Grown-Up Oatmeal Cookies

2 Sep

not just for kids anymore...

Immediately upon my return home, two pressing opportunities for baking presented themselves: (1) I have a month’s worth of treats to provide as a thank-you for a friend who has given me rides to and from the airport, and helped me retrieve my yowling and unhappy cat from the apartment she lived at over the summer, and (2) my boyfriends’ family is visiting town.

While my friend is pretty easy to please when it comes to baked goods, I have the feeling that my boyfriends’ parents have tastes that are a little bit more particular. Accordingly, I wanted to make something that managed to be both comforting and sophisticated, as well as something that could be stored in a hotel room for a few days and eaten on the go while running errands to Ikea or grocery shopping. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with oatmeal of late, so something oat-based seemed called for. While stumbling around online I came across both these and these, and I made my decision.

portable & delicious

I used the Smitten Kitchen recipe as a base, but I wasn’t thrilled about all of the ingredients. For one thing, I use semi-sweet chocolate chips in most of my cookies, so I felt like mixing it up a bit. The spices also seemed to lack the potency I was dreaming of – I wanted a melding of unexpected flavours – something akin to a poetic conceit, but in terms of recipe ingredients rather than metaphorical components. What I wanted was a cookie as delicious as those that I remember from my childhood, with a slightly more adult twist in terms of flavouring. My solution?

"who knows what spices"

he who controls the spice....

pecans & toasted almond slivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I was eager to incorporate the grated orange zest that gave the Smitten Kitchen variety its unexpected flavour, I amped up and added a number of different spices, tossed in a teaspoon of maple extract in addition to the vanilla extract, switched semi-sweet chips for coarsely chopped white chocolate, compensated for less chocolate by incorporating dried cranberries and finally adding toasted almond slivers as an afterthought.

it was really hard not to completely demolish the white chocolate prior to baking

"unexpected" ingredients

I must admit, I was a little bit uncertain about how well this would work out. The hubris of combining vanilla + maple + orange + cardamom + white chocolate seemed potentially disastrous. Then I got to this stage:

It was really, really difficult to not eat all of this in one fell swoop.

cookie batter cocaine

After sampling the batter quite liberally, I realized (with my customary blend of modesty and humility), that I am a genius. Because I didn’t go overboard on the most potent ingredients (only one tsp of maple extract and 1/4 tsp of cardamom), they produced a medley that managed to preserve all of the nuances of the individual flavours (citrus, syrup & spice in particular) without being overwhelming. Quite frankly I wish that I could bottle the scent of these cookies baking and sell it in candle form, because I think I would make a killing.

the oatmeal cookie, all grown up

the finished product

And without further ado, I present the recipe for these testimonies to my sheer, unfettered genius:

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • Two large eggs
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 2 tbsp
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 & 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers (you can toss them in a toaster oven or real oven)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

First, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Next, beat the butter for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy, then incorporate both sugars, salt, and both the maple and the vanilla extract. Once the wet ingredients are incorporated, beat in both eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together all of of the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda & spices. Slowly beat the mixed dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then begin to stir in all of the “extras” – the oats, chocolate, nuts and dried fruit – with a wooden spoon. Use about a tablespoon of dough per cookie and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. I baked them for 10-11 minutes a batch, until the cookies had turned a light golden colour. The recipe produced about 46 cookies, and that was with me eating a lot of the batter during the baking process.

a pretty nifty present

Thankfully I had the foresight to purchase a tin to put them in.

Anyhow, the upshot of this all is that I have a new favourite cookie recipe, and you should go try it out, post-haste. You’ll be immediately converted, I swear!

i couldn't resist one more high-definition shot

You should go make a batch. Right now.

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