I have a confession … I love raw cookie dough. Are you with me or are you like The Artist and prefer to wait until they are baked? Either way, today’s cookies are amazing!
One oatmeal cookie is pretty much just like every other one, right? Wrong! This is the new standard in my home. The difference? Browning the butter. Oh My! Thank you Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes for a fantastic new-to-me technique. I can’t wait to see you at the IACP conference next week and thank you in person!
Browned butter is common in savory dishes but this is the first time I’ve seen it called for in a sweet one. The combination of the nutty butter with the extra brown sugar creates a caramel undertone that blends beautifully with the chocolate. One bite I and I was immediately addicted, LOL.
With the exception of the extra step of browning the butter, these cookies are a snap to make. They come together really quickly, are easy to handle, and can be made ahead if you want. Out of all the cookies I make, these are probably the healthiest because of the whole grain oatmeal.
For the bulk of my life I used two regular spoons to portion cookie dough. And then I was a tester for a cookbook and the recipe called for using an ice cream scoop. I went out and bought it, thinking “what a waste of money.” But boy was I wrong. That purchase led to three more over the years in different sizes. This is one of my most often used kitchen tools and I cannot imagine making cookies without it. The next time you have a birthday or holiday coming up, do yourself a favor and give yourself a gift of one of these scoops!
If you are like me and love the taste and aroma of freshly baked cookies, bake up half the batch today and save the rest for tomorrow or later on in the week. You can also freeze the dough. I recommend forming the remaining dough into a log and rolling it in parchment paper. Use a Sharpie to write baking instructions on the parchment (temp and timing), then wrap the entire log in heavy-duty plastic wrap. You can freeze the dough up to 3 months and have slice-and-bake homemade cookies without having to haul out the mixer!
Alrighty, it is time to dive into these cookies in earnest. Everyone enjoyed them after our Easter dinner and will love them even more as a snack this afternoon!
Happy Chocolate Monday! And beware of April fool’s jokes!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
The first time you make cookies from a new recipe, only pan 6 to 8 cookies for the first batch. Watch to see how much they spread and then fill the following baking sheets accordingly. I usually only bake one pan at a time (I don’t have a hoard of hungry children snatching up the cookies) which gives me better control and I only have to spin the sheet instead of trading top for bottom!
Know Your Oven! My oven always is a little on the cool side so baked goods like cookies can take up to 5 extra minutes per batch. The timing listed in a recipe is a guideline only – make adjustments to suit your individual tastes and your oven’s temperament. 🙂
Cookies are the easiest recipes to convert to gluten-free. Any neutral-flavored blend will work here. Click herefor my go-to recipe. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but are most often processed in gluten-filled production facilities and often grown next to fields of wheat. For those with severe reactions to gluten, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill GF Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats.
Kitchen Skill: Always Spin and Flip!
I know you’ve been told to spin your baked goods from front to back and switch the top rack with the bottom. It may seem an inconvenience, but every single oven has hot spots – no matter how expensive or well made they are. The thing that people forget is that this doesn’t happen only when you are baking – it also applies when you are roasting meats, poultry, vegetables, etc. So the next time you’ve got a chicken in the oven, don’t forget to spin it halfway through cooking for a more evenly roasted bird!
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz) butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (fill cup with sugar and press it tightly into cup)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour blend
- 1 tsp baking soda (gluten-free if needed)
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 cup chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, macadamias, or almonds (optional)
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if needed), pulsed in the food processor until slightly broken up
- Brown the Butter: Place butter in a heavy 2 or 3-quart saucepan with a light interior so you can see the color of the butter as it changes. Over medium heat melt the butter, swirling occasionally. It will foam up and then the foam will subside. Whisk or stir frequently to watch for the first signs of browning. The milk solids will begin to brown and the butter will begin to smell nutty; if you can’t see well, use the aroma as your guide. Watch carefully, it only takes a second for it to change from perfectly browned to burned and bitter. When you start to see browning, remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat will finish browning it. Pour into the bowl of your standing mixer and set aside to cool slightly.
- Make the Cookie Dough: Add both sugars to the melted butter and beat on medium high speed with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes, until smooth and well blended. It will look a little crumbly. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as well as the beater blade(s). Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for three more minutes on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy.
- While the sugar and egg mixture is beating, put together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Whisk until thoroughly and evenly combined.
- Add half the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture. Carefully beat it in, starting on low speed and increasing the speed as the flour is incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture and beat just until there are no more white streaks and batter is smooth. Stir in water and beat until creamy.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts. Mix in the oatmeal. You can make the dough to this point up to a day or two in advance and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Gluten-free doughs are often better when left overnight in the refrigerator, allowing the flours time to fully absorb all the moisture.
- Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Portion out heaping tablespoons of cookie dough using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop and place them on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. You can fit 9 to 11 on a standard half sheet. Press the tops with your fingers to flatten slightly and pinch the sides a bit if you want them all to be about the same size and shape.
- Bake the Cookies: Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until they are just brown around the edges and still soft in the center. They will firm up as they cool. If you like a crispier cookie, bake them 15 to 20 minutes.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool for two or three minutes on the baking sheet. Using a thin-bladed spatula (preferably metal) carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
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