foods for the big game can be Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Enchiladas (especially the casserole version), a Taco or Fajita bar, Cilantro-Lime Slaw or a make-your-own sandwich bar with grilled chicken.  I know my family in NY will be making some form of baked pasta, meatballs, sausage and peppers.  Know your audience, I guess!

If you have leftover guacamole and/or salsa after the game, save it for a great soup recipe on Monday.   Have fun!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cornbread (with quinoa!)
Author: 
Serves: makes 1 8x8-inch pan or 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour or your favorite GF baking mix
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground*
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk**
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter (1 stick) or coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 large eggs***
  • 4-6 Tablespoons honey or Grade A maple syrup (I use 4 Tbs.)
  • 1 cup COOKED quinoa (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish (I usually dip a pastry brush in the melted butter I’m using in the recipe and grease the pan that way.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl or a blender, combine buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and honey until well blended. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the corn kernels. Using an ice cream scooper, divide the batter into the muffin pan or pour it into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Or bake the cornbread in the 8 x 8 pan for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack before removing muffins from the pan.
Notes
*If you like a more tender, less grainy cornbread, increase flour by ½ cup and decrease cornmeal by ½ cup.

**Or ½ cup whole unsweetened yogurt + ½ cup milk of choice. Or 1 cup dairy-free milk + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

***Or 2 Tablespoons ground flax meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons warm water. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes. And then allow batter to sit 5-10 minutes before baking.

****To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa and then cook 1 cup quinoa in 1 ¾ cups boiling water covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, covered. Makes about 3 cups cooked quinoa.