Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are one of those "comfort cookies" that everyone should be able to make. There are countless variations out there and everyone will swear that this or that recipe is the best ever.

Of course, that always depends on personal taste. I grew up on those noxiously sweet concoctions from Little Debbie with the cream filling a la a "whoopie pie." It was one of the few snacks my older sister kept in her pantry when I was a kid that I really loved. (That reminds me that I must jot down the story of "Sissy Crackers" sometime.) Anyway, my taste for oatmeal cookies has been forever shaped (or warped) by those cookies.

But, this recipe which I adapted from Ina Garten is very good. It's somewhat chewy without that rubbery feel of those Little Debbie cookies but at the same time has a bit of a crispness to it that is pleasing. I opted to include toasted walnuts and chocolate chips in my cookies but you could use any nuts or fruits that suits your tastes. I also used a light or golden brown sugar, but if you like your cookies a bit sweeter and with more chewiness, go for dark brown or add a little molasses to the mixture.

As with all oatmeal cookies it's the little things that make a difference. Adding some spices can really kick oatmeal cookies from humdrum to spectacular. Of course, the one ingredient you never want to forget in oatmeal cookies is a good salt! Leaving salt out of oatmeal cookies can turn your fantastic creations into chewy cardboard!

1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup golden brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the walnuts on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, walnuts, and chocolate and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand or glass dipped in water. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

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