Cheese? In a cookie? Oh yes! These cookies are an after-school treat we remember from childhood — not too sweet, with just a touch of brown sugar. But there is still enough sweetness there to make them a welcome ending to a wholesome lunch. The apples are tangy and moist inside, and the cheese is an unexpected savory touch that melts and crackles around the edge of the cookie. These are the perfect lunchbox snack; just the right homebaked treat to take on a trail hike.
The original recipe for these cookies comes from an old Quaker Oats cookbook, now falling to pieces and nearly smeared beyond recognition with the collected years of baking from its pages. The recipe is inspired; just enough sweet, just enough salty.
We adapted it a little, though. We cut out the old-school margarine and substituted healthier olive oil (which also adds a savory round note to these cookies). We added more apple, and less sugar.
The result is a cookie that looks like a jumble of fruit and oats, barely held together in the batter (but they are quite sturdy, we assure you). The cheese melts into a crisp, lacy fritter around the edges, holding them together into one sweet and savory snack.
Apple Gouda Oatmeal Cookies
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla OR 1 tablespoon dark rum
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 medium-sized apple (about 10 ounces)
4 ounces Gouda cheese, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the olive oil and egg together in a glass measuring cup until completely combined. Whisk in the vanilla or rum. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, salt, and oats. Stir in the raisins.
Peel and core the apple. Use the coarse side of a grater to grate it directly into the flour. (You should have 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded apple.) Stir in the apple and the chopped Gouda.
Add the liquids from the measuring cup and stir just until everything is moistened. The dough will be loose and clumpy. Drop in large spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. They will be very soft still. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
(Images: Faith Durand)