So I’m kind of obsessed with trail mix. If it’s got dried fruit and nuts, I’m in. Add some chocolate covered anything and I can’t stay away. And the king of all trail mixes is the orchard blend trail mix from BJ’s. It’s almonds, pistachios, raisins, dried cherries, and dried cranberries. Salty, chewy, crunchy – the whole package. So before I came back down to New Jersey for the school year, I made sure to pick some up on a trip to BJ’s with my dad – two whole bags. For two weeks, I was good. I kept them closed and on a high shelf. Then school started, I opened a bag to bring some as a snack, and it was the beginning of the end.
Now, trail mix, you would assume, is not an unhealthy addiction to have. What could be bad in a handful of nuts and fruit? Nothing, to be sure, unless you eat it in much larger quantities than a handful. So I came up with a solution – I’d bake with some of it. That would keep the portions down to closer to what they should be. And add a yummy sweetness.
But what baked good would best hold up to trail mix? Cookies would probably be fine, but that’s kind of boring. Instead I went with biscotti, which I consider classy cookies that can pass as breakfast. The recipe I have says, “This classic biscotti recipe welcomes the addition of any type of nut or dried fruit that you want. It always works.” It did not disappoint. Feel free to add whatever mix ins you prefer, but this is pretty solid.
First, combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. I finally baked using my scale today, but I’ve included regular volume measurements for those of you who aren’t yet convinced of their awesomeness.
Beat the butter at low speed in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Add the two sugars and beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. I don’t think it’s vital to have them at room temperature, but its also not hard to pull them out when you’re letting the butter soften.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine.
Add the flour mixture and beating until mostly combined. Then, add your mix ins and beat until just combined.
Separate the dough in half and form two logs, about 10 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Make sure to flour your hands – the dough is pretty sticky. Put the logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten on top until maybe an inch-ish thick.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown and soft to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly and lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
When cool enough to handle, cut the logs on the diagonal into about 1/2 inch wide strips.
Place back on baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until dry and golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. As I said, trail mix makes determining the ratios of mix ins easy, but feel free to play with any variation you want. I’ve made biscotti before, so if you want to see another variation, check it out here.
Trail Mix Biscotti
- 1 pound (4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 1/2 ounces (2/3 cup) sugar
- 4 1/2 ounces (2/3 cup) light brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup orchard blend trail mix
- Combine flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer at low speed with the paddle attachment.
- Add sugar and brown sugar and beat at medium speed for about 4 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat until combined.
- Add flour mixture and beat until almost combined. Add trail mix and beat until just combined.
- Separate dough in half and shape into two 10 inch by 1 1/2 inch logs. Put logs on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and, with floured hands, flatten tops.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden and soft to the touch. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool slightly. Lower oven temperature to 300°F.
- When cooled enough to handle, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2 inch strips. Place cut-side down back on the baking sheet and bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and dry. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.