So picture this…. one day you’re sitting on your couch, rump firmly planted into the cushion, checking your blog email when out pops an invitation to create a recipe for an upcoming movie. And not just any movie mind you. We’re talking The Croods; a Dreamworks animation, 3D, “croodatiously” awesome kind of flick.
Well, as you can imagine, I was all over it like chocolate on an ice cream sundae. The only challenge is… what the heck do you make for an animated caveman family? I read a bit about the story line, met a few of the characters like Eep (the rebellious teenage daughter) and Guy (the independent and intelligent free spirit) and watched the movie’s trailer more times than I’d like to admit (yes I love watching previews nearly as much as the movie itself).
I pondered my options and finally came up with the idea of a prehistorically pleasurable trail mix. After all, the Croods are on an adventure of a lifetime. Certainly they’re going to need a bag of “toss and eat” energy for the journey, right? I know I would.
This version is loaded with all forms of nuts and berry to delight even the most primitive palate. I kicked it up a notch by creating a simple yet satisfying granola for the mix that adds a bit of crunch and flavor uniqueness. Making a batch is simple.
For the granola simply toss a bunch of earthy ingredients into a bowl including such delights as oats, flax, almond meal and maple syrup. I also channeled my inner “rebellious Eep” and added a little orange zest and a squeeze of fresh juice to help it stand out from the crowd.
Mix it all together and spread out on a baking sheet. Cavemen might have cooked this in a makeshift dutch oven over the open fire, but fortunately for us, we’ve got real ovens.
Take this opportunity to heat up yours and cook the granola until lightly brown and slightly crunchy (It will harden more as it cools).
Finally, once it’s cooled add various nuts and twigs to your liking. Ideal trail mix should be a combination of protein (nuts), complex carbohydrates (dried fruit and veggies), and fat (eh hem… that would be chocolate for us sweet lovers). I added dried blueberries, dried cherries, roasted coconut, pistachios and sliced almonds to mine.
There are no hard and fast rules for mixes, so channel your own inner Eep and get creative!
Finally, we did talk chocolate right? If you’re going to go that route, (and seriously, why wouldn’t you) try drizzling a little extra dark over the top for a finishing touch. It allows you to get a bit more flavor bang for a little bit less of the caloric buck while at the same time granting you the enjoyment of a sweet burst with each and every bite. And let’s all be honest and admit that the chocolate is by far the best part of trail mix in the first place. You know I’m right.
Once dry, load the finished mix into an air tight container and indulge at will.
Be sure to head out to the theaters on March 22nd and check out my new friends, The Croods. And to learn more about the upcoming movie, head over and pay a visit to the official sites below. See you at the movies!
Hashtag #thecroods on Twitter
Yield: 4 to 5 Cups of Trail Mix
Total Time: 30 min
For the Granola:
1 1/2 Cups Oats
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (Can sub all purpose flour)
1/4 Cup Ground Flaxseed
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Melted
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 "Medium Sized Orange" Worth of Zest
1 tsp Fresh Orange Juice (About Half of the Zested Orange, Squeezed)
1/2 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 - 3 oz. Dark Chocolate, Melted (Optional)
For additions, I used 4 oz. dried cherries, 1 oz. dried blueberries, 1 oz. roasted coconut, 2 oz. pistachios and 2 oz. honey roasted almond slivers.
In a large bowl, mix all the granola ingredients, with the exception of the optional chocolate, using a spoon or your hands until well combined.
Dump out onto a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
Let cool completely.
Toss with your choice of additions and store in an airtight container.
For the optional addition of chocolate over your trail mix, place into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds.
Remove from the microwave and stir (Note, you may not be able to stir after the first 30 seconds).
Repeat process until chocolate is 3/4 of the way melted.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until completely melted.
Drizzle with a spoon over the mix and allow to cool completely before storing.
Note: This post has been sponsored by Dreamworks Animation and 20th Century Fox. As always, all opinions are my own.