Do you guys like hiking? I always surprise people when I tell them how much I love hiking and camping. Like, for really real camping. In tents. Sleeping on the ground. Building campfires and cooking over them, hiking, reading, swimming, and nature watching for entertainment, not iPhone apps and handheld video games. You know…camping.
I used to wonder why it was so odd to people that I might enjoy camping so much, but I think I figured it out. Apparently girly girls (like me) aren’t supposed to like roughing it in the woods for a few days. Yes, I’m girly. I won’t lie to you about it, but I’m pretty sure that the pink striped banner, the fluffy, flowery, cartoon goodies, little pink birdies perched around here, and the ruffly cartoon version of myself pretty much gave that away. Not to mention the fact that I tell you and show you so. It’s not exactly a secret or a surprise. But that doesn’t mean I’m relegated to the role of a high maintenance, fussy haired, dolled up priss. I love camping more and more every year…and I still get to be girly, cause you know why? They make the CUTEST camping and hiking gear for women now!
Sure, up until now, the best you could hope for was that the gear/clothing was appropriately sized, and mostly the right shape for a lady, but now you can be a no-shower-for-three-days, slept-on-the-ground cutie because of the gear that so many companies finally decided they could make into something that women will like to use as much as they need to use it.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m that chick. I’m the one hiking through the wilderness with pretty purple flowered hiking sticks, soft pink hiking boots, and a (tastefully) blinged out pack (of course, my idea of blinged out is a Harry Potter key chain and a Star Trek insignia pin). Got a problem with it? I’m out there either way, enjoying myself, having fun, and spending time with my family, but now I look cute too. I’d do it without the benefit of prettiness to wear, but it’s nice that I don’t have to if I don’t wanna.
And when you see me prancing up the toughest trails with the big, bad boys trailing behind, you’ll see me nibbling some of these amazing cookies.
You all have heard of Gorp, right? G.O.R.P. – Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts. It’s a trail mix. It can be as simple as raisins and peanuts, or as complicated as the fanciest trail mix you’ve ever spent 15 bucks on. The Hubster always throws a big batch together before all of our hiking and camping excursions, because it’s packed with all kinds of goodness for your body. When you’re exhausted halfway through a particularly tough trail, this stuff helps perk you right up. We also constantly have some on hand at home, too, though. It’s just a great snack anytime.
When Hubs realized that I didn’t like peanuts much, he started experimenting with all sorts of combinations of ingredients. What he settled on usually has some combination of raisins, nuts (any kind you like), pretzels, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces, oat clusters, and, sometimes, dried pineapple. He decided that this should be called Gorp’nMore. Gorp and more. Not just gorp, but gorp and lots of other goodness. Gorp’nMore.
The other day, I was struck by this lightning bolt that this stuff should, nay had, to be put into a cookie. They needed to happen. So they did.
If my peanut butter cookie married my oatmeal cookie, these cookies would be there baby…all dressed up in extra yumminess. The main part of the cookie (the baby of said union) is made up of unsalted butter (at room temperature), an egg, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, and peanut butter (crunchy or smooth). After the batter was all mixed up, before I added the bling, the dough tasted like the filling in a Reese’s Pieces. It’s so yum. You could stop here and bake these as-is, and you’d have some pretty delish cookies, but I dressed the baby up in raisins, pretzel pieces, plain M&Ms, and chopped walnuts. You can exclude or replace any or all of these ingredients. In fact, I’m really not a fan of raisins in my baked goods, so I only added them to half the cookie dough (after the dough was ready, I baked half of it, then stirred in a half cup of raisins to the remaining batter).
Place one tablespoon portions of the cookie dough about an inch and a half apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat mats. The cookies don’t really spread, so you can do one of two things, just be aware that the bake times will change, depending on what you do. You can either press each cookie down with your fingers to flatten it a bit before baking, then bake them at 350 degrees (180 C) for 9 to 11 minutes. Or…
None of us were really sure what to expect with these. We all knew we liked Gorp. I mean, most people do, but in a cookie? Guess what? They’re fabulous. No, really. They’re, like, “gimme, gimme, gimme” fabulous. We couldn’t stop eating them! I finally had to drop the hammer so that I could get some photos of them.
All of the bits and pieces and flavors so perfectly work together! And they’re chock full of goodies (primarily on the healthy side). The cookies were great, but they were also filling. I’m sure we could have eaten more, and we probably would have eaten more, but in all honesty, they made us feel full and satisfied after just a couple.
The peanut buttery dough, filled with hearty oatmeal, was the perfect base to hold the salty pretzels, chocolate-y M&Ms, and sweet raisins (even though I don’t like them much, the raisin cookies were surprisingly good, too). As for the walnuts, they added a lovely extra crunch and a darker flavor that grounded the other, sweeter treats.
These are dry (in a good way) and crispy-crunchy, with a wonderful sandy texture that would hold up beautifully for a day of hiking through woods and mountains, or take the beating of hiking the streets of the city on a tourist or shopping excursion. Oh yeah, and they are let’s-get-married-perfect with hot coffee or tea, or ice cold milk. These were über fast (5-ish minutes of prep, 10-ish minutes of baking – DONE!), and make-with-the-little-ones easy (mix it, scoop it, bake it), so there’s no excuse for missing out on them. Plus, they keep for several days, and the batter, as well as the finished cook, freeze beautifully, so you can make them in advance, too.
I highly recommend whipping up a batch before the last of hiking and camping passes by, but these would also be wonderful for the kiddies to pack for lunches or take along on their field trip. Or you could always just make them and eat them for no reason other than the fact that you want them. Enjoy!
Gorp’nMore Cookies [Printable Version]
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen
*As always, when making vegan/dairy free recipes, please be sure your ingredients, including the margarine and any candies, are vegan, not just vegetarian*
1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (margarine for vegan/dairy free)
1/2 cup (128 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1 egg (or 1/4 cup (63 ml) applesauce for vegan/dairy free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 cup quick oats (regular rolled oats work too)
**All of the following ingredients are optional or can be replaced with anything you choose, in equal amounts**
1 cup pretzels, broken into bite sized pieces
1 cup (200 grams) plain M&M’s (or Reeses Pieces)
1 cup (165 grams) raisins
1 cup (122 grams) chopped walnuts (or another nut of your choice)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until light in color. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Stir in the egg until combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the dough and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the oats until evenly distributed. Add whatever mix-ins you like, and stir to evenly distribute them throughout the dough.
Place one tablespoon portions of dough on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2-inches apart. Press gently to flatten each cookie and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or leave the cookies mounded and bake for 12 to 15 minutes (until the bottom edges are deep golden brown an the surfaces are light golden brown).
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
Recipe by Darla