Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Oatmeal, Pecan, and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal is one of my all time favorite breakfast items, period. When I was little, I was really into microwaveable instant oatmeal packets, mostly because they could be purchased in variety packs and I could have a different flavor for breakfast every day. As varied as my breakfasts may have been, they were definitely pretty lackluster in flavor! My oatmeal obsession matured over time, and now I make my own oatmeal breakfasts, in a variety of flavors, but with a whole lot more flavor. One thing I still haven't outgrown though, is a really good oatmeal cookie. As a kid, oatmeal raisin cookies were my favorite. Super sweet and chewy with just barely a hint of oatmeal and maybe two raisins per cookie...that was a good oatmeal cookie.
I think it's safe to say that my taste in oatmeal cookies have evolved significantly since then. Gone are the barely-there oatmeal cookies of my youth; they've since been replaced with chunky, substantial cookies, loaded with real oats and mix-ins galore. Even classic chocolate chip cookies can benefit from the addition of a few ups of rolled oats and nuts, a thought I would have never ever considered back in the day!
This past weekend, I got a pretty intense oatmeal cookie craving, and it had to be remedied. I realized that I actually almost never make cookies with oatmeal in them, despite how much I actually like them. When I was getting set up to start baking, it occurred to me that I couldn't even remember the last time I had made a batch for myself! Clearly, all was not right in the world. Rather than make a better version of the oatmeal raisin cookie I grew up with, I decided I wanted a chunky oatmeal cookie loaded with chocolate chips and walnuts. It was just one of those days that I needed something to satisfy my chocolate fix, and as much as I love a good raisin cookie, it just wasn't going to cut it.
The recipe on the lid of the Quaker Oats container seemed like as good a place as any to start. I immediately halved the recipe, because as much as I love cookies, I don't ever really need 4 dozen (actually, no one does), so halving it seemed like the responsible move to do. Browning the butter seemed like the next obvious move (because, duh), and adding loads of oats, chocolate chips, and nuts (pecans, because I had them in my kitchen, but walnuts would be good too) only made logical sense. Mixing up these cookies took maybe ten minutes total, and much of it was spent waiting for the browned butter to cool slightly. Refrigerating the cookie dough after it was mixed ensured that the cookies remained nice and chewy once baked.
Enjoying one of these cookies while it was still warm from the oven was perfection in cookie form. Chewy, lots of texture from the oats and the crunch of the pecans, the nuttiness of the brown butter, and warm, melty pools of chocolate...what could be better than that? I kept the sugar on the low side in this batch of cookies, as a matter of personal taste, but feel free to up the brown sugar to 2/3 cup, if you so desire. The pecans can be swapped out for your favorite nuts or omitted to make room for more chocolate chips, but for me, this version was exactly what I was craving. These cookies are definitely nothing like the oatmeal cookies I grew up eating...they're so much better!
Oatmeal, Pecan, and Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe adapted from Quaker
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the browned butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and pecans. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Scoop out the cookie dough by the tablespoon and arrange on the prepared sheet pans, spacing the cookies roughly two inches apart from each other on all sides (I was able to fit 15 cookies per baking sheet). Bake the cookies until they are golden brown at the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies chill on the hot baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies