13 October 2009

The Consummate Oatmeal Cookie

I'm a fair-weather fan of the oatmeal cookie. Most are too soft, and the occasional one is just too crisp to be believed. My wife does conjure an amazing oatmeal crisp with butterscotch chips that I adore, but it is definitely the exception rather than the rule. Some are too bland, others too doughy, others still lack the desirable texture of oatmeal, having either too much or too little.

Well, in preparation for last week's concert, I wanted to find the perfect oatmeal cookie to pair with the crumb-topped pumpkin bread and hot cider (unspiced—let's not gild the lily!) After much searching, plenty of frustration, and a near heartbreak, I found them. I really found them. I found the perfect autumn oatmeal cookie, and I will never, repeat never use another recipe. The flavor is, as my student said, "voluptuous," with hints of spice and a fruity aura. The texture is heaven itself: buttery, chewy, moist, with neither too many nor too few oats. It is the splendor of autumn, so make sure you have someone to share with or it'll prove your downfall. Here it is, in all its glory.

Oatmeal, Cranberry and Pecan Cookies
adapted from Katy Sparks and Andrea Strong

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 1-2 cups dried cranberries (to taste)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, pecans, orange zest, and chocolate chips. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.

  • You could also substitute semisweet chocolate chips for the cranberries, but I don't really do that nutmeg/chocolate combination; it's just not my style.
  • I found the cooking time to be exact: 12 for the first batch, and 10-11 for subsequent ones. Don't overcook or you'll regret it.
  • If you need to feed a crowd, this doubles without a problem.


Justin said...

I am excited to give this one a try...perhaps I could persuade someone to make them for us. We'll have to see!

Mom said...

I love a good, chewy oatmeal cookie. We'll have to give this one a try. It sound delicious.