Inspired by my youngest brother (of Dirty Chai Toddy and Pineapple Express fame – an unexpected but certain muse), these are the kind of road trip snacks you need for the long haul. After graduating from college, he has spent the last year as a wilderness guide in Utah. On a recent trip home, he told me about the great snacks he has been making to keep energized on long trails in the winter. An unlikely mixture of almond butter, nutella, honey, oats, chia seeds, whey powder, coffee grounds, cayenne and a host of other ingredients, he swore by these “amaze balls” as the ultimate trail snack. Which got me thinking, a good trail snack would make a good road trip snack, for all the obvious reasons. Especially if you draw the short straw and find yourself in driver’s seat at times when you’d rather be riding shotgun. Note: The coffee makes these strong - in a good way - so start by making these bite sized. Though my brother swears by the big ones. —gingerroot
makes 9 golf ball size truffles or twice as many bite sized; easily doubled or tripled
1 cup creamy peanut butter, stirred well before measuring if you’ve just opened it
¼ cup honey
½ cup quinoa crisps (found in the bulk bins at my Whole Foods; could substitute crushed crisped rice)
Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Spread coffee beans on a baking sheet. Roast for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Allow beans to cool. Grind in a coffee grinder – not too fine. Combine ground coffee and unsweetened coconut in a small bowl.
Line two 8 inch square pans (or similarly sized pan – can be round or even flat) with parchment paper. Pour coffee-coconut mixture in one of pans, as you would bread crumbs for breading.
Thoroughly combine peanut butter, honey, quinoa crisps and curry in a metal bowl. Cover bowl with plastic and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes.
Lightly spray a melon baller or size 70 scoop with cooking spray. Scoop peanut mixture (generously if you want golf ball sized, conservative if you want smaller) and form a ball in your hands (it should not be sticky). Roll in coffee-coconut mixture until coated on all sides. Make shape adjustments as necessary. Place on second parchment lined pan. Continue until you have used up all the peanut butter mixture. Freeze in pan overnight.
Pack truffles in appropriate road trip snack container and hit the road. They will soften as you travel. Alternatively, if you are planning to eat them sooner, freeze until firm (about an hour or two) and then transfer to the refrigerator. Enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.