Saturday, February 27, 2010

Raindrops on roses...

On days when our house just can't seem to get warm I like to bake cookies. The oven is normally on for a few hours, and everybody, of course, is perfectly fine with the fact that the house is warm and there are fresh, homemade cookies to be found. I have tried a few different varieties, but cookies are one area that I don't really stray from the mainstays: chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, refrigerator (at Christmas) and every once in a while I will do something different, like peanut butter thumbprints (I know that isn't really different), or I will add different types of chocolate chips or perhaps toffee chips (divine!). Now, perhaps you noticed a very common cookie that I didn't include in that list, namely, oatmeal raisin. There is a reason for that. I am not was not terribly fond of oatmeal raisin cookies, and I have a very valid reason for that. Have you noticed that the raisins get this burned taste? Maybe you like that, but raisins are not my favorite to begin with, so then when they taste burned I pretty much have no desire to eat them. I like the cookie part of oatmeal cookies, so I have often considered altering the recipe slightly, i.e. omitting the raisins, but I just haven't gotten around to doing it.
Lately, though, I have been purchasing my rolled oats in bulk from a large warehouse store (read: Costco). I use it for a myriad of things I cook, from meatballs to butternut squash muffins, and rolled oats are better for you than instant oatmeal, so I try to fix that for breakfast about twice a week. Anyway. I have a lot, I mean a lot of oatmeal laying around, so I decided to look in my no-fail recipe book and make some oatmeal cookies from that recipe.
I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins, and added semi-sweet chocolate chips, just because chocolate is good in everything. Well, almost. They were awesome! The cookie is so soft and chewy, with a very buttery flavor accented with just the right amount of sweetness. We couldn't stop eating them. My Dad named them his new favorite cookie.

The next time I made them I used white chocolate instead of the semi-sweet, and that was also wonderful. A little on the sweet side, but if you are a sugar fiend like my sister you will really enjoy that.
The variations are virtually limitless. We like dried cranberries a lot. If you like dried apricots, that would be delicious with the white chocolate chips also. Just about any dried fruit would be great and you could put white, semi-sweet, milk chocolate or dark chips. Coconut, walnuts, pecans or almonds would be absolutely incredible!
I recommend making a double batch and sharing with your friends or the elderly in your neighborhood or church-they will love you for it!

Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 48 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats or quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 or more baking sheets with vegetable-oil cooking spray or line with parchment paper or silpat.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
Stir together the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy and blended. Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture in two additions and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the dry ingredients, and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Stir in the oatmeal, cranberries and chocolate chips.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden and the centers are barely cooked, about 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.

Bake half the cookie dough, then wrap the rest in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for later baking. The dough keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator and 1 month frozen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts