Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies


With the start of school, I am stuck with a sense of malaise, mixed with sadness. Mind you, I'm not the one going to school. Having those junior people at home with me for summer's protracted stretch has now left me under a rigorous Attack of the Lonelies. Joined to the hip, maybe not TOH- TAH-LEE, I  suffice to say I will miss my kiddies. Yes, they are. Even the one that towers over me by two heads.

Mom Mind fast forwards to after school treat. It is the first day after all, cookies it shall be. They adore  the oatmeal raisin. Thus comes my confession, I'm not too fond of them. In fact there is no hankering here for a cookie whose ingredients qualify as boring breakfast item.

Mom Mind again compels me to bake them the oatmeal raisin. Perhaps I can find one that exists where the contents would appeal to me, as well. Is that even possible?

My answer came in an America's Test Kitchen cookbook, the fine chefs over there, as per the famous working kitchen's style, took me though a detailed drill on the making of a foolproof Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie. There it was on page 466,  that I found the new breed of oatmeal cookie, one that would make my head spin and my tastebuds do the happy dance. Sans cloying cinnamon, complete with real old fashioned oats, this one had a doozy of unconventional, tastefully scandalous ingredients.

Now shall we discuss the multiple achievement those ingredients accomplished? Through the maintaining of a crisp exterior, the Ultimate One housed a chewy interior which in itself was moist and chunkily textured. Most importantly, this Olympian of a cookie led to my resolute conversion.

I'll let you in on the other noteworthy task Ultimate effortlessly hurdled. It straddled the divide by not only being a resounding child pleaser, but also an elegant adult treat. Can it get any better than this? Yes. With  the colossal stick and a half of butter, it transcends beyond the great.

Make no mistake, these are Exact Opposite of the mishmash known as monster cookie, where a jumble of ingredients amount to nothing taste wise. Quite the contrary, this one is balanced perfectly with tart cherries, studded with crunchy nuts and subtly sweetened with bursts of dark chocolate. "Ohh, Sweet Luscious, where were you all my life"... yes, I did say.

The recipe makes for 16 subtantial chunksters. The same amount that should've been awaiting my very eager kids returning home from their first day, if it weren't for the sad fact that a few may have slipped through the portals of my mouth. Judge me not, people. Go bake and see for yourself.

(Recipe adapted from "The Complete America's Test Kitchen Cookbook")
Ingredients:
  • 1¼ c all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1¼ c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 c dried sour cherries
  • ¾ c semisweet chocolate chunks or chips (preferably Ghirardelli)
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ c packed brown sugar, golden brown
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl mix together oats, almonds, cherries and chocolate chips.
  • On medium speed, beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and take speed down to medium- low to beat for not more than a minute.
  • Decrease mixer speed to low, slowly add in the flour and beat until just blended, 30 seconds.
  • Incorporate oat mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  • Stir the dough one last time using hand to integrate all ingredients.
  • Take ¼ cup measure from the dough and roll roughly into a ball shape. Repeat for approximately 16 balls.
  • Reel the balls onto baking sheets.
  • Press down each sphere until flattened to thickness of 1 inch.
  • Set sheets in upper middle and lower middle racks of oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway between, edges will be golden brown but the center will be soft and slightly mushy.
  • Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, this ensures a final cooking on the pans themselves.
  • Transfer cookies onto wire racks to cool completely.
Notes:
I used ¼ tsp salt instead of the recipe's recommendation for ½ tsp, substituted chopped walnuts for the pecans (almonds would also work great). I also added in ¼ c of white chocolate chips in half the recipe along with reducing the semisweet which I didn't mention above (a good addition, as well).
******
 Priceless, because you are ~

"You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are". ~Max Lucado


22 comments:

  1. Another delicious looking recipe and beautiful photos! You are such an inspiration!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ms B. You are great inspiration to myself, as well, friend. TC :))

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  2. Hands down you get the yummiest school snacks giver award my friend - going to school would be much easier knowing these stunning cookies were waiting for you! :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Aww, thanks Uru. First days are always rough. If you weren't so far away , you could've dropped in too- but then I'm sure a bevy of treats await a super blogger in her own home, right? ;)

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  3. Thanks Tisa .. that was so sweet.. me on a vacation in India... I was running around too much so didn't get chance to write any.. your cookies look great.. take care

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    1. Yes, I was wondering why you were MIA for a while. Miss you and your wonderful posts, friend. Have fun and eat some goodies for me, too.

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  4. Wow,so crisp & perfect baked goodies..love to dip it in my chai and have few:-)

    Ongoing Events of EP Series @ Spicy Aroma

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    1. Thank you Julie, a good chai dipper they will be :))

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  5. i adore max lucado - such wisdom! fabulous cookies... yum!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Thanks Ally! His words of wisdom can really be a refresher for those under the weather days :)

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  6. Delicious Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, I like raisins combo though. Yummy snack to pack.

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  7. This looks amazing! Thank you for sharing :). Glad I found your awesome blog!!
    xoxo
    Ash
    http://abpetite.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Ashley! So appreciate your sweet words.

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  8. These look so good! Love your photos :)

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/

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  9. They look delicious. Oat cookies are the best!

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  10. Made these - delicious! thanks for the recipe :)

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    1. Thank you Lisa! It's nice encouragement when someone does actually try a recipe and like it. Loved your comment:D

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!