Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nibby Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


When the weather turns cold and rainy, I find few activities as satisfying as baking chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Curling up in bed with a cup of tea and a juicy novel can be nice. Watching Fawlty Towers while munching homemade popcorn is grand. A hot bath and the music of the rain's rhythmic drumming has its charms.


But nothing really does it quite like baking the aforementioned cookies. You turn on the oven to preheat, hoist your stand mixer down from where it lives on top of the fridge, get out a couple of baking pans, and set to work.


But what's this? You don't own a stand mixer/are too lazy to haul it down from the top of the fridge? Well, well. Have I got a recipe for you.


Years ago, I got super spoiled by Cook's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, in which the butter gets melted and effortlessly stirred into the eggs and sugar rather than laboriously creamed. Not only were these the yummiest chocolate chip cookies I'd ever made, they were also the quickest and easiest.


I knew in my heart that there must exist a similarly simple recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, which happen to be both Jay's fave cookies and THE essential bojon rainy day baking activity. But I never found it and remained too chicken to try melting the butter in a regular creaming-method-style recipe.

I also hadn't found the perfect recipe for this type of cookie yet. Some contained ingredients that I found superfluous, like orange zest or spices. Some spread too much, some not enough. Some were tooth-achingly sweet, or not oaty/chocolaty enough. Some called for stirring melted milk chocolate into the batter, which tasted good, but I don't usually keep milk chocolate in the house, and schlepping out in the rain to buy milk chocolate is certainly not up there on my list of ideal rainy day activities. Not at all, at all.


So one night, Jay and I found ourselves at the home of our friends Rick and Jessa. This may or may not have been the night when they served us brined and roasted wild turkey breast (which Rick had actually shot himself - yes, totes badass). It was by far the best turkey I've ever tasted (so moist! so flavorful!) and the nicest meal anyone's ever cooked for me. After dinner, Jessa oh-so-casually got some cookie dough out of the fridge and baked it off.

And it was then that I tasted the perfect chocolate chip oatmeal cookie.


When I asked (begged! pleaded!) for the recipe, Jessa replied nonchalantly, 'Oh, I just got it off the back of the oats container. But I use whole wheat flour instead of white, and I melt the butter.'

Bingo!

Maldon salt's pyramid-shaped crystals - pretty, and tasty, too

She kindly wrote out the recipe, and I've been in oatmeal chocolate heaven ever since. Jay, too.


I've come to make several minor tweaks to the recipe, like doubling the specified amount of nuts (toasted pecans) and chocolate (70% wafers chopped into chunks). I also add some cacao nibs and flaky salt to the batter, because they pretty much make everything better. And I use whole spelt flour in place of the wheat, and unrefined sugar in place of the brown, because I am a dirty hippy.


Just kidding, it's because I like the rich flavor they both add to the cookies.


Mostly oats and other goodies bound together by a toffee-flavored dough, these cookies stay moist and chewy for up to several days. A few flecks of Maldon salt on top make them extra addictive.

But don't worry too much; they're fairly healthy, as far as cookies go. And not difficult to make. Or eat. Not at all, at all.


Me want cookie:

One year ago:
Horchata Ice Cream

Nibby Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 2 dozen 2 - 3" cookies

Feel free to double the recipe, as this makes a fairly small batch of cookies, as far as batches of cookies go. If you don't want to eat them all at once, scoop the remaining dough into balls and store in an airtight container in the fridge (the dough is hard to scoop when cold). Cookies baked from chilled dough don't spread as much, yielding a thicker cookie. Jay says these are his faves.

4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
3/4 cup packed unrefined sugar (4 1/4 ounces, preferably Alter Eco brand), or light brown sugar (6 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour (all-purpose will probably work, too)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, such as Maldon, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and broken into coarse pieces
1/2 cup (3 ounces) dark chocolate wafers, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs

Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until combined. Whisk in the melted and cooled butter, then stir in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda and sea salt. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until almost combined, then stir in the flaky salt, oats, nuts, chocolate chunks and nibs until just combined.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons (or use the purple-handled spring-loaded ice cream scoop) onto the lined baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Flick a few grains of flaky salt on the tops.

Bake the cookies until just set on the edges, and puffed and wet in the centers, 10 - 12 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through. The cookies will look underdone, but will continue to cook as they cool. (If you accidentally over bake, remove the cookies from the pans and onto cooling racks immediately.) Cool the cookies completely on the pans. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a few days.

6 comments:

  1. I cannot wait to try this. Thanks, Alanna!!!

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  2. the cookies look gorgeous Alanna :)

    Happy Holidays.

    Siri

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  3. Thanks! Happy holidays to you, too!

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  4. You're so sneaky; posting this and not telling me.

    I am always nervous when making anything pastry/dessert-like for you since you are so much better at it than I am. Oat-box recipe to the rescue!

    I love cooking for/with you guys. Dinner again soon please?

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  5. You are soooo right, these are the BEST oatmeal cookies my wife and I have ever tasted! For that matter, they're also among the best chocolate chip cookies! They are also the easiest to make! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm so glad you like them - thanks so much for the comment! :)

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Nice comments make me warm and fuzzy!