Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 5: Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever

Best Oatmeal Cookie Ever: Chocolate Chunk, Pecan, Dried Cherries

Today's cookie is a little late in the day but trust me, they are worth the wait. When I asked Steven what cookies I should make for the 12 days, the first thing he said were "Oatmeal!" Oatmeal cookies are his favorite but this ain't your average oatmeal raisin. These are absolutely, positively the best oatmeal cookies ever. Ever. They're big, they're chewy, and they're loaded with chocolate chunks, pecans, and dried cherries in every bite. It doesn't get much better than that. Out of the six cookies (including the one for tomorrow) I've baked so far, Steven deemed these the best yet but there's still six more cookies to go.

You can substitute walnuts or hazelnuts for the pecans (but I love pecans so I never use anything else), and dried cranberries (what I did since I ran out of dried cherries) for the dried cherries. You can also use quick cooking oats but the cookies will be slightly less chewy.

Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks, Pecans, and Dried Cranberries
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/4 C AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 old fashioned rolled oats
1 C toasted pecans, chopped
1 1/4 C dried cranberries
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips or 4 oz. bar of semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 C packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Chop the dried cherries.

Pour about 1/2 C of hot water on them to soften them. This way they retain some meaty chew and don't dry out in the oven. Chop the toasted pecans and bar of chocolate.

In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, toss the pecans, chocolate chunks, and oats. Drain the cranberries.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer beat the butter until fluffy, add the brown sugar and beat again. Then add the egg and vanilla, scrape down the bowl, and beat until throroughly mixed. Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough starts to come together. Then add the oats mixture and cranberries and continue to beat until everything is evenly distributed.

Using a large 1/4 C ice cream/cookie scoop divide the dough into 16 portions exactly making sure the cookies are all the same size. Roll them into a ball then flatten them until they are about 3/4 inch thick. Stagger the cookies about 3 inches apart. My cookie sheet can hold 8 and I bake one sheet at a time.

Bake for 10 minutes then rotate the sheet, and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes (I baked about 18 minutes total). The cookie edges should be cooked and set but the center will look a little underdone, still wet and shiny in the cracks. Remove the tray and let the cookies set for 1 minute on the sheet tray then using a spatula, slide them onto a cooling rack.

Makes 16 cookies.

Day 1: White Chocolate Cashew Macadamia Butter Cookies
Day 2: Shortbread Bars with Mango Jam
Day 3: Pumpkin Butter Thumbprints
Day 4: Butterscotch Cookies with Hazelnuts

I will be submitting these to Susan for her Eat Christmas Cookies Event. So head on over for even more Christmas Cookies!

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