Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies

Well this is a first. I’ve made hundreds of different cookies between blogging and two cookbooks.

And I’ve made Trail Mix Cookies, but I’ve never baked protein bars into cookies.

Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies - Packed with your favorite trail mix goodies, even protein bars!! Soft, chewy, and accidentally healthy!!!

The idea came to me in an effort to use some of the oodles of protein bars I bought. I go through spurts every couple years where I fall in love with protein bars, buy them by the case to save money, lose interest, forget about them, and move onto something else.

I put my stash to work by dicing two protein bars, made a brown sugar-based dough, and added the protein bars along with my favorite trail mix add-ins.

MY OTHER RECIPES


Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies - Packed with your favorite trail mix goodies, even protein bars!! Soft, chewy, and accidentally healthy!!!

Oats, dried cranberries, raisins, and pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds. The seeds are a seasonal item at Trader Joe’s and they’re dangerously, fabulously amazing. If you prefer sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or another nut or seed, go for it.

Like the last Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies I made, the recipe is highly adaptable based on your favorite items and what you have around. I used 3/4 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup raisins. Aim for 1 cup dried fruit, mixing and matching from your favorites.

Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies - Packed with your favorite trail mix goodies, even protein bars!! Soft, chewy, and accidentally healthy!!!

I used one Peanut Butter Supreme Quest Bar and one Chocolate Brownie Quest Bar. I get my bars from iHerb.com. Code AVE630 at checkout saves you $10 off your order. I love iHerb for everything like coconut oilprobioticsbulk cinnamonpumpkin pie spiceliquid vanilla stevia dropsbulk white stevia powdermedicinal fancy-grade honeychia seedsface cleansernutritional yeast, and mini chocolate chips.

Because protein bars vary widely, results will vary and you may need to experiment with a few types or flavors to find the perfect bar for the cookies. The Quest Bars worked great and I loved both the chocolate and peanut butter bursts of flavor the bars add.

The cookies are soft, ultra chewy, and loaded with amazing texture in every bite. I love the way the crunchy seeds and chewy dried fruit complement each other and when baked, the protein bars turn extra chewy.

Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies - Packed with your favorite trail mix goodies, even protein bars!! Soft, chewy, and accidentally healthy!!!

I ate one before a run and busted out 12 fast miles. That’s my cue to eat cookies before every run.

Oats, dried fruit, seeds or nuts, and protein bars. That means the cookies are automatically healthy.

Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies - Packed with your favorite trail mix goodies, even protein bars!! Soft, chewy, and accidentally healthy!!!

Print Recipe

Trail Mix Protein Bar Cookies

I put my stash of protein bars to work by dicing two bars, made a brown sugar-based dough, and added the protein bars along with my favorite trail mix add-ins including oats, dried cranberries, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. The recipe is highly adaptable based on your favorite items and what you have around. The cookies are soft, ultra chewy, and loaded with amazing texture in every bite. Crunchy seeds and chewy dried fruit complement each other, and when baked the protein bars turn extra chewy. Because protein bars vary widely, you may need to experiment with a few types or flavors to find your favorite.

Yield: about 1 dozen medium cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2+ hours, for chilling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick-cook or instant)
1 teaspoon cornstach
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
about 4.25 ounces protein bars, diced small (about 1 scant cup)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or use sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, etc.)
1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, oats, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the protein bars, cranberries, seeds, raisins, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 12 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip - Strategically place dried fruit or protein bars on top of each mound by taking dried fruit or protein bars from the underside and adding them on top. Do not allow protein bar pieces to bake directly on baking sheets; shield them with dough or move them to the top/sides of cookies.
  5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don't overbake. Cookies will be pale and look un-done, but firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack.
  7. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Only Eats

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66 comments

  1. These cookies sound so delicious Averie and like the perfect protein-filled snack :) Love it! Pinned :)

  2. Yum! This looks very good. I would love to try this with slivered almonds. Can I have one for breakfast? Also, since it’s made with protein bars, can we pretend it’s a healthy cookie and have two cookies? :P

  3. LOVE that you incorporated Quest bars into this recipe!

  4. What a great way to get protein into a cookie! I love Quest bars and I imagine that the chewiness works perfectly in these!

  5. Protein bars in cookies?!?! Genius! These sound awesome Averie. Absolutely perfect for a hike.

  6. I’ve had Quest bars and think they’re some of the tastier high protein bars on the market. I’ve read they get chewy when heated but I’ve never tried it. I’ve done some baking with protein powder and made my own bars but haven’t put them in cookies. Great idea for a surplus or just to do a little something different!

    • I agree, Paula, they’re some of the best high protein bars as a whole. I just am not super committed to bars, so wind up with odds and ends and a surplus no matter what I do, and these were a great way to use some. And they do get nice and chewy (even chewier than at room temp) when baked! I’ve baked with protein powder YEARS ago, like 2008-09? I used Sun Warrior back then (raw vegan etc) but it was mostly stuff like baked oatmeal and haven’t really baked with it for my blog because I know the results vary GREATLY based on what type is used!

  7. I can definitely relate going through phases of different types of protein bars! This recipe looks super yummy, and if I make them, I will just pretend like they’re healthy….

    • Oh they’re totally healthy, for sure :) I mean, that’s what I told myself for the whole batch!

      And yes, going through spurts and phases with bars, story of my life! I get into them, and out of them, quickly!

  8. I made cookies one time that were called gone fishin cookies, they incorporated everything but the kitchen sink, sort of like these. They were a hit! The only thing they lacked was any sort of fruit, I think I would like your version much butter!

    • I’ve made cookies like that too, in my 2012-13 archives is where I’m guessing some of those recipes are, and also bars like that. Love pans of bars for a multitude of add-ins. So easy :) I’ve even written about kitchen sink and cupboard cleanout bars before giving the recipe and to use what you have on hand and is cluttering your cupboard.

      And the dried fruit is great, adds a little extra chew and burst of tangy/tart/sweetness!

  9. Wow! This is genius! Who would have ever thought to put a protein bar IN cookies!? So yum!

    • Who would have ever thought to put a protein bar IN cookies!? <--- Me, after 5+ yrs of blogging and 2 books and feeling like I've already made every cookie known to man and it was time to really put my thinking cap on :)

  10. What a pretty cookie, Averie! I love that you combined trail mix and protein bars into an easy to eat treat. Sounds delicious!

  11. these are right up my alley! pinned! Hope you are well!! Miss talking to you

  12. These sound so intriguing! I need to try them! Pinned!

  13. Honestly, you make the most appealing cookies ever, they always look so gooey, rich and with a nice crumbs, and the flavor combos are always spot on!

  14. These look like the perfect way to make me eat protein bars! I can’t stand drinking protein shakes or eating the bars but this might work! Thanks for posting! I’ve shared everywhere I possibly I can :)

    Yasmeen xx

  15. I love that you ate these before a run! Haha. I’m not sure if I’d have the same success. I tend to do a lot of baking after my Saturday morning long runs, but sometimes it’s a dangerous combination of dehydration and sugar overload. Still fun though :)

    As per usual, these look amazing.

    • I wish I had the discipline to bake right after a long run. Normally I run in the evening, shower, blog, etc. THEN bake. Then it’s all ready for an a.m. photo shoot (and for snacking that day in prep for the evening’s run)

      but sometimes it’s a dangerous combination of dehydration and sugar overload. Still fun though :) <--- sometimes on weekends I go for afternoon runs and then to the bar. Sugary drinks, dehydration, salty bar food, but oh...so.much.fun.

    • Oooohhh I like they way you think :)

  16. What a delicious way to get a protein pick-up! Great idea.

  17. What kind of protein bar did you use?!?

  18. trail mix in a cookie? Could it get any better! I think not. So very creative. I love it

  19. You make thee most delicious looking cookies! I love how many combinations you can come up with too, endless possibilities.

    • Funny… I feel that way about EVERYTHING you make! Let’s start with your oatmeal-themed cookies, moving onto your slow-cooker soups or soups in general, you seriously blow my mind with how many combos you come up with! :)

  20. I’ve never tried a Quest Bar, but they look so good! They look even better in this cookie recipe! :) Definitely giving them and this recipe a try now!

  21. I can never have enough cookie recipes! And I love that these have the whole protein bar thing going for them… that means I can eat 3 post-working out, right?

  22. Brilliant use of the Quest bars!

    • After my big start with these, well, it didn’t last too long and they were burning a hole in my very limited cupboard space. If you’re so inclined to ever bake with them, now you know…works GREAT!

  23. These looks so good! And the fact that they are trail mix and protein-filled makes them basically healthy! Yay.

  24. Stop it. You mean I can take my beloved Quest bars and put them in cookies?! I can’t handle it. I need to make these IMMEDIATELY but I’m out of Quest bars! Gahhh! :(

    • Thanks for pinning and that’s awesome you’re already a Quest fan! Well, now you know what to do if you ever get bored with them on their own…bake them into cookies! :)

  25. I love these types of cookies!! Looks so good!!

  26. These look so good! My 4 year old never eats breakfast, hes not a breakfast guy. He loves protein shakes so maybe I can temp him with these. If I don’t eat them all first!

  27. Such a great idea to combine trail mix and protein bar ingredients to make a cookie. These look SO good, Averie!

  28. I’m in LOVE! Cookies + protein all in one place. Breakfast, right?? ;)

  29. I was wondering how you got the protein in these cookies! Quest bars are delicious (almost like candy bars) so I know they’ll be great in these cookies! Yum! Pinned!

  30. This is one of the greatest cookie concepts ever! I love that there is a protein bar mixed into them. So I can eat these for breakfast, right?! Gorgeous pics as always Averie! Pinned :)

  31. Love these “genius” cookies…

  32. Averie what a fantastic idea for a cookie!! Love this. And I bet my hubby would be super excited about these. Love your pictures too :) pinning!

  33. I love your creativity, especially with cookies, will try these! Great idea to add protein bars, raisins and pumpkin seeds! Pinned and I hope to try them soon!

  34. These cookies are total awesomesauce! You have the best ideas, girl. Cookies packed with a protein punch, I love it!

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