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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal is one of my favorite healthy foods. A warm bowl of sweet oats with fruit and nuts on a cold morning really hits the spot. My family uses oatmeal as filler in meatloaf instead of bread crumbs or crackers, and oatmeal adds a lovely chewy texture to chocolate chip cookies (or Dad's favorite, butterscotch cookies).

Many years ago (honestly, so long ago that I can't find the recipe on the website anymore) I found a recipe on All Recipes for something called Grundle Chip Cookies. I'm not sure what grundle means but the post used the word to describe the texture of the cookie. It said that the cause of the grundly texture was the oat flour. At the time I was probably 15 and I hadn't realized that you could make flour from anything but wheat.

I was excited to try the cookies and find out what grundle texture was like. Mom got me the ingredients and I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen making cookies. When I brought the first one, still warm from the oven, to Mom and let her taste it we decided right away that these were probably going to be my specialty. I have made these cookies for everyone I know it seems. I made them for friends in school, for customers at work when I worked at a convenience store and when I worked for the payday loan company, and as Christmas gifts for co-workers, family friends, and neighbors. I make them every Christmas on baking day with my bestest friend. She says that her mom doesn't like chocolate chip cookies and her brother doesn't care for sweets (yeah, right, who doesn't like sweets?) but they both love these cookies. I had to up the quantity year after year to accommodate family demand. We are up to 3-4 batches currently, with a whole batch of cookies devoted to my bestest friend and her family.

Now, my bestest friend says that she can't make cookies. She insists that they always turn out wrong when she makes them so she relies on me to handle all of the Christmas cookie making. (She says that she always over- or under-cooks the cookies either leaving them raw in the middle or turning them into hockey pucks.) If you have problems making cookies you should check these out. If you follow the recipe exactly and remember that the butter has to be room temperature (not cold and not melted) then your cookies should turn out just fine.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (room temperature and no warmer)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, divided
2 cups dark chocolate chips (you could use milk chocolate or semi-sweet but the dark chocolate are my favorite, especially if I can afford to splurge on Ghiradelli ones)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

Place 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal in a blender or food processor and grind for about 10 seconds. You want a rough powder texture, not quite as smooth as regular flour. Combine the ground oats with the remaining cup or unground oats in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and cream them together until it resembles sandy play dough. You can do this by hand with a mixing spoon but it is considerably easier and less time consuming if you use a mixer of some kind.

Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a whisk or with a fork to combine the ingredients.

Add the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Then add the oats about 1/2 cup at a time until just combined.

Switch to a wooden mixing spoon or sturdy silicone spatula and stir in the chocolate chips and nuts if you are using them. Stir just until the nuts and chocolate chips are evenly distributed. (This picture is actually 3 batches of cookie dough that has been in the fridge overnight.)

Roll the dough into balls, about the size of a rounded Tablespoon. The mixture should be relatively stiff and not too sticky. If the dough is sticking to your hands too much you'll want to refrigerate it for about 15 minutes to allow the butter to set back up a bit.

Place the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

For chewy cookies you just want the edges brown and the centers cooked through. If they seem to cook too quickly you can turn the oven down to 350 degrees. If you want a crunchier cookie bake them until the tops are lightly browned.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to wax paper or a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled you can store them in an airtight container.

These cookies are best warm out of the oven with a glass of milk.

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