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Trail Snacks with Lentine Alexis

Almond Butter Apple-Cinnamon Skillet Cookie

There are few things that make a trip into the backcountry more memorable than truly excellent snacks. Whether you’re picnicking, hiking, touring, skiing or sledding with your friends this winter, no one will forget noshing on a fat slice of this chewy, cinnamon-y, sweetly satisfying choose-your-own-size cookie, no matter where you enjoy it.

The recipe below calls for ground flaxseed bloomed in water to stand in for the eggs. I love adding this because it’s a great source of protein and healthy fats, and makes the cookie vegan with the simple swap of vegan butter in for the dairy butter. If you don’t have ground flaxseed, you can use two large eggs instead. Likewise, your favorite nut butter could stand in for the almond butter here too. I love coconut sugar because it’s lower on the glycemic index, but packed with flavor. If it’s difficult to find where you live, you an substitute 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar. 

So long as you’re getting to slice yourself a piece of cookie, you’re gonna win the trail snack game! 

For the cookie

makes one 10in cookie

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt, divided
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) + 1 Tbsp room temperature butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
  • 2 cups coconut sugar or brown sugar (OR 1 cup light brown sugar + 1 cup granulated sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed + 6 Tbsp warm water OR two large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter, divided

 

For the crumble topping

  • 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C degree oven, with a rack in the middle. 
  2. Set yourself up with a 10” (25cm) or 11-inch (28cm) ovenproof skillet or pan, one that is at least 2-inches (5 cm) deep. If you’re unsure of the depth, measure, because if you use a skillet that’s too shallow, you’ll have a messy overflow! 
  3. Warm the skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp of the butter. Swirl to coat the pan, making sure you get the butter up on the sides. You’re achieving two things here: first, your greasing your pan so your cookie doesn’t stick and you’re prepping the pan to sauté your apples. 
  4. When the butter is sizzling a bit, add the apples and a pinch of the salt along with ½ tsp of the cinnamon. Sauté the apples until they become soft and fragrant, and acquire a bit of color ~ 5 minutes or so. Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow to cool. Set the pan aside (don’t wash it!) 
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 Tbsp flax meal and the water and allow to stand until it forms a gel ~ 10 minutes or so. 
  6. In another small bowl, prepare the crumble topping. Combine the 2 Tbsp flour with the 1 Tbsp coconut sugar, 2 Tbsp rolled oats, ⅛ tsp of the cinnamon, the 1 Tbsp of almond butter and the ½ Tbsp melted butter. Add a pinch of salt and rub it together with your hands until a crumbly mixture forms, then set aside. 
  7. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, remaining salt, baking soda, ground ginger and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  8. In another large bowl with an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and the coconut sugar. Cream together just until the butter and sugars are blended and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes using the mixer on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl along the way. Add ½ of the quantity of the almond butter to the butter and sugar mixture and blend completely. When the flax mixture is a thick gel, add it along with the vanilla to the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar. Mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again, then add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until the flour is just combined, about 1 minute. The dough will be very thick at this point, so if you need to mix it with your hands – go for it. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl one more time!
  9. You’re almost ready to assemble your cookie. Warm the remaining almond butter so it will be easy to drizzle. Then, transfer half of the dough to the prepared skillet, pressing it out into an even layer. Sprinkle ¾  of the cinnamon apples over the dough, then drizzle with the warmed almond butter. Top with the remaining ½ of the cookie dough, distributing it in big dollops evenly, and then top with the remaining ¼ of the apples. Lastly, sprinkle the cinnamon crumble over the top. Your cookie is ready to bake!
  10. Bake the skillet for 40-50 minutes, or until the dough is a deep golden brown along the edge, and the center has set. If you used eggs instead of flax meal, you may need to bake your cookie a little longer, on account of the additional fat and moisture in that bad boy. (You’ll know it’s done when a clean toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean without crumbs.)

 

Warning: your skillet cookie will slice significantly less easily and be less portable for the trail if you slice into it before it’s completely cool. No judgement, but if you want to pack cookie slices, you gotta be patient. Once the cookie is cool, slice into your preferred size and shape, storing the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge. (Otherwise, you can dig in straight from the oven. Also, a delicious option!)

Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete + classically trained chef . The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well + adventure better. For more recipes + info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis