Oatmeal-Cranberry-Walnut Cookies

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm not a baker. Seriously, I'm not. I don't have the patience for it. Cookies are a certifiable disaster for me, I can make like two cakes, I never make my own frosting...ever...and the most you'll get out of me is a pie or crumble. Croissants? Pass. Pastries? Ha. However, sometimes I get an overwhelming urge for something and I need to make it. The universe converges, the stars align, and the Food Gods bless me with the ability to make something not only decent, but insanely good.

And thus was born my Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies.

If I could give some to God, He'd eat them and say, "...and they were good."

I've had so many oatmeal cookies that are too sweet, not sweet enough, too doughy, too crispy. Most don't have enough raisins, they never have nuts which bugs me, and I'm left unsatisfied. Well yesterday to welcome The Hubsters home, I decided to make him a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies (his fave) except I'm not a huge fan of raisins. But I had cranberries. And Walnuts. And thought "yes!" So I went to work with a little of this, a little of that not even paying attention to measurements or other recipes and thus the best oatmeal cookies I've ever had were born. They're perfectly balanced: I love the crunch from the walnuts (would make these with pecans too!), love the subtle tartness from the cranberries, and they turned out a perfect chewy in the middle-crisp on the outside edges. Perfection. Try them -- they are very easy to make (again, I'm not a baker and whipped these up in 10 minutes flat) and taste wonderfully.

Oatmeal-Cranberry-Walnut Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar (like or dark), compacted*
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground mace (or nutmeg)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cups instant rolled oats (recommend: Quaker Oats)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On medium-high speed, mix to combine until the sugar is well incorporated into the butter. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, another minute or two. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, and salt to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined well. Use a spatula to scrape the sides down and the paddle so everything is evenly combined. Add the oats, cranberries, and walnuts and mix on low speed until mixed in. Conversely, you can fold these in by hand with a spatula.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon out a heaping teaspoon's worth, spacing about an inch apart. Lightly press the cookies down to form a cookie shap (these will not expand out as other cookie doughs, so the way they go into the oven is the way they'll come out -- take the time to shape them up nicely!).

Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges just begin to turn light golden and cookie dough is set. Remove from heat and transfer cookies to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Serving Suggestion:
I LOVE these cookies with mulled cider or hot toddy for a dessert. Or, they're a nice treat for breakfast with some coffee the next day!

My Notes:
*Given brown sugar's "heftiness" from the molasses found in the sugar, you measure it two ways: uncompacted or "unpacked" meaning you place your measureing cup in and pull it out, level off and go; OR compacted or "packed" or "firmly packed," meaning you use your hands or spoon to pack the sugar into your measuring cup and then add more to it and then level it off. Basically lightly packed will have a little less and firmly packed will have more within that measuring cup.

Also, I did not sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, etc.) before adding. I dumped it all in. Sifting these dry ingredients makes for fluffier consistencies which is important for cakes; I didn't see the need to do it for these denser cookies and they turned out perfectly without the sifting.

If you don't have a standing mixer, you can certainly use an electric hand-held mixer. Use your beater attachments (not the whisk attachements) and continue on the same speeds as stated above. You can also make this by hand -- if you do that I highly recommend using extremely soft butter and the egg at room temperature to help you incorporate it more easily.

1 comment:

Lisa Ruminski said...

I thought I had dried cranberries in the larder...actually it was a combination of dried cranberries, raspberries and pomegranate, but it turned out great! Love the recipe!