When Pinterest gets ya

 

I’ll admit it, this is a Pinterest find.

It’s funny, for all the baking I do, I don’t spend very much time pursuing Pinterest for baking recipes.   Nope.  The vast majority of my Pinterest time is spent searching house blueprints.  And shoes.  And Vitamix recipes.  Even though I make the exact same protein smoothie every day.

But these I could not resist.  Oatmeal?  Butterscotch?  Yes please!

Now for a confession: I generally haven’t had much luck making oatmeal cookies.  It’s like I’m missing the oatmeal cookie gene.  Quick oats…regular oats…Irish oats…groats…doesn’t matter.  Instead of thick chewy wholesome treats, mine always spread.

So, using the skills I learned in baking class last summer I refrigerated the portioned-out dough over night.  My hope was that this would allow the oats to absorb some of the moisture while also chilling the butter to keep it from causing the dough to spread.

It worked pretty well.  I think there is still room from improvement (maybe smaller, thicker pucks of dough), but this is a delightful recipe with which to practice.

Chewy Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from Baker by Nature

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour (measured properly/not packed)
  • 1/2 C *quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 C butter (4 ounces), at room temp
  • 3/4 C packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSs (not blackstrap)
  • 3 large egg yolks at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, sugars, and molasses on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beat on low until just combined; about 25 seconds.
  6. Fold in butterscotch chips.
  7. Using spoons or a scoop, portion out the dough into individual balls or half domes.  Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
  9. Using the flat bottom of a cup or mug, gently flatten each ball to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch disks (you may need to dip the glass or mug in sugar to keep the dough from sticking.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 9 minutes, or until set at the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center.
  11. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Warning: these may cause marital…conflict

Here’s how it went down.

Committees are a necessity of working in higher education.  It’s how we roll.  There are weeks when I spend more time in committee meetings than in my office.  I know the same is true for my colleagues.  So, for the committees I chair, I try to bring something good to eat when we meet.  Most of my committees are small; a dozen cookies or a loaf cake more than do the job.  But, if everyone shows up, the committee I chair the first Wednesday of every month can be a beast.  A handful of cookies would only agitate them.

So, it was with good intent that I set out to make some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to go alongside another treat for March’s meeting.

When the cookies were done, I set aside exactly the number I needed for my meeting and gave TD the rest.  To be clear, I handed over at least a dozen and a half of these guys.

The bag of cookies was never seen again.

The evening before my meeting, I set out the cookies and cake I’d made so that I’d remember to grab them on the way to work.  When I got up, only a handful remained.  I stood there for at least two minutes trying wish the cookies back into existence.  There wasn’t time to make another batch and I was kind of irritated that someone who didn’t make the cookies and didn’t need them for a meeting had decided to eat them (and we aren’t talking about the Kitchen Gods).

The reply when asked about the missing cookies: “But I was hungry.”

To this I asked, “What about the bag of cookies I gave you?”

“They’re gone.”

“But that was two days ago.”

“So?  They were my cookies.”

“You knew these were for a meeting”

“But I was hungry.”

The good news is that this must be a pretty decent oatmeal cookie recipe.

The bad news?  If you are TD, revenge will be mine when you least expect it.  Sleep with one eye open my friend.

Great minds think alike.  While the recipe below is totally respectable, if you are looking for an oatmeal cookie recipe that’s a little more exotic, try out Ann’s Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. The addition of wheat germ is genius I tell you.

TLCs

adapted from Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel

Ingredients

  • 1 C + 1 1 /2 TBS (153 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2.3 g) baking soda
  • 3/8 tsp (1 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 C + 3 1/2 TBS (138 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C + 1 1/2 TBS (75 g) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 7 1/2 ounces (212 g) unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1 egg (52 g)
  • 1 3/4 C (134 g) old fashioned oats
  • 2 C chocolate chips
  • 1 C coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Note: the original recipe makes 6 very large cookies using a #10 (2 1/2 inch) ice cream scoop.  I needed more than 6 cookies (though, that’s what I ended up with) and so used  a 3/4 inch scoop to yield about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking soda and cinnamon together into a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Add butter to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream the butter on medium speed until it is the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted.
  3. Add the sugars and mix for 3-4 minutes until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the eggs and mix on low for 15-30 seconds until just combined.  It’s okay if the mixture looks broken.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing on low for 15-30 seconds after each.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporated all ingredients.
  6. Add the oats, chocolate chips and pecans and incorporated by hand.
  7. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  9. Scoop cookies to desired size and place on parchment-lined half sheets leaving at least 2 inches in between cookies.
  10. Bake until golden brown–14-16 minutes rotating sheets halfway through.  Remove from oven and let sit in pans for 5 to 10 minutes then transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

 

 

 

Monsters in my mouth

I’ve already bored you with stories of our fall camping trips, now let’s move to early summer.  Most years growing up, our first two weeks of summer break were spent in the Sierra Nevadas.  As a very young child, we would camp in an incredibly remote area called Jackass Meadows.  This was boil-your-water use the outhouse sort of camping.  It was called Jackass Meadows because of the wild horses.  And the campers.  At some point my parents switched to Twin Lakes.  Often during these trips family and friends would join us.  And always, there were lots of kids.  We’d roam the woods, rivers and lakes like a troupe of scabby-kneed outlaws, our parents providing only one set of instructions: return at dusk.  Not before.

On such adventures, we’d stuff a couple of monster cookies in our pockets.  You know, provisions.  I have no idea why monster cookies have such a scary name, perhaps because they are often big.  Maybe they are the jabberwokcky’s  baked good of choice.

A couple of years ago I asked my mom for the recipe.  She claimed to no longer have it.  So, I did some experimenting.  I failed.  And pretty much forgot about it.  Until a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about those trips (and how many bears there were…and how stupidly unafraid of them I was).

So I tried another recipe.

Don’t let the oatmeal and peanut butter fool you.  The dough is just really a candy-delivery mechanism.

Hearty, stick to your ribs, good energy for afternoon-long games of ditch.

And sticky.

So, I finally figured out the secret to great monster cookies.  You need to let them rest on their parchment until cool before attempting to remove.  Otherwise, they fall completely apart.

Soundtrack

Beastie Boys.  Yes, I realize I’m just like everyone else.

Monster Cookies

Paula Dean (I felt bad for taking a jab at her in last week’s post)

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.

These also freeze incredibly well!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (or Bars) Cockaigne

That’s right…I said cockaigne.  Sounds dirty doesn’t it?

I originally found this cookie recipe while thumbing through the Joy of Cooking and thought it was a nice alternative to the classic chocolate chip cookie.  It has some additional ingredients like ground oatmeal and a second kind of chocolate that make it kind of special.  Kind of cockaigney don’t you think?

Okay, okay, I had no idea what cockaigne meant when I first came across the recipe. Though, I did have a fantasy that the recipe was developed in a tiny village in the South of France where the baker lived alone save for her trusted and loyal pet rooster.  A little research revealed no such romantic tale.  In fact, my little research revealed very little about the word and its relationship to food.  According to the OED, the term refers to a mythical land of plenty and good (not the other way around).  Another source revealed that at some point in the last 200 years, it was used specifically to describe the city of London.  As in cockney.

Okay.

Not real sure what all that has to do with a cookie recipe, gov’ner.

A little more digging and I’ve come to suspect that the use of the word cockaigne is related more to the authors of the Joy of Cooking than the recipe’s origin as it appears in a couple other recipe titles.  So in a culinary context, I suppose the adjective cockaigne is a little something like “supreme” or “surprise.”

Works for me.

In the photos below, I’m making them as bars and have one-and-a-halved the recipe. I needed to make a lot of bars.  The same principles apply to the bar version as they do to the original cookie version.

I started at the end because it involved the food processor (that’s right, Bessy was in the house).  First, I ground up some quick oats.

Then I ground up some white chocolate.  The original recipe calls for milk chocolate but I thought I’d be rebellious and go white (if white chocolate is actually really chocolate at all…it’s kind of like a panda bear in that way).

I then looked around for something else to grind.  Alas, finding nothing but my teeth (oh come on, you knew I was going to say this), I moved on to creaming together butter and sugar.  I then added in the dry ingredients…but obviously didn’t take any pictures of it.

No need to rest or refrigerate the dough.  Right into the pan (or onto the sheet it goes).

Into the oven and out it comes golden brown and definitely cockaigne.

Let cool and cut as desired.  I realize this blog has been very bar heavy as of late.  I’ve got two more bar recipes to share and then we’ll move on.  Perhaps to the rhombus.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Cockaigne

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ C sugar
  • 2/3 C golden brown sugar
  • 1 egg (I use extra large)
  • 1 1/2 TBS milk
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1 2/3 C flour
  • 1 ¼ t baking soda
  • ¾ t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 1/3 C ground quick oats (grind them in the food processor)
  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • 3 oz grated milk chocolate (I use ground white chocolate…though its good both ways)

Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugars and cream. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla.

While butter is creaming, in a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Set aside.

Once wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add in flour mixture and combine until dough just comes together. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and milk/white chocolate until just combined.

For cookies: spoon on to parchment-lined baking sheets, two inches apart and bake until golden, 8-12 minutes.

For bars: oil and line with parchment 9X13 baking pan.  Spread-out dough evenly (I find that the parchment likes to scrunch around.  To keep it from moving, I hold it in place in one corner with a finger and the carefully spread the dough using a spatula with the other hand)  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.