Monday, May 21, 2007

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These are some of my favorite cookies! They taste very similar to one of those chewy granola bars which only pass for "healthy" because they have granola in the name...! There are so many combinations of goodies that you can use for this recipe - be sure to check out the modifications section at the bottom. The first recipe is for my favorite way to make them - Oatmeal, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

This will make about 60 cookies (I usually half the recipe. However; they can be frozen so feel free to make them all!)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats (regular oatmeal)
1 tsp. cinnamon
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar if necessary)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
4 ounces (about 1 cup) coarsely chopped walnut pieces
1 cup (1 6-oz bag) semisweet chocolate chips

3 or 4 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment paper or foil (or one of those silicone baking mats - not sure how I lived without mine!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Stir to mix well.

3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well mixed, about a minute. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.

4. Lower the mixer speed and beat in the flour and oatmeal mixture, then add the raisins, nuts, and chips. I also like to give it a final mix by hand.

5. Drop teaspoons of the batter about 3-4 inches apart (they really don't spread much) on the prepared pans. Flatten the mounds with the back of a fork.

6. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes (the original recipe says 15-20; I only give mine 12-13... be sure to check on them!) or until they spread and color evenly and become firm.

7. Slide the papers off the pans onto racks.

8. After the cookies have cooled, detach them from the paper and store them between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a plastic container with a tight-fitting cover. If you'd like to freeze them, just place them in freezer-safe zipper bags, remove the air, and seal tightly.

*My husband does not really care for dried fruit or nuts in cookies so I just make oatmeal-chocolate chip for him. If you want to make 60 of these cookies, just make sure you add a total of 3 1/2 cups of chocolate chips. The rest of the above ingredients remain the same. For 30 cookies (I usually make 30 of his and 30 of the above recipe), you will need 1 3/4 cups of the chips. Half the rest of the above ingredients. You can also use these to make a plain oatmeal-raisin cookie.

*Try substituting pecans for the walnuts. I've also thought about trying almonds in these.

*Instead of the dried cranberries, you can use dark raisins or golden raisins. The fruit is really a preference thing. I think the cranberries add a nice tang which balances well with all the sweet flavors. You could even mix 1/2 cranberries and 1/2 raisins.

*Really, you can use any combination of raisins/cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts. If you are making 60 cookies, just be sure to add in 3 1/2 cups total of the chips/fruits/nuts. For 30 cookies, use 1 3/4 cups (I like to use 1/2 cup nuts, 1/2 cup cranberries/raisins, and 5/8 cup chocolate chips - that's 1/2 + 1/8 cup for those of you who don't like math!)

*Be creative and try your own combinations! :)

Another great one from Nick Malgieri!
Malgieri, Nick (2000). Cookies Unlimited. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.: New York, NY.

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