Once upon a time, a mere 24 years ago, I was a Girl Scout. My similarly-dressed companions and I met weekly to construct picture frames out of popsicle sticks and paste, act out skits about leaving things better than found, and to sing songs about friendship. We even camped out in the park, with three shrieking gap-toothed girls and a mom in each tent. Every Girl Scout had a sash, and donned varying degrees of flair, earned for such tasks as being crafty, selling cookies, swimming and what not.
Serious stuff this girl scouting was, and such extreme sporting called for an extreme snack. We called it gorp. The moms gathered ingredients from far and wide; pretzel sticks, colored mini marshmallows, M&Ms, peanuts, raisins, and any number of kid-friendly cereals, all to be expertly shaken up in a big paper grocery bag and distributed by the handful into little ziploc bags.
As fantastic as gorp was, I’ve moved on to less processed snack options. Like gorp, however, this is a recipe is perfect for when you’re feeling like getting your snack on. It’s like a granola bar and a cookie all wrapped into one, and reminds me of carrot cake. The dark chocolate chunks may fool you into thinking you’re eating something completely indulgent. Go ahead and tell yourself that, but your body will know that this ain’t no white-flour-no-nutrition-at-all indulgence. It’s filled with whole grains, oats, carrots, and just a few little sweet extras to make it into a little treat.
In the spirit of gorp, feel free to toss in whatever dried fruits or nuts you have on hand–as long as you keep the ratio of liquids to solids the same, you’ll be golden. I can imagine a salted pistachio honey sweetened cookie as a future improvisation. If you do a little experimenting, I’d love to hear what variations you come up with! We may not be girl scouts anymore, and we may not sing songs of friendship (at least not in public), but we’re still bound together as sisters (and brothers) in the spirit of gorp by the universal need to snack!
Vegan Trail Mix Cookies
Adapted from Hope 360, a publication I picked up at the health food store check-out stand
Makes about 30 cookies
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour*
1 cup shredded carrot
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut (shredded or finely chopped)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix the flour, oats, sugars, carrot, coconut, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together water, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry. Stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips, pecans, and cranberries.
Scoop the batter by two rounded tablespoons each onto a baking sheet, pushing in any stray pieces. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool for 2 minutes on the pan, and then remove to a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, the cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for three or four days (that is, if they are not eaten first!).
*If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, substitute 3/4 cups all purpose flour and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour.