AN ARRAY OF RECIPES AND TIPS
"IN THE STYLE OF" GRAHAM
CHOCOLATE CHUNK OATMEAL COOKIES WITH PECANS AND DRIED CHERRIES
I have certain moments in my day-to-day life where I freak out and have to clean my house and then that is followed by a serious need to bake...today was one of those days and unfortunately it coincided with 90 degree weather. While the rest of my family was outside swimming and enjoying the day, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, the fronts of my cupboards and thinking about the perfect cookie flavor combinations. Can you tell I am stressed? This is what I do when I am stressed...Clean, Bake, Eat.
Anyway... these cookies are good! So good that when I was baking the last batch I went to the kitchen when I heard the timer and saw 6 missing cookies from the cooling racks. I thought "wow, 6 cookies in less than 15 minutes is impressive!" However, it came to mind that it could've been this little thief that lives in my house and sleeps in my bed...BUDDY.
He has been known to help himself to whatever he feels like...
One pound of butter with a side of cardboard...missing
17 Christmas cookies in the front row with slober still on the waxed paper...missing
Luckily my husband fessed up this time and Buddy was in the clear...as well as the rest of oatmeal cookies.
I learned a few years ago that dried cherries and chocolate are my favorite combination of flavor in cookies. The tart cherry flavor really compliments the richness of the chocolate...you have to try them.
Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, May 2005
Makes 20 Cookies
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries or cranberries, chopped coarse
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces about the size of chocolate chips
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
NOTE: Original recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Use parchment paper to line several standard baking sheets and set aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on medium-low, add the egg, vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to low, and add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, cherries and chocolate. Do not over mix. Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to give the dough a final stir and make sure that all the ingredients are incorporated.
I use the Pampered Chef Large Scoop when making these cookies (approximately measures 3 tablespoons). Scoop cookies and drop on parchment lined baking sheets.
NOTE: the original recipe suggests using an ice cream scoop to measure 1/4 cup portions of dough. If you use this amount of dough per cookie you will need to bake for approximately 20 minutes and the total yield will be 16 cookies.
Bake until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle, about 15 minutes. You might think that they're undercooked, but you're wrong - resist the urge to over bake, they will set up further as they cool.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.