experiments in cooking

Posts tagged ‘oatmeal cookies’

The Moral of the Story Is: Don’t Blame the Cookie

At last! On Sunday I remembered to add chocolate chips to a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Jonah has been asking for chocolate chip cookies for a while and this week we finally made them. We used a recipe from Joy of Cooking that I haven’t tried before. I didn’t mean to make them as huge as they turned out … but big cookies are the most fun, aren’t they?

Other than accidentally producing giant cookies, I didn’t have any problems with this recipe. Jonah did a good job of helping, pouring in ingredients and stirring.

He was particularly intrigued by the corn syrup. “What’s that?” he asked.

“Corn syrup,” I answered.

“Ah, yes, corn syrup,” he said. As though that really made things clear.

While the cookies were baking, one sheet at a time as the recipe recommended, Jonah and I played several games of Trouble, the game with the die inside a plastic bubble that you pop to make the die roll. I had to jump up nearly every two minutes to (a) check on cookies in oven, (b) check the oven again, (c) finally take cookies out of the oven and put another sheet of cookies in, and (d) two minutes after taking cookies from the oven, move cookies to wax paper to cool.

Jonah was patient with the interruptions, and I’ll tell you why—he kept winning. I lost three out of four games of Trouble that night.

I figured I could blame my losses on the constant distraction of running to the kitchen to handle the cookies. But then the next night I lost two out of two games of Trouble with Jonah, and the following night he won again.  There were no baking distractions those nights, so it seems it wasn’t the cookies’ fault.

And that’s how it should be. It’s never the cookie’s fault—remember that.

Before blaming the cookie, look at yourself. Yes, maybe you gained five pounds after eating half a dozen cookies, every day, and washed them down with Dr Pepper; but it’s not the cookie’s fault. Yes, you didn’t notice your son was decorating his face with an ink pen because you were distracted by a warm cookie and a glass of milk, but it’s not the cookie’s fault. Yes, you were eating a cookie and talking on your cell phone when you rear-ended the town’s only red Lamborghini at a stop light, but it wasn’t the cookie’s fault.

No hard feelings against the cookie, folks.

I am thinking of blaming the corn syrup, though. I don’t know exactly what it did, but I think Jonah knows—although he’s not telling me.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat cookie sheets with nonstick spray.

Whisk together thoroughly:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Beat on medium speed until well blended:

¼ cup corn or canola oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon skim milk

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Stir into the batter:

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes so the oats can absorb some moisture. Stir in the flour mixture; the dough will be slightly soft. Drop the dough by heaping measuring tablespoonfuls onto the sheets, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart.

Bake one sheet at a time, until the cookies are tinged brown all over and the centers are just barely firm when lightly pressed, 7 to 10 minutes; be careful not to overbake. Remove the sheet to a rack and let stand until the cookies firm slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to racks or wax paper to cool.

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Cookie Scorecard: Wins 2, Losses 2

Over the past two weekends I’ve tried several kinds of cookies and had success with only two of them. I’m not happy with a 2-2 outcome, and one of those wins was a close call, so I’m determined to better my cookie winning record this month. Here’s how it went down:

Blondies – Win

I remember my mom making blondies when I was growing up. I found the idea fascinating—blonde brownies. What an idea!

Last weekend I made my first blondies using a Joy of Cooking recipe. I added chocolate chips because Chris always wants me to do that, and that’s just about the only way to get Jonah to eat a cookie. The recipe didn’t include chocolate chips but I stirred in ½ cup just before spreading the batter in the baking dish. These turned out really yummy, and required me to do something I hadn’t done before—brown butter before mixing it with sugar. Apparently that increases the carmelizing effect. Ah, I love anything carmelized.

Peanut Butter Cookies ­– Loss

I’m pretty much done with this recipe, which I failed at this summer too, although I may try it one more time without Splenda. It’s a very simple recipe—just one cup of peanut butter, one cup of flour, sugar, and an egg—that I tried because it’s one that’s easy for Jonah to help me bake.

When I made this in July, I overcooked them because they never, ever browned on top and I kept letting them go just a couple more minutes. They were hard as rocks. This  time I took them out when the recipe said to and didn’t’ worry about browning. They weren’t over-cooked, but they were terribly crumbly, and my husband and father-in-law could taste the Splenda. I think it utterly nauseated my father-in-law. But Jonah ate them. Probably because he made them.

Brown Sugar Cookies – Win

I wanted to replicate a brown sugar cookie my friend Lisa made for me when my first son was born four years ago, although I didn’t have her recipe to work with. These were a close call but ultimately came out tasting great even though I don’t think they looked or tasted just like Lisa’s.

I made them on a Friday night when I was tired from a long week. The recipe was a challenge to me, as it was my first try at a non-drop cookie. The recipe makes a cookie dough that can be rolled into a tube and refrigerated or frozen, then sliced into cookies. My plan was to prepare the dough Friday night and bake the cookies on Saturday. Well, after the dough was all done and put in the refrigerator, I noticed the baking soda sitting on the counter, and suddenly realized I had forgotten to add both baking soda and salt. I got pretty angry at this point. Finally, after some moments of complaining, yelling, and slamming dirty dishes around, I took Chris’s suggestion and pulled the dough out of the refrigerator, smushed it, and folded in the baking soda and salt, then reformed the rolls of dough. Then I sliced up one of the rolls into 24 cookies and baked a batch to make sure they tasted okay. Lo and behold, they did! I served them at a church children’s ministry meeting on Sunday, and they disappeared.

I made one creative experiment with this recipe that did NOT backfire. The recipe called for both brown sugar and white sugar. I used the amount of brown sugar called for, but for the white sugar I actually used half white sugar, half demerara sugar, a granulated raw/brown sugar. As a result, several of the cookies had pretty brown carmelized sugar streaks on the top.

Honey Molasses Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Loss

I made these before as monster cookies with M&Ms, and this time I wanted to make them with chocolate chips because Chris requested some chocolate chip cookies. They are made with whole grain white flour, and they’re not your typical oatmeal cookie.

And apparently they don’t taste that great when you leave out the chocolate chips.

That’s right. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. I completely forgot them. I don’t know how I managed to do that, since it’s the most important ingredient of a Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Now, I like a good oatmeal cookie, but I think that the addition of chocolate is best for this particular cookie, which is a little dry and grainy baked at the recommended time without anything special added to the oatmeal and whole grain flour for taste and texture.

The cookies might have been a little better tasting if cooked for less time, but it wasn’t until they were already done that I realized what I’d left out. Now they make me think of stereotypical “health” cookies.

I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty depressing realizing late on Sunday night that the chocolate chip cookies you’ve just baked and have been promising yourself and everyone for lunch during the week are actually NOT chocolate chip cookies.

Next weekend, I’ve got to redeem myself.

Success — Sort of Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Saturday I tried a new recipe for oatmeal cookies, and they actually turned out great! They were called “Healthy Oatmeal Cookies,” but I added M&M’s because Chris’s birthday is tomorrow and I thought we’d all enjoy some pre-birthday Monster Cookies.  The result was delicious.

I made the cookies with white whole wheat flour and honey I’ve had in the cabinet a long time but hadn’t even opened. I thought about leaving out the molasses but picked some up at Walmart so I could try the recipe with the molasses at least once. (And I’m glad I did–I like the taste.) I also was able to use up some of the M&Ms we got “for free” from Chris’s mom, who sent them home with the boys a couple of weeks ago. I baked them for the minimum time suggested by the recipe and baked them on wax paper instead of directly on the cookie sheet, something I’d never tried before.

The recipe is below.

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies (with Honey)

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (a pinch more depending on the moisture of the mix)
  • 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of Large Flake Rolled Oats (smaller flake is ok too)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg (optional)

Wet ingredients

  • ½ cup honey (or try 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar)
  • ½ cup oil (corn or olive; you can also use some applesauce to replace some of the oil if you wish)
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses (maple syrup may work as substitute, or you can leave out entirely if you use brown sugar with honey. Note: brown sugar can substitute for molasses: 1.5 c brown sugar=1 c molasses)
  • 1 egg (beat with 1 Tbsp water. Note: one cook has substituted half a banana, mashed and beaten, for the egg)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (may use additional ¼ tsp if desired)

Yummy ingredients (optional)

  • ½ cup raisins, other dried berries, or chocolate chips (more if desired)
  • ½ cup walnuts (optional—or add more if desired)
  • ½ cup Shredded carrots or zucchini 
  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Hint: when measuring out honey, spray measuring cup with oil or baking spray so your honey won’t stick).
  3. Mix the wet stuff with the dry stuff. Add the raisins and walnuts and mix. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit of flour. If it isn’t binding together very well, you may wish to add an egg white.
  4. Cool the mix for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to 335 degrees (lower temperature due to the honey in the recipe which will burn more easily).
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet (I recommend lining the baking sheet with parchment paper). Press with fork to ensure even cooking. Alternatively, make as bar cookies, spreading dough out in a pan.
  7. Bake for about 15–20 minutes or until golden on the bottom of the cookie. The cookies freeze very well and make a great snack! Enjoy.

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