Trail mix is a term that refers to mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolate chips/M&Ms and other similarly small items that is meant to be an easy to eat, high energy snack. Trail mix gets its name because it is the ideal snack for hikers and campers, as it can be very filling and is easy to store. You can make it with any combination of ingredients you like, or simply buy a premade mix at the store. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, you’ve probably noticed that the store carries an unusually large variety of trail mixes. One of my favorites is the Sweet, Salty and Tart Trail Mix that includes peanuts, almonds, cashews, dried raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.
This particular mix seemed to have a lot of potential for off-trail snacking and I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate it into a recipe for a while (Many bags have been consumed during this process, as I’ll buy one and eat as I think, then have to buy another and start the process again). I finally decided that a hearty breakfast muffin was the way to go, so that I could have a healthy and satisfying breakfast snack that still had a bit of indulgence to it from all the chips in the mix.
The muffins turned out beautifully, and the trail mix was better than I even expected. The variety of chips, nuts and dried fruits in the muffins meant that I never knew what I was going to get with each bite. It ranged from a sweet, melty combination of chocolate and peanut butter chips to a crunchy mouthful of peanuts and buttery cashews. The muffins themselves were light and moist, with a slightly sweet but plain flavor that made them a good back drop for the mix. They were good plain and sliced with some butter on top. They should freeze and reheat fairly well, and since this recipe makes a big batch of muffins (2 dozen), you should be able to save leftovers for later in the week easily.
Trail Mix Muffins
The trail mix might include chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, dried cranberries, dried raisins, almonds, cashews, peanuts or pecans. Feel free to use a homemade mix, or your favorite store-made mix. Variety is the key to making these muffins good, so choose something that has a variety of flavors and textures in it!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (plain oatmeal)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups trail mix
Preheat oven to 400F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in trail mix.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Each cup will be about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 24 muffins