Saturday, January 5, 2013

Awesome Oatmeal Cookies


In late November I was in Cambridge and wandered into the Coop Bookstore. In the stacks of newly arrived books, Smitten Kitchen caught my eye.  I had come across the Smitten Kitchen blog on some of my searches in the past, and the book really showcases Ms. Perleman's excellent photos. However, I have learned to remember I do have a library card and restrain myself from buying cookbooks.  After perusing the book, I did resolve to visit the blog and try a few recipes. Then I went to Chris's for dinner one night and, apologetically noting cookies are hardly a dinner party dessert, he served the most awesome oatmeal raisin cookies (and ice cream).  Shortly after I suggested (begged) he make a batch of these cookies for the Christmas holidays.  "You know they are good because they have butter in them," he warned, referring indirectly to my butter-deprived Oatmeal Cookies and Cranberry-Orange Oatmeal Cookies. Just before Christmas, he arrived with a double batch of the delicious oatmeal cookies and awesome brownies, reading my mind and proffering the recipes for both.  "SK" on top of the cookie recipe.  Ah!  These are from Smitten Kitchen I exclaimed and quickly launched into a summary of  an article about Deb Perleman 's and her Blog/Book Smitten Kitchen I had just read in the New York Times and about the book I had seen in The Coop.  Christmas came and I found a copy of Smitten Kitchen under the tree :-)  Chris had purchased the book several weeks earlier and, given my recent SK enthusiasm, worried it would be a duplicate....

You can go to Smitten Kitchen and get the recipe for thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies  as well as the delightful commentary and photos or (in case this recipe moves from the SK blog to the next SK cookbook) just follow my condensed directions below.

Makes ~ 2 dozen cookies

In a large bowl cream together until smooth:

1/2 c (4 oz) butter, room temperature
2/3 c (4.4 oz) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla extract

In a separate bowl mix:

3/4 c (95 g/3.35 oz) flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t table salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with:

3/4 c (4.2 oz) raisins [or dried cranberries (especially good for holiday cookies!)]
1/2 c (2.3 oz) walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ms. Perleman writes, "The last trick to getting a really thick, chewy cookie is to chill the dough before you bake it."  So "At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and chill the whole tray before baking them."  She also notes one can scoop and freeze for later baking .Maybe this theory should be applied to my oatmeal cookie recipes!

Cookies should be ~2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes "until golden at the edges but still a little under-cooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool."

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