Tuesday was back-to-school in most Minnesota schools. It brings back memories of early morning bus rides, mediocre crayon artwork, and mushy cafeteria meals.
Hey, I never said good memories! :) I had a few cool Lisa Frank folders and a couple special teachers along the way, but for the most part, my favorite part of school was the second it ended. I couldn’t wait for the part of each day when I got to plop down at the kitchen counter with an after-school snack and a tall glass of ice water.
I could usually smell something baking the minute I came in the door, and it was the sweetest part of each day (literally), sandwiched between seven hours of brain drain and a pile of homework.
I used to beg to be homeschooled, and it’s no wonder why! My mom made coming home so welcoming. She was the best baker, and her after-school treats never disappointed. From bars to cookies to zucchini bread, there was almost always something sweet.
Soon enough after snack time, I’d be knee-deep in math worksheets, and my dad would be walking in the door from work, humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – his first-day-of-school song of choice that drove me nuts.
But before that moment? Blissful, sugar-laden peace and quiet.
My after-school snacks weren’t always the healthiest of choices, but there was nothing better than coming home to a sugar- or cinnamon-scented house.
September always makes me think of back-to-school treats, and these cookies are a tad healthier than the ones I used to eat as a kid. These chewy cookies are loaded with trail mix ingredients – raisins, peanuts, and oatmeal.
And chocolate for good measure. Every good cookie needs a little chocolate.
I was inspired by this Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix, found at Target.
I’m not usually one for trail mix; I can take it or leave it. This was different! My mouth was excited to find peanut butter chips inside the package. The extra peanut butter flavor made this trail mix different from the norm, and I really liked this twist on the classic variety. It’s available in stores in several different packages and quantities.
To make this recipe super simple, you can totally buy packages of the Target trail mix and just dump them right into your dough. Easy!
Otherwise, you can mix in your own ingredients separately and control how much of each goes in. I like my cookies heavy on the peanut butter chips. Add or subtract your favorite ingredients! (It doesn’t count as homework – promise.)
I used about a cup-and-a-half of add-ins total. You can add as much as you like, as long as there’s still enough dough to hold the cookies together. Just don’t skimp on the peanut butter chips! :)
To all the students out there, congratulations on surviving the first week of school!
Whether it’s been a good or bad week, help yourself to a cookie! Cookies make all weeks better. :)
- ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ cups trail mix: peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins, peanuts (or 6 packs Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. You will be able to see the mixture visibly lighten.
- Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until just blended.
- Add flour, oats and salt. Mix on low speed until just blended.
- Fold in trail mix.
- Using a cookie scoop, place one-inch balls of dough on a cookie sheet two inches apart.
- Bake cookies for about 8 minutes on the lowest oven rack, switching to the upper oven rack halfway through for evenly baked cookies.
- Let cool on pan one minute before moving to wire racks to cool completely.