It’s Easter Monday and I’ve just finished a long weekend of family get-togethers, marathon Gossip Girl sessions and of course, baking.
This weekend, every opportunity I could, I volunteered to bake something – for my mother-in-law, it was cupcakes; for work friends, it was shortbread (recipe to come!); and for my family, it was banana bread, and oatmeal cookies.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my parents, aunts, and uncles are funny in that they always want something for dessert, but it has to have a semblance of healthiness to it or they’ll say it’s “too rich” or a personal favourite, “why did you ruin it with chocolate chips?”
So this year for Easter, I chose to make two things that I was sure everyone would try: banana bread (an old favourite) and oatmeal cookies. Oh, if only my family knew just how unhealthy oatmeal cookies really are! But alas, they hear oatmeal, and think health.
One thing my hubby is always telling me is to keep it simple. Things like shortbread, sugar cookies and Rice Krispies squares always go down well because they have a handful of recognizable ingredients. But making these simple recipes can get so boring! I’m forever adding new things to cookies to liven them up – honeycomb, caramel candies, potato chips etc. Sometimes it works (like with potato chips) and sometimes it doesn’t (honeycomb + hot oven = disaster).
So when I settled in to make these oatmeal cookies, it was with the idea that I’d make some simple oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and leave it at that. But then I saw my Bulk Barn container…
A couple handfuls of chopped walnuts and some dried cranberries, along with the original plan of very roughly chopped milk chocolate combined to make the most heavenly oatmeal cookie to ever land in my mouth. Boring? Never! These were chewy, with luscious cranberry and nutty tidbits mixed with a crazy amount of rich, melty chocolate. Ugh, so good. I wish I had saved more for myself!
1 cup salted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1¼ cup golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of salt
3 cups large flake oats (don’t use instant oats!)
2 cups very roughly chopped milk chocolate (I suggest using Dairy Milk or similar)
½ cup dried cranberries (or more if you prefer)
¾ chopped walnuts (or less if you prefer)
- Preheat oven to 350° C
- Cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (if using) and nutmeg (if using). Add to butter mixture and blend until just combined.
- Stir in oats, chocolate, cranberries and walnuts by hand.
- Chill mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes – 1 hour (even overnight if you prefer).
- Portion into 2 tablespoon size balls and place well apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden and chocolate is melty.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.
I think these are the kind of cookies that taste even better once they’re cool – so feel free to try one right out of the oven, and then another later on to see which you prefer! >:-)