Category Archives: cookies

oatmeal nut chocolate chunk cookies

stack of cookies It’s been coming on for a while, spurred on by the daily grind of schoolwork, college apps, swimming, extracurriculars, sleep deprivation, etc. but I might have finally reached the point of providing empirical evidence that I’m losing my mind. The latest exhibit: I’ve been searching for this ragged around the edges, butter-stained recipe for these delightful oatmeal nut chocolate cookies the last hour-ish, and it is nowhere to be found. I’ve checked the usual suspects: my disheveled stack of the printed web recipes from the last oh, about 2 years; my mom’s binder of recipes that mine sometimes suspiciously end up in (theft?! …or maybe just cleaning up); and my disheveled corner of the office desk, all to no avail.
freshly bakedgolden brown edges oatmeal nut chocolate chunk cookies ‘Tis a shame, because these are too good to keep from you any longer. Taking a cue from adjectives for rocks and cliffs, I’d say craggy is a good way to describe these oatmeal, walnut (or peanut or any other nut, to your preference), and chocolate-chunk studded cookies. This may be the closest I’ve ever come to posting a gluten-free cookie recipe, since the structure comes from oatmeal (2 cups) and chopped nuts (2 cups) instead of our usual friend flour (here, it’s only 1/3 cup whole-wheat, although you could use all-purpose). As a result, the cookies are prone to spreading while baking to become light and thin, yet still chewy and hearty. There’s a hint of peanut butter, which you can accentuate using chopped peanuts too, although I opted for (or was forced to opt for, due to a lack of nut provisions) roughly chopped walnuts. To add to the texture, I used chopped  milk chocolate, which gets melty and gooey and messily perfect in the oven, and bittersweet chocolate chunks.
overhead stack I’ve procured the online, clean, sanitary version via Ms. Stewart, yet it unfortunately contains none of my messy penciled-in notes as on the dingy tangible copy. So I’ve tried to recall the exact substitutions I made–using the meager 1/2ish cup of peanuts and then chopped walnuts for the remainder, chopped milk chocolate, bittersweet chunks–and for now, that’s the most I can remember. Clearly, some spring cleaning is needed. When I find my mind the recipe, I’ll update what I have below if needed.
craggy and crumbly Update: The recipe was found! (Thanks, Mom.) I’ve noted the changes I discovered on the hard copy: I also increased the salt to 1 teaspoon, upped the vanilla to 2 teaspoons, and used an even mix of milk and bittersweet chocolate. 

Oatmeal Nut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart

I subbed walnuts for most of the peanuts and used chopped milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chunks instead of semisweet chips.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups roughly chopped walnuts or  salted peanuts
2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugars, butter, and peanut butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Resist the temptation to stop early- the lightness here makes for great texture in the cookie.) Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture, and mix until just combined. Stir in  the nuts and chocolate.

Drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Storing: Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days. Or, freeze the dough and bake as needed, adding a couple minutes to the baking time.

*I used some milk chocolate as well, about 1 cup. Don’t use all milk chocolate, as the bittersweet/semisweet mix provides a good balance of sweetness.

whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies

jumble of cookiesThis is the kind of cookie you want when you
a) want to feel like you’re being healthy even though you’re still devoted to butter
b) desire a more substantial cookie (these vs regular chocolate chip cookies are akin to cake doughnuts vs Krispy Kreme glazed: both delicious, but one has a little more substance)
c) crave a more complex cookie, rather than one made with your generic white flour
d) all of the above
(Can’t you tell it’s exam time?)
cookie dough, ready to be bakedfreshly baked whole wheat chocolate chunk cookiescookies, coolingMy rationale behind these cookies is generally “d,” as all the options apply. Look, I know that no one’s bidding for us to reinvent the wheel on chocolate chip cookies, but I think this is a nice option. As I’ve said, they’re complex: the whole wheat flour adds depth and a wholesome wheat-y flavor (shocker, I know), and the melty shards of bittersweet chocolate, and, if you like, toasted pecans round it out nicely. Texturally, they have a coarser crumb than your average cookie, yet still maintain crispy edges and a softer middle. They pair perfectly with a glass of milk or mug of tea, the rare and lovely fall weather we’ve been graced with in New Orleans, and your favorite sweater (and you, of course).
whole wheat chocolate chunk cookiespile of cookiescrumbly and chocolatey

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain 

I added some toasted pecans, but that’s completely optional. I would definitely chopping your own chocolate though, because chocolate chips aren’t the same as  having melty shards and chunks of bittersweet chocolate.

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/4- 1/2 inch
1/2 cup pecans, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, dumping back into the bowl anything that remains in the sifter (like kosher salt). If you’re feeling lazy, yes, whisking is fine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugars. Scape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, one at at time, beating to combine. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the chopped chocolate and pecans (if using) and stir just to combine.

Scoop dough in about 3 tablespoons sized  balls. Leave about 3 inches in between the cookies, as they’ll spread out. Flatten the tops slightly with your fingertips.

Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes (the size of your cookies will determine baking time, so if you went smaller, check earlier), rotating the baking sheets halfway through. They should be dark brown, barely set in the middle, and have cracks on the top. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Storing: Boyce recommends eating these the first day. Undoubtedly that’s when they’re the best, but I found that these were good keepers, even up to a week later. They’ll get harder and more crumbly, but definitely still good (especially for dunking in milk).

As always, you can freeze the unbaked dough, letting it soften and then adding a few minutes to the baking time.

cherry almond biscotti

cherry almond biscotti
I’ll just reveal my partiality now: the classic combination of cherry and almond is perhaps my very favorite pairing, so fittingly, these are my favorite biscotti. (And before you roll your eyes at the fact that I just declared I had a favorite biscotti—I know, I know, it’s a ridiculous category. Favorite cookie, maybe, but who has a favorite biscotti? Ahem.) Anyway, here’s why I think they’re so great: they are a little bit chewy yet have some crunch from the slivered almonds (even more if you toast the almonds),  the dark chocolate dunk provides a bittersweet contrast to the chewy, candy-sweet dried cherries, and they’re double baked (biscotti in Italian means twice baked) to a golden brown.
forming sticky logsfirst bakeslice on the diagonalgolden brownUnlike most cookies, where you want a juxtaposition of textures (crisp around the edges, gooey and chewy in the middle), the goal for biscotti is to bake them golden brown atop and perfectly crisp all the way through (but not dry or stale). Almond extract and  vanilla underscore the floral notes of cherry and almond. To me, these biscotti are nearing the ideal in texture and taste (nearing, of course, because can the ideal ever be reached? It’s like an asymptote…aaannnddd too much math and philosophical musings.)
coolingstationsdunking in dark chocolatebiscotti, post-chocolateI’ve made these several times (see above: favorite biscotti) yet somehow they’re only making an appearance now. Always great keepers, biscotti are perfect for traveling; I have a tradition of baking these for our annual family vacation. I layer them in an airtight tin, and we munch on them throughout our trip. tightly packed in a tinbiscotti, packed uplayers of cherry almond biscotti

Cherry Almond Biscotti
adapted from an AP article written by J.M. Hirsch, which was adapted from Tish Boyle’s “The Good Cookie,” and published in Times Picayune in February 2009 (hopefully that sounds less confusing than it just did typing it)

The original recipe was for cashew cherry biscotti, which would have undoubtably been delicious, but I couldn’t resist the sway of cherry + almond.

I’ve made a few changes to the instructions, namely in the shaping of the logs before the first bake. The original recipe directs you to shape the logs on a “lightly floured countertop,” but you’re gonna lose way too much of that sticky sticky sticky dough on the countertop/cutting board and your fingers. (I speak from experience.) I’ve found it’s easier just to plop the dough directly onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and shape it with heavily floured fingertips there.

Makes around 20 biscotti, depending on how you slice them

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, chopped (toasted, optional)
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped in halves or thirds
1 1/2 cups dark/bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate*

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts, then beat until smooth and creamy.

On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until a heavy, sticky dough forms. Add the almonds and cherries and mix until just combined.

Divide the dough in half in the bowl. Using a spatula, transfer one half to the baking sheet. The dough is so sticky that it’s probably easiest to dollop it onto the baking sheet, and then, using heavily floured hands, shape it into a 12-inch log. Flatten the log until it’s about 2 inches wide. Repeat with second half of dough. Be sure to leave about 2-3 inches of space in between the logs, as the dough will spread.

Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the logs just begin to turn  brown.

Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° F.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs on the diagonal into  2/3-inch to 1-inch wide slices, depending on personal preference. Place the slices on their sides on the baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between the slices. (Use another sheet if you run out of room.) Bake again for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the biscotti are golden brown on the top and edges. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool.

Once the biscotti are completely cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove (double-boiler). Dip half of each biscotti into the chocolate, using a spoon to get full coverage (but avoid covering the bottom), and set on a wire rack to set. If you’re in a hurry or the chocolate is taking too long to set, pop them in the fridge.

Storing: Biscotti will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for a while, a week-ish. (If they last that long.)

*I mean, I guess you could omit the chocolate if you really wanted to, but no one would be very happy about it.

chocolate-dipped pistachio shortbread

pistachio shortbread
If you’re one of those people who vacation off to the Abandon Chocolate Camp during the summer, I’ve got news for you: you’re not alone. I’m absolutely in the habit of neglecting chocolate in the summer (and better bakers than I am are too). The bounty of fruit is often too tantalizing for poor chocolate to have an appeal. I made these a while back but there’s no reason they can’t be the posterchild cookie for a return to chocolate in the summer.
chopped pistachiosadd some greenshortbread doughscoop out tablespoons of doughAnyway, it’s not like this is a flourless-lava-death-by-chocolate sort of thing. It’s a delicate and dainty (if cookies can be) pistachio shortbread cookie that’s simply dipped in bittersweet chocolate. If you insist, the cookies are fine by themselves without the chocolate dip, or make some absolutely perfect ice cream sandwiches with strawberry ice cream smooshed between two. However, I think the crumbly almond-hinted pistachio shortbread is accented nicely by a dunk in slightly bitter chocolate and a sprinkle of pistachios for even more texture. The striking aesthetic appeal is also a nice bonus.
flatten into little logscooling cookiesassembly stationsfreshly dipped After all, chocolate is always in season.
sprinkle on pistachioslet the chocolate setchocolate-dipped pistachio shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread
adapted from Food52

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 plus 1/3 cup raw unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl using an hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts and 1/2 cup pistachios. Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into logs about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and around 1/3 inch thick. Place on baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of room between each cookie. Bake until golden brown around edges, 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.

Put chopped chocolate in bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Place remaining 1/3 cup pistachios in a small shallow bowl. Dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate about 1-1 1/2 inches deep. Or, use a spoon to spread chocolate on the top of the cookie. Let excess chocolate drip back into bowl, then sprinkle chopped pistachios over the chocolate-dipped half. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Let stand until chocolate has hardened, at least one hour. Cookies will keep in airtight container up to 1 week.

speculoos buttons

speculoos buttons, ready to partyLooking for a sparkly, festive New Year’s Eve dessert? Speculoos are little cookies spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves–think of the Delta Airline Biscoff cookies. They dress up nicely with sugar around the edges (I used uncolored raw sugar, so the cookie’s rims aren’t as pretty as the ones on the cover of Bon Appetit are), a dollop of thick white frosting, and a scattering of colored sugar or sprinkles. If you are more patient than I am, you will have perfectly round cookies too. They are good keepers, as I made them for Christmas Eve and they’re holding up well, and as cute as a button (pun intended).
speculoos buttons, in a tin

Speculoos Buttons
adapted from Dorie Greenspan for Bon Appetit, December 2012

Makes 90 (!) cookies, according to Dorie Greenspan, but 3-4 dozen, according to me

You can make these as tiny as you want, and I’m thinking the ones Dorie Greenspan made must have been microscopic. I chose to divide the cookie dough in half instead of thirds so the cookies would be a bit larger, but do as you wish.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
Sanding or other decorative sugar (I used raw sugar)

Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, or dragées (optional)

For the cookies: Whisk together the first 6 ingredients (flour, salt, and spices) in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer (or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) at medium speed, beat together butter, both sugars, and molasses until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix  until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scrape dough from bowl and divide in half or thirds, depending on what size you want your cookies. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours. (For neater edges, remove logs from freezer after 1 hour and roll on counter.) At this point, you can freeze the logs for up to 2 months.

Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven and preheat to 375° F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen and lightly brush all over 1 log. Evenly sprinkle the log with sanding sugar, rolling the log in the excess. Using a long, sharp knife, slice the log into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Transfer to 1 baking sheet, spacing about 1/2 inch apart, and place in the freezer or at least the fridge while you cut the next log. (The cookies hold their shape better if you bake when dough is cold.) Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes, until tops and edges are golden brown and centers are almost firm, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool before icing. 

 For the glaze: Mix powdered sugar and 7 teaspoons (2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) cold water in a large mixing bowl (glaze will be very thick, but add more water if it is overly stiff). Spoon about 1/2 teaspoons glaze onto each cookie (alternatively and more neatly, fill a resealable plastic bag or pastry bag with glaze and cut a small hole in 1 corner; pipe glaze in an even circle around edges of cookies, then fill). Decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or dragées, if desired. Let stand on rack at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for glaze to set. 

Storing: Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.