Sunday, December 14, 2008

The extent of my Christmas baking: Chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies with pecans and dried cherries


American cookies — big and chunky.

It just didn't feel right not to bake anything for the season. So I made these cookies for a meeting at work. I foolishly did not use a stand mixer (because I don't own one), but the batter is so thinck it really does require it.

CHOCOLATE CHUNK OATMEAL COOKIES WITH PECANS AND DRIED CHERRIES

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup dried tart cherries, chopped coarse
3/4 cup chocolate chunks
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line 1 large (18x12-inch) baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 min. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on med-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 sec. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 sec. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, each about 1/4 cup, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake cookies in two batches on the middle oven rack until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet, and shiny in cracks), 8 to 10 min longer. Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 min; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.


















 Here, things get a little tricky and Shawn has to step in.


Finally — dough in a manageable form!

I discovered some pretty interesting cookie discourse over at Slate. I ecourage you to check it out. After reading I realized that these perfectly fit the archetype of the American cookie; who knew?*

There haven't been many Sunday dinners because of social commitment so you'll have be satisfied with the cookies.

Best,

kh

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*ETA: This was later validated when I realized that this recipe originated from none other than America's Test Kitchen!

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