Cookies / Dessert

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Alright, so I’ve decided that I need to start eating better/cooking for myself more often after a few weeks of slowly but surely going back to eating whatever I wanted. The gratuitous pizza was nice while it lasted, I hope we meet again in the far-off future.

goodbye, late night trips to Hot Mama's.

goodbye, late night trips to Hot Mama’s.

On that note, this post is about a cookie recipe.

No but really, I made cookies earlier today and I am currently trying not to touch the extras on my counter…especially because I tasted one earlier and therefore I know how freaking good they are (what? I had to make sure they tasted okay!). One of my friend’s birthdays is this friday, so I decided to make him his favorite type of dessert/baked goods. When I asked him his favorites, he told me cookies & pie, specifically oatmeal cookies and blueberry pie.

Here’s the thing: pie and I have a love/hate relationship. I like to eat pie, but making it is a whole other story. I’m a bit of a pie purist, and homemade crust really does make all the difference. That being said, I do not have a food processor or the patience to make homemade pie crust. (Actually, I do have a mini food processor, but that’s beside the point). As far as fillings go, I will never buy canned filling. Homemade filling is just so much nicer and tasty! But alas, I am a college student who just spent most of my money on my own groceries, so the thought of going out and getting fruit and the other ingredients for pie didn’t sound very promising. I did think about making mini hand pies with pre-made pie crust dough and frozen blueberry-based filling, but I figured I’d probably screw them up anyways.

So, I went the cookie route. There are so many variations on oatmeal cookies: crispy, chewy, soft, nutty, healthy, not-so-healthy…you name it, there’s a recipe for it. Personally, I tend to try and make my cookies low-fat, so I like to use applesauce instead of butter. I also usually cut down on sugar. But these cookies are a birthday treat, so I abandoned my usually healthy intentions and stuck to trying to just make something that tasted delicious.

I couldn’t find one recipe I totally loved, so I kind of just figured I would make my own. I should warn you: I am not a professional, I have little to no true baking knowledge, and I am not a recipe writer. Baking is all about proper measurements and ratios…yeah, I’m not too good about that. But I know the basic elements of a good oatmeal cookie, so at least I had a starting point. So, I set out to make a delicious oatmeal cookie. Personally, I like mine to be kind of crisp and crunchy, so that’s how I decided to make these.

About 25 minutes later, I breathed a sigh of satisfied relief when I bit into a freshly-baked cookie. Jackpot. These were delicious, and just how I wanted them to taste. They didn’t look as fancy as birthday cupcakes (or pie) might have looked, but hey, the guy likes oatmeal cookies, and so he is getting oatmeal cookies!

PicMonkey Collage

I have a few recipes for oatmeal cookies that I like to use, but this one might very well be my new favorite. It isn’t a recipe for one of those “healthy” oatmeal cookies by by any means (for the record, a cookie is still a cookie, and under no circumstances is it an appropriate breakfast substitute…), but if you’re looking for just a yummy, classic oatmeal cookie, this is golden. These cookies were delicious by themselves, but they’d be perfect for ice cream sandwiches as well.

So what made these cookies so good? Graham cracker crumbs.

okay, so mine were kroger brand in a big cylindrical container. same thing.

okay, so mine were kroger brand in a big cylindrical container. same thing.

No, really. I have a bunch of graham cracker crumbs I bought for caramel apples on Halloween, and I’ve been trying to think of ways to use them. I’ve seen recipes where some of the flour in a muffin or bread is substituted with graham cracker crumbs, so I thought I’d try it out in cookies. It added a really nice subtle honey-like flavor, and I think it might have helped the texture a bit as well. My ingredient experimentation paid off, and I’m convinced this secret ingredient is what makes these so delicious.

I also added a small amount of molasses in the cookies; sometimes if I’m making oatmeal cookies I like to use more molasses and add rice krispies for a nice crunch, but since I put semisweet chocolate chips in this batch, I didn’t want the molasses flavor to be overpowering.

I made a pretty small batch, but the recipe could easily be doubled. Store these in an airtight container on the counter for 3-5 days, or freeze them for long-term storage (although if you’re planning on freezing them, you might want to just freeze the dough and bake them fresh as needed). Speaking of dough, the dough for these guys was SO GOOD. I was tempted to eat all of it after having a tiny taste.

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To speed up the process, I put both cookie sheets in the oven at the same time on separate racks. I was worried this might affect the baking process, but I switched the sheets halfway and they turned out perfectly fine. I also was lazy and softened my butter using the microwave on 50% power for about 15 seconds.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I made 20 cookies with this, but if you are making larger cookies for ice cream sandwiches or just because you like bigger cookies, this will yield about 12.

a bit less than 3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 stick butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and continue beating. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs, and oats. Add to the larger bowl and beat until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Roll dough into balls or use an ice cream scoop; place them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Flatten cookies with your hand or the back of a spoon.

4. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the sheets. Bake another 5-7 minutes until cookies are golden.

5. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks. (Or enjoy them while still warm!)

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