Friday, January 18, 2013

Cubicle kitchen: Trail Mix Blondies

Having tested the strength of my co-workers' resolutions enough for the time being, I thought I would give them a break this week with a treat that is actually pretty good for them.  Of course, that still doesn't make it a diet-friendly snack, but it is a treat with a lot of redeeming nutritional value.

Last week, I raided my candy stash for cookies.  This week, I took a look at all of the dried fruit that I had, and thought that mixing those together would be a good idea.  And then, when I gave blood, trail mix was one of the offerings on the recuperation table.  I brought my own apple to boost my sugar levels, so instead I pocketed a bag of mix to add in.  A few additional nuts, and I had plenty of trail mix to bake into something.  I had already done cookies, and these were likely too heavy to incorporate easily into a cake, so brownies made sense.  But I wanted to make this a chocolate-free treat (just for the sake of it), so blondies it was.

I started off with a recipe from Little Bitty Bakes, but switched up a few things to make it even easier to convince my co-workers that they could justify eating a piece or two.  I replaced some of the butter with mashed banana, which I have on hand in my freezer anyway.  Whenever I get bananas, I tend to get a few extra than I think I'll eat fresh, then chop the rest up and freeze for just such an occasion.  I also substituted honey for some of the white sugar, because I like the flavor, and it made sense with my trail mix theme.  I could almost imagine justifying them as a breakfast item.  It's certainly no sweeter than, say, a strawberry danish or something.  And much better for you overall.

Another successful treat, the first 20 were gone by around lunch, and the next 20 were shared between our group's coffee meet-up and another office area where I dropped off the leftovers.  Spreading the wealth, you might say.  Or cultivating cross-team cooperation, if you want business-speak.

Trail Mix Blondies
(adapted from Little Bitty Bakes)
makes a 9x13" pan

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used the equivalent in Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups mix of nuts and dried fruit of your choice*, roughly chopped
*I included: cashews, peanuts, almonds, pecans, banana chips, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, apricots, mangoes, pineapples, candied lemon, etc.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into your pan.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and mashed banana.  Add the honey, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Separately, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder, then slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, until everything is combined.
  4. Fold in your dried fruit and nuts until combined.  Pour batter into your pan, spreading evenly.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the edges are firm and golden, and a knife comes out clean from the center.
  6. After cooling, cut into squares.


  1. Keeping frozen banana around is a good idea! I always have one or two go bad on me.

    1. I freeze everything I can. Most fruits and things can be used in their thawed form for baking or as oatmeal add-ins at least, and then they don't go to waste. Helps curb any fears about not eating them in time that might keep me from purchasing them in the first place.