Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

After a barbecue, I am typically too full for dessert.  But that’s the beauty of cookies.  If you don’t eat them, no big deal. They’re just cookies.  You eat them the next day after your pork sandwich leftovers.

Oatmeal cookies just out of the oven. (That's a Silpat underneath. They are magic.)

My favorite cookie is the peanut blossom (those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey’s Kiss planted in the middle). But those are way too Christmas-y, so I just don’t make them that often.  My kids like chocolate chips cookies, again, and again, and again, and again. Sigh.

So, when I do get the chance to make cookies when nobody’s begging, I make my second favorite cookie: Oatmeal Raisin.

But I’m picky. As in, annoyingly picky.  So, I posted this Oatmeal cookie manifesto on Facebook last year, and the typical responses I got were either “Yum,” or something along the lines of “I disrespectfully disagree with you,  Jerkface. DISLIKE.”  Oh well, a little hatred is the price I have to pay for the love I have for a really great oatmeal cookie.

Here’s the re-print:

To me, great oatmeal cookies are chewy, sweet and buttery. And they are enhanced by (not overwhelmed by) dried fruit, like raisins. For a long time, I’ve been searching for that perfect recipe which both captures all that good stuff while avoiding cookie atrocities. There are five sins against the oatmeal cookie gods. They are:

1) Spoiling! with Chocolate chips. When you savor an oatmeal cookie, it’s for the brown sugar, honey and cinnamon flavors. Chocolate, while yummy on its own, totally overpowers those flavors and completely ruins the experience. I’m not saying you shouldn’t love chocolate. I’m just saying chocolate chips are as inappropriate as coffee beans or black licorice in an oatmeal cookie.

2) Ruining! by Over-cooking. I could argue that ANY crunchy cookie is sin. But I think crunchy oatmeal cookies are especially defective, because over-cooked oats get an entirely different flavor, almost like toasted pine nuts. Oats are supposed to blend in with the sugar and butter, not take over. If you ever see a crunchy cookie with one bite taken out of it and thrown in the garbage – that was probably me.

3) Destroying! with Nuts. What is it with you nuts-in-your-dessert people? Cakes, brownies, and yes, cookies should not break the crowns on your teeth. They are supposed to be light, sweet and full of air, not boulders. It’s the same motto as the “Ice Cream and Cake Separation Society.” Nuts good, Cookies good, Nuts in Cookies horrible. Feed them to the squirrels.

4) Wrecking! with too much fruit. This recipe suggests raisins and/or dates. Yum. I’ve also had cranberries and currants. All good, IN MODERATION people. What isn’t good is when you give me a brick of fruit, with a little bit of cookie as mortar. It’s the cookie equivalent of pouring too much syrup on your pancakes. Blech.

5) Insulting! us with Cookies shaped like the Superdome. A good cookie is flat, not shaped like a giant crusty wart.

If you’re with me, then you’ll love this recipe.

The recipe is adapted from one featured in Bon Appetit, 2003. I changed it by adding more butter, more honey, less fruit, and eliminating the sin of nuts entirely. But a big nod of appreciation to the creator of the original recipe.

Long before you get started, make sure you soften two sticks of butter in advance. Otherwise, you’re standing there hungry waiting for butter to warm up. That’s no good.
Note: It is not unusual for these cookies to stick a bit to the cookie sheet, so a Silpat non-stick baking mat is a very good idea. Also, note, this recipe makes a LOT of cookies. So, I hope you’re hungry.
Mix in a separate bowl:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
• 1/4 cup and an extra dollop of honey
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 cup OR LESS raisins (or chopped dates, or mix with cranberries or currants)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Blend first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugars in large bowl.
Beat in honey, eggs, and vanilla.
Slowly beat in the flour mixture.
Stir in oats and fruit.
Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing mounds 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies slightly.

(If someone, oh, like your spouse, likes more raisins than this recipe calls for, then this would be a good time to cram some extras on top of a cookie or two.)

Bake cookies until the edges turn light golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. If the cookie edges start to appear dark brown or appear crispy, you’re over-cooking. So, since all ovens are different, it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on them.

Let cool some or even completely on cookie sheet – again, it is not unusual for these cookies to stick a little.


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