Pistachio Happy Trails Cookies (Date Sweetened, Grain-Free, Dairy Free)
Collecting early-season wild blueberries along the wet trail. Sounds: a rushing stream, wind in the leaves, mockingbirds chirp chattering, the soft hum of bumblebees dipping in and out of the laurel blossoms. I take a swig of water. There's nothing but this, the sun painting patterns onto the trail, the sound of my husbands steps behind me, my breath moving in and out of my lungs, cool water quenching my thirst. And then a sighing breeze tunneling up the side of the mountain at a craggy overlook, where through-hikers have carved their nicknames into the rocks. Starburst, Old Crow, Astronaut. Logan unzips his pack and pulls out sandwiches, almonds, a cold bottle of unsweet iced tea, a mini bottle of red wine, a bar of chocolate. It's good to see the valley all green and full of life. It's a relief, remembering that we humans haven't yet destroyed all things good and green in this world.
When I go hiking I always bring snacks with me. I call it snack-packing. Because, let's be real, all of that talk about going on a hike to "connect with nature" and/or "get in some exercise" is a facade for the real reason we go hiking: to eat good food at the overlooks. Pesto sandwiches & red wine just taste better on top of a mountain. Especially after a heady, uphill work-out and all of that heavy breathing. Everyone knows that.
When I'm not packing a legit lunch for my trek, I usually have low-sugar, hemp-heavy protein bars or raw nori wraps or nut & fruit trek mix. Ideally, I have some sort of snack I've made before hand, like hummus & crackers, hemp tahini date caramel bars, or these pistachio Happy Trails cookies.
These cookies serve well as trail food, although we've been eating them as a simple-sweet dessert (regularly... excessively). We had a couple with coffee this morning and hoo boy! Delicious. Pistachio + tangy-sweet gojis + chocolate + dates + bitter-aromatic cacao nibs. The resulting cookie is pure, soft, cakey cookie perfection. And they whip up in under 30 minutes!
These cookies are soft and keep best in the fridge or freezer. They're perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up or an on-the-go breakfast too! Enjoy :)
- 1 cup pistachio nutmeats
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12-13 fresh medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 farm fresh egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (70% or higher)
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- handful cacao nibs
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with an S blade, process the pistachio nutmeats into a rough flour.
- Add the almond meal, baking powder, and baking soda and pulse to combine.
- Add half of the pitted dates and process until your mix is sandy. Add the second half of the dates and process for about 30 seconds until you have an even mix and the dates have broken down into the flour.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, egg, vanilla, and vinegar, stirring with a fork to break the yolk and meld everything loosely together.
- Add the wet mix to the food processor and blend until you have a sticky dough.
- Scrape the dough out into a medium mixing bowl and fold in the pistachios, chopped chocolate, goji berries, and cacao nibs.
- Scoop out tablespoon-sized amounts of the dough, roll the dough into balls and place the balls about 2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheets. Using either your palm or a fork, flatten the dough balls gently to about 1 inch thick. The mix is very sticky; keep a wet paper towel around to wipe off your hands so that you can flatten the dough with your hands more easily as you go. If you're flattening the balls with a fork (creating a ridged pattern), dip in water and wipe the fork off occasionally to make the process easier.
- Bake for 8 minutes on the center rack, one tray of cookies at a time.
- Let cool 5 minutes before digging in.
- Cookies can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 4 weeks, or refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week.