No reasonable person tries to make cookies while camping. There’s no oven, no electric mixer, no parchment paper. It’s hopeless! But when you’re on an indefinite road trip and you get a craving for the homemade soft and chewy goodness of a chocolate chip cookie, you find a way to make things happen.
So when a recipe for an Almond Butter No Bake Cookie by Minimalist Baker just happened to appear in our feed, we both knew exactly what we’d be doing the rest of the afternoon. Since we were able to substitute many of the ingredients with ones we already had in our camp pantry, we didn’t actually have to pick up too many items. One quick stop at the store and we were well on our way to having teatime with homemade cookies.
Our first batch tasted great. The flavors were spot on! But they were definitely indoor cookies. Perfect for placing inside a cookie jar, but just a little too delicate for life out on the trail. At the time this wasn’t an issue because we ate the entire first batch in one sitting (#yolo), but it got us thinking about developing an outdoor adventure cookie.
Bake or no-bake, making a great batch of cookies is all about getting the details right. We were working off a solid blueprint, but we needed to make a few alterations given our circumstances. First, we were in the middle of the Sonoran Desert without any means of refrigeration. Most no-bake anything requires you to refrigerate in order to “set” the dough. That just wasn’t going to be possible for us. Once the sun is up, everything is hot in the desert. Second, we were going to be hiking and needed these cookies to survive being knocked around inside our packs.
So what did we do? We experimented with heating the sugar for longer in order to create a semi-caramel that binds all the other ingredients when it cools. The only consideration with this approach is that everything happens very very quickly. If all the ingredients aren’t added at the right moment it either all flops apart like a big hot mess or it fuses itself to the wall of your pot like cement. We failed in both directions while testing this before we finally got the timing just right.
The cookies set after 30 minutes and have a slightly softer texture than a Clif bar. But making the cookies wasn’t enough, we needed to field test them, too. So we put them in a plastic bag and took them on a hike into Saguaro National Park.
At lunch time we pulled them out, after being stuffed in a backpack all day, and to our surprise, they were still looking pretty fresh. These cookies could hang! We ate most of them right there, but a few of them made it all way back with us to camp and served as our post-dinner dessert.
So if you’re looking to take your camp cooking skills to the next level: “no-bake baking”, then this cookie recipe is for you. Wow your friends, delight your loved ones, and satisfy your cookie craving with these No Bake Coconut Almond Trail Cookies.
No Bake Coconut Almond Trail Cookies
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon coconut milk powder mixed into 2 tablespoons water (or 2 tablespoons light coconut milk)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 1 oz dark chocolate chopped into chunks
- PREP THE DRY INGREDIENTS: Place the almond meal, hemp seeds, rolled oats, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- COOK THE SUGAR MIXTURE: In a small pot, bring the coconut sugar, coconut milk, and coconut oil to a boil over medium heat. Allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes, stirring only if you need to incorporate the ingredients. You're looking for the mixture to thicken up and become a little stringy (opposed to saucy) if you lift your spoon out of the mixture.
- MIX IN THE ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS: Stir in the almond butter until smooth and take off the heat. Add in the bowl of dry ingredients (almond meal, hemp seeds, oats, cardamom, and salt) and stir to coat.
- FORM THE COOKIES: Using a spoon, scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball, pressing the mixture together. Set the cookie on a plate and press down slightly to flatten. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once all the cookies have been formed, you can press the chopped dark chocolate on to the tops of the cookies. Let the cookies set and firm up for about 30 minutes.
- STORE: Once the cookies are done setting, place them in a ziplock baggie or tupperware to take on your hike!
What’s your favorite trailside snack? Let us know in the comments!