A winning Combination : Dark Chocolate Chips with Toasted Pecans & Hazelnuts, and Dried Cranberries or Cherries
My Newest Version: Dark Chocolate Chips with Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Dried Papaya and Toasted Coconut
This is my most requested recipe, so I thought I'd share it. I have tinkered with a Cook's Illustrated recipe --- my favorite food magazine --- until I can make these cookies reliably. I have added my own special touches.
However, when I have shared the recipe in the past, some people have had trouble replicating them, so I thought I'd also share a few tips.
B's keys to success:
-use fresh baking powder
-toast your nuts, but don't over toast them
-use dark chocolate chips
-make sure butter is room temperature, e.g., soft and that it is UN-salted butter
-your egg should be at room temperature, too
-prepare and measure everything out ahead of time
-don't over beat the dough
-rotate the pans mid-way, don't skip this step
-don't over bake the cookies!!! This is the most important key to success.
The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie
Makes Sixteen 4-inch cookies
From Cooking Illustrated, 2005
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped (I use half hazelnuts)
1 c. dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (3/4 c.) (I use dark choc. chips)
12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar, preferably dark (I use light when it goes better -- with macadamia version, for example)
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking powder (be sure to use fresh), baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a second bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries and chocolate.
In a standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute.
Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Scrape down bowl;with mixer running at low speed, add flour, mixture;mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.
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.
Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes (but I have learned to only go for 6 minutes), rotate them front to back and top to bottom.
then continue to bake 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 minutes longer (but I have learned to go only 6 to 8 minutes longer, or 12 -14 in total). Do not over bake.
Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
I turned one over so you could see the difference in how brown they are on the bottom but not on the top.
I package them up and deliver them as treats to my friends and colleagues. Will be interesting to see what they think of the new version.