It could be an afternoon on the porch to cure a sweet tooth, or maybe a small gift for a friend who has had a tough week, but there is always a reason to make a good cookie.Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries & Pecans Makes 24 cookies. Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces OR chocolate chips
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 extra large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks on the top and bottom thirds. Use parchment paper or a silpat* to line several standard baking sheets and set aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a whisk and a strong arm, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.
Gently sift, or with the mixer down to low, add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, fruit and chocolate. Do not overmix.
Roll these portions lightly between your hands in about 1/4 cup portions, then place on each baking sheet, spaced evenly. You can make them small, but adjust your baking time a few minutes less. Wet your hands and lightly press the dough to a 1-inch thickness. Bake the cookies, two trays at a time, in a preheated oven for 12 minutes. Rotate the trays top to bottom and back to front and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle. They should appear slightly undercooked.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Sara Morris is a personal chef and food writer based in Laguna Beach, California. She also authors a personal food weblog, Sprouted Kitchen.
(Images: Hugh Forte)