12 Trail Gifts for under $50, Day 12

Gift 12: Trail Mix Cookies

12 gifts

My mom’s fruit balls are great on a Christmas cookie platter & in your backpack

Make your hiker some delicious trail mix cookies that will fuel them through winter adventures.

My grandpa was tired of fruit cake. He decided that making fruit cake cookies might be a much better take on the classic lead brick of candied fruit & nuts in a bread pan. My mom added the “fruit balls” to her amazing Christmas cookie repertoire, but put her Northern California twist on the recipe. She decided to use dried fruit and raw nuts in her fruit balls, but would add in the bright red candied cherries as festive color pop that my grandparents could recognize.

I have taken the fruit ball recipe a step further, saying goodbye to the candied cherries & adding in trail mix. Each December I dig through my hiking food box and pull out all my remnant trail mix, buy any extra fruit & nuts I need, and whip up a batch of fruit balls. This recipe is a great way to make sure you keep your trail mix stock pile fresh. The fruit balls themselves have a long shelf life. I usually toss a bag in the freezer and pull them out for summer adventures months later.

12 gifts

Leftover trail mix from the previous season can be transformed into a delicious cookie


2 lbs nuts (pecans & cashews are my favorite, but almonds, hazel nuts, and anything else will do too)

3 lbs dried fruit, chopped into bite sized bits. I usually use a mix of dried cranberries, cherries, pineapple, figs, apricots, and peaches. The smaller berries are the perfect size, but chopping the bigger fruits makes the cookies easier to eat.

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

12 gifts

Chop larger fruits into bite sized bits

Step 1:

12 gifts

all the fruit prepared for mixing with nuts

Chop fruit, blend nuts and fruit in a large bowl.

12 gifts

Combine fruit & nuts into a large bowl, Mix batter in a smaller separate bowl

Step 2: In a separate smaller bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and eggs to create the batter.

Step 3: pre-heat oven to 275’F

12 Gifts

Mixing the batter into the fruit & nuts could be considered strength training

Step 4: Add batter to the large bowl of nuts and fruit. Mix thoroughly to coat all the fruit & nuts. This can be best done by hand.

Step 5: Using a spoon press mix into balls & place on a greased cookie sheet.

Step 6: Bake until batter is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Package or store.

Step 7: Enjoy someplace outside, by a fire place, or around the table with family…

Merry Christmas!

12 gifts

Give some unique & tasty fruit balls as Christmas cookies!