Saturday, April 21, 2012

Salted Oatmeal Cookies

This past Sunday was Greek Easter, one of the tastiest holidays out there.  By the time we arrived delicious Greek appetizers like spanakopita were already laid out and waiting to be devoured.  Dinner consisted of a variety of meats, as well as the famous Greek dish pastitsio, grilled vegetables...need I go on?  You would think that after all that food no one would have room for dessert, but that's just crazy talk.  I knew when I was looking for a recipe that it had to be something on the lighter side.  Marshmallow-topped brownies need not apply.

I had oatmeal left over from last week's recipe so I went on a search for something different to do with it.  I stumbled across this recipe from the Washington Post which is based on a beloved cookie from Teaism, a tea house in D.C.  I'm a big proponent of the sweet-salty combo so I jumped at the chance to work that into a cookie.  The original recipe didn't call for chocolate chip cookies but how can you go wrong adding chocolate?  I ended up splitting the dough in half and adding chocolate chips to only some of the cookies, but next time I think I'd make them all chocolate chip.

This cookie was gobbled up by my family, as well as my co-workers.  Everyone commented on how much they loved the mix of salty and sweet and I have to agree. If you're looking for a spin on a traditional oatmeal cookie, I can't recommend this highly enough.

Salted Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from TheWashington Post)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a few minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, beating until the mixture is well blended. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and oats, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mixing just until they are incorporated. At this point I put half the dough into a bowl, while I added chocolate chips to the other half and mixed briefly.  Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least an hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets.  Scoop the dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle sea salt generously on top of each ball of dough, as you would sugar. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and beginning to turn golden, being careful not to overbake. (The cookies should have a tender interior.) Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Every once in awhile I try to make something on the healthier side.  You can only eat so many marshmallow-laden treats (though I’m sure Dennis would disagree).  I knew I wanted to do something banana-based, so when I stumbled upon a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies I knew I had found a winner.

If you like oatmeal cookies then I think you’ll really enjoy these.  They have that chewiness that you expect from an oatmeal cookie, with just a hint of banana.  Chocolate chips are always a welcome addition but you could leave them out or substitute something else (walnuts, peanut butter chips?).  I did wish these had a bit more banana flavor so I think you’d be fine using a banana and a half to amp up the banana flavor.  These make a great afternoon snack or maybe even a special breakfast treat.

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (from Two Peas and Their Pod)

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large very ripe banana, mashed
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars, mix until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and egg. Next, add the banana. Beat well.

Slowly add in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies.