Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies
I love trail mix so much. It’s dangerous for me to even keep it around.
One handful turns into five, which very quickly turns into the whole bag. You too?
The result is a chewy, dense, hearty cookie that’s loaded to the max with texture.
Interestingly, this cookie dough base contains NO flour, NO butter, and I didn’t add any white sugar.
I doctored up the rich peanut butter dough with 1/3 cup each of: oats, raisins, chocolate chips, and peanut butter-filled M&Ms.
If you have a bag of actual trail mix, adding 1 generous cup of that will save you from piecing together one-third cup of this and that. However, this is a great recipe for using up bottom-of-the-bags of chips, pretzels, random baking chips, and various odds and ends that plague my cupboards.
Work in your favorite trail mix goodies such as crumbled pretzels, dried fruit like craisins or apricots; butterscotch or white chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet. Add mini Rolos, peanut butter cups, or any diced candy bar. I don’t like nuts in cookies but if you do, sprinkle in some peanuts, almonds, or another favorite. Add sunflower seeds or pepitas. Mix-and-match.
When mixing the dough, make sure to cream the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla for at least 5 minutes, or until it’s no longer gritty. The dough will likely be oily, and this is okay. It’s important to use storebought, conventional peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. Don’t use natural peanut butter and don’t use Homemade Peanut Butter. Your cookies will be prone to spreading if you do.
Add the baking soda, oats, and add-ins. The dough is jam-packed with goodies. Almost as many add-ins as there is dough. No complaints from me.
Form 16 mounds of cookie dough with a medium 2-inch cookie scoop or make balls with your hands. It’s important to compact the mounds so the add-ins don’t slip out because the dough is oily. Just push them back in and squeeze the mounds firmly if the add-ins try to wiggle out.
After the mounds are formed, flatten them slightly and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, up to five days, before baking. Cookies baked with unchilled dough will spread and bake flat and thin rather than thick and puffy.
The advantage to forming the dough into mounds and refrigerating them is that you have the option of only baking off as many as you want. Sometimes I just want a few cookies, not a whole batch. That said, this is a small-batch recipe, making only about 16 cookies total so feel free to bake them all at once. They stay soft for up to one week.
The cookies are supremely texture-filled from the firm chocolate chips, chewy raisins, hearty sprinkling of oats, and M&Ms. They’re like having a handful of trail mix and a peanut butter cookie, all in one.
They’re peanut butter flavor is present and distinct, but the oats and other add-ins temper it a bit. If you’re looking for a really intense, unadulterated peanut butter cookie, try these.
And if you’re a trail mix fan, I suggest you bake it into cookies.
It’ll be the best tasting trail mix you’ve ever had.
Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free)
I love trail mix, and I love it even more when it’s baked into my favorite peanut butter cookies. The cookies are naturally gluten-free and have NO butter, flour, and I didn’t add any white sugar. They’re bursting with texture from oats, chocolate chips, raisins, and M&Ms. They’re easily customizable based on what you like in your trail mix. Mix-and-match the add-ins used or simply use your favorite prepared trail mix. The cookies are my new favorite way to eat trail mix.
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1/3 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick cook or instant, use certified GF as necessary)
use 1 heaping cup of your favorite pre-made trail mix
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or butterscotch, white, cinnamon chips)
1/3 cup raisins (I used TJ’s raisin medley blend; try dried apricots, dates, cranberries, craisins)
1/3 cup Peanut Butter-Filled M&Ms (or another M&M variety; Reese’s Pieces, mini PB Cups, mini Rolos, or any diced candy bar)
Optionally, swap out some of the add-ins for white chocolate or butterscotch chips; peanuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts; sunflower seeds, pepitas; another type of dried fruit, mix-and-match as desired
- To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl using a hand mixer), combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and the sugar is fully incorporated and is mixture is no longer gritty or granular, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. (Regarding peanut butter – although natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter may work, I recommend using storebought peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar so that cookies bake up thicker and spread less. Using natural or homemade peanut butter tends to result in thinner and flatter cookies that are prone to spreading while baking)
- Add the baking soda, optional salt, oats, and beat to incorporate.
- Add the 1 heaping cup pre-made trail mix OR add the chocolate chips, raisins, M&Ms and beat to just incorporate.
- Using a 2-inch medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), form 16 dough mounds. Squeeze and compact the dough mounds so all the add-ins stay in place. They will be prone to falling out because they’re abundant and dough is oily, just keep pushing them back in. Place dough mounds on a large plate. Flatten mounds slightly with your finger. Cover plate with plasticwrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough; cookies will spread and bake thin and flat.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. I bake 8 to a tray. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. Allow cookies to cool on trays for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies may not appear to be done at 10 to 12 minutes, but they likely are, and they firm up as they cool. Baking longer results in cookies with dark or burnt bottoms and that set up too crisp and hard and don’t keep well.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
- Take care all ingredients used, such as the oats or any add-ins, are gluten-free and suitable for your dietary needs.
Adapted from Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF) – The BEST PB Cookies I’ve ever had. There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! Soft, chewy & oozing with dark chocolate. Crazy good! This is the dough base I used to create the Trail Mix Cookies
Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies – Baking with coconut oil doesn’t make the food taste like coconut and instead makes it richer, better, softer, and more moist
Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – Richly and intensely chocolate-flavored cookies with NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used. They’re thick, dense, soft, chewy and almost brownie-like
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – One of my favorite cookie recipes on my site. Chewy, filled with texture, and combines three of my favorite cookies in one – chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter – and very easy to make, no mixer required
Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies – Baking caramel corn into cookies is one way to make sure you don’t gobble the whole bag in a sitting. Gobble the cookies instead
Compost Cookies – Potato chips, butterscotch and chocolate chips, and so much more is added to these cookies with a salty ‘n sweet, crunchy and chewy profile
Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies – Everything but the kitchen sink is tossed into these cookies: Cornflakes, potato chips, pretzels, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. The recipe comes from a popular cookbook and I’m glad I tried them to see what all the hype was about
Do you like Trail Mix? What are your favorite trail mix add-ins?