Trail Snacks: Project #ExpiredTrailMix

“So many preservatives,” L scoffed. “That stuff will be good forever!”
“Expired is my favorite ingredient,” J added.

Following my return home from the hospital I moved out of the so-called-sorority and into B’s bachelor pad. In doing inventory/ re-org of his kitchen – the job of every good girlfriend, haha – I came across 3X 1kg Costco bags of trail mix, expired 2015, in the pantry. I’d also returned to The Other Bachelor Pad and brought over a kg bag of hazelnuts, also circa 2015. Among other expired stuff was molasses (2015), corn syrup (2015), baking powder (2006), baking soda (20??), baking chocolate (2015), and some seriously vintage cinnamon and other spices. These bachelors do not bake.

“I’m picturing the Old Spice guy in the kitchen,” K mused.

And therein was born Project #expiredtrailmix.

Here are some best-of from the month! Obviously old nuts and seeds won’t have the same nutritional value as fresh, and you can always use them as-is in cooking too (mint-cashew-couscous anyone?). I’ve put measurements in volume, though some of the original recipes are by weight. I didn’t move my kitchen scale until later… Try explaining the necessity of having a kitchen scale to Some Bachelors.


IHeartOats, adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess
3 cups rolled oats
¼ tsp baking soda
Tbsp melted butter
Pinch of salt
Couple small handfuls of trail mix
Yield approx. 20 crisp thin cookies.
Mix all and add water until a thick paste forms upon kneading. Roll and cut. Bake 400F for 20min. (Alternatively can add peanut butter to the mix for more flavor.)

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Biscotti, from Golden Boy Oregon Hazelnuts
I like to use brown sugar.
¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup hazelnuts
Shape dough into 2 logs ½ inch X 12 inch. Bake at 350F for 30 min or until edges golden. Cool slightly and slice. Bake 5 min, flip, bake another 5 min.

Green Olive Whole Wheat, from Daniel Leader’s Simply Great Breads
This is my go-to recipe for daily bread, using good quality stone ground flour. I also often do it with apricots or raisins, and maple syrup instead of honey. Sitting there separating out the components of trail mix is rather soothing, and satisfying, in a way.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp yeast (one 7g package)
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ cup room temp water
2 large eggs, room temp
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup olives
Mix all and knead 4-6 min. Rest 1.5 to 2 hrs until doubled. Shape (I like rolling out 3 logs and braiding them like challah) and dust with flour. Rest 1.5 to 2 hrs. Brush with egg wash (use a third egg); this is good for shiny good looks and equally importantly for “gluing” expired trail mix to the surface of the loaf. Bake at 350F for 40 min. If baking in 2 small loaf pans it’s still 40 minutes in The Bachelor’s oven, strangely.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
I truly abhor dried fruit but anyway, abstinence would negate the whole point of Project #expiredtrailmix. Having said that, my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe is by far Martha’s Oatmeal Cranberry cookies, which I first made for Christmas 2004 and regularly since, but which recipe I lost during my move. I was too lazy to find the recipe again so adapted one that was readily on hand. Surely it’s online. These ones are pretty good, with the benefit of being whole wheat.
3 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ heaping tsp ground cinnamon – heaping because the cinnamon is elderly and requires more for the same potency…
½ tsp salt
2 sticks room temp butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raisins
Yields lots. Like 5 dozen, for 1 ½ inch balls. Flatten the balls slightly unless you want them softer and more rounded like drop cookies. Bake 350F for 14 minutes.

Pepper Onion and Sunflower Seed buns, adapted from Daniel Leader’s Simply Great Breads
This is a bialy recipe, substituting poppy seeds (non-existent in B’s kitchen) with sunflower seeds (plenty thereof). I first made these in 2013 for a bake sale at work, and a particularly snippety colleague did not believe that they were home-made. She pretty much accused me of lying. The secret of the textbook look is to dust the buns with flour before baking. Anyway, this recipe is so easy, and the crumb is really soft and airy with a chewy slightly crunchy crust. They’re good for freezing once baked, putting them out to defrost overnight for breakfast eating on the bus. You really should re-warm them in the oven for best results, but ain’t nobody got time for that!
1 ½ cups room temp water
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (a 7g package)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
Knead 5-6 minutes. Rest until doubled, 2 hrs. Divide into 10 pieces and shape into rounds (use 2 baking sheets). Dust with flour and rest 1.5 hrs. Press thumbs into each round and make a “pizza” – i.e. a well for filling. Prick well with fork to prevent from bubbling up in oven. Place heaping tbsp. of filling in each. Bake 450F for 7-9 min. Keeps up to 1 month in freezer.
Filling:
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add 1 cup finely chopped onion + 1 tbsp seeds + s&p. Stir until translucent but not starting to color, 5-7min. Set aside to cool completely.

Ne Plus Ultra Cookies, from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Well anything with “ultra” in its name is worth trying. Actually these are real good, just what you imagine coming out of a good ole North American kitchen. And you get to use up 2 whole cups of trail mix!
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup packed brwn sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar (I don’t use this)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans
Yields 1 dozen using 2 ½ inch balls. I make them substantially smaller for a higher yield. Watch the spread; space well apart. Bake 350F for 20 min. There’s lots of variation on these. I always like cinnamon.

Trail Mix Bars, from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
The original recipe uses pecans. I threw in trail mix. It’s basically a shortbread base with a sticky topping. I cut them in 1 inch by 2 inch bars so as not to overwhelm… Yields 9X13 pan.
Crust:
2 ¼ sticks room temp butter
¾ cups light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
3 cups butter
Dough should come together in large clumps. Press into pan and prick with the tines of a fork. Bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.
Use any toffee topping. Martha’s recipe calls for 1 cup unsalted butter, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 2 tbsp heavy cream, ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil until coats back of spoon, then stir in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 cups of pecan halves. Spread over crust and bake at 325F for 15-20 min. I used parchment liner but actually it didn’t look like it would stick to the pan too much.

Enjoy!

Seeing as I’ve still got over 1.5kgs of trail mix to use up, let me know if you’ve got a great recipe to share! Project #expiredtrailmix is extending into Feb…

 

 

 

 

 

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