On the eve of our vacation, Mom raced to Target for a few last-minute airplane snacks. Since going mostly gluten-free, she mainly munches on cocoa-coated almonds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. (Yes, chocoholism is genetic!)
Recently, Mom came across two new Archer Farms gluten-free trail mixes at Target: Monster Mix, with M&Ms, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips; and Caramel Cashew, with M&Ms, peanuts, cashews, and chocolate-covered caramels.
By the end of our first day, Mom and I had both developed the deadly habit of picking out the chocolate pieces from each bag, especially the M&Ms. (The chocolate-covered caramels weren’t far behind!) And because of Mom’s peanut allergy, I snuck out all of the peanut butter chips too.
On Day 3, my brother noticed the lonely nuts and raisins sitting on the counter, so Mom took pity on them and bought two bags of M&Ms to dump inside. (Which we ended up picking out all over again anyway!)
After returning home, I decided to combine my favorite bits of trail mix into one cookie: peanut butter, raisins, almonds, pretzels (I’m not gluten-free yet!), and M&Ms. Lots of M&Ms.
I ended up sneaking more warm cookies off the pan than I did chocolate out of the trail mixes… Oops!
These thick cookies are super soft and totally addictive. They incorporate all of my favorite parts of trail mix—especially the mini M&Ms!
1 c all-purpose flour
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ c powdered peanut butter (such as PB2)
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cornstarch
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (or margarine)
3 egg whites (or 1½ tbsp Ener-G + 6 tbsp warm water)
1 c light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ c mini M&Ms
2 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped (about 20)
3 tbsp raisins, roughly chopped
10 mini pretzel twists, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, powdered peanut butter, baking powder, and cornstarch. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and egg whites for 1 minute, or until slightly frothy. Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated.
- Reserve 4 teaspoons of mini M&Ms and 2 teaspoons of the chopped almonds, raisins, and pretzels. Add in the remaining ingredients, stirring just until incorporated. At this point if the dough is really sticky, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets. Shape the cookie dough so that it’s taller than it is wide. (This is important!!) Press 2 mini M&Ms and 1 piece each of almonds, raisins, and pretzels into the top of each dough ball. Reshape the dough if necessary (make sure they’re taller than they are wide!), and bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Notes: Roughly chop the almonds, raisins, and pretzels so that they’re about the same size as the mini M&Ms. With smaller pieces, it’s easier to shape the dough.
It’s really important to make the dough balls taller than they are wide. They won’t spread as much in the oven and result in thicker, softer cookies—my absolute favorite!
While it may seem like a strange ingredient for cookies, cornstarch helps keep the cookies soft too. (I can’t take credit for these last two brilliant tricks; they’re all thanks to Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction!)
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