Beautiful Day

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Instead of Serious Thoughts....Serious Cookies!

I've still been mulling over my thoughts related to the conference and other things I have been thinking of lately that all seem to center on using time wisely with my family and relationships that I value.  It takes me awhile to process and sometimes I just don't have the time (and it isn't the priority to blog...because though I enjoy processing thoughts here, it isn't the critical place for me to do so).  But I really am working on a post that I hope will be done in time for Mother's Day that is of a more contemplative nature.  Today I'm interrupting the serious thought processes to bring you.....COOKIES!  (And I don't mean those tracking things on your computer!  Why did they have to give those such a nice name anyway?)  I wish I had taken a picture of my first batch of cookies because they were the large ones and looked "prettier."  The ones above were a smaller batch, so they would stretch farther as many of them were shared with National Guard members (because everyone knows that two smaller cookies are more than one larger one, right?)

I mentioned that we shared lunches with dear friends during the conference. Julianne provided the sandwiches and yummy accompaniments.  I brought apples and some cookies the first  day.  These aren't just any cookies. ( I just finished eating one as I sat down to write this).  I digress to another story first....

Recently, the children and I took a trip to a local Farmer's Market.  My Country Girls were eager to go and find more inspiration and it was their reward for completing their piano syllabus exams earlier in the morning.  We had a very early breakfast that morning to get to the recital on time, so we were getting rather hungry while strolling through the Market.  We passed a farm stand with some baked goods that truly looked both delicious and healthy.  I indulged and bought us some cookies to split several ways.  Oh, we liked them very much!  And immediately my mind went to work.  You see, I have this DIY-nature about me.  It means that I will almost always find something I like and try to replicate it.  Or I'll balk at the price of a loaf of bread (or delicious cookies) and think to myself, "I can CERTAINLY make something like this at home!"  It's one of my favorite challenges to undertake.

So I came upon these cookies, which seemed more like a glorified granola bar to me.  They were loaded with seeds, fruits, and a little bit of chocolate to top it off.  All encompassed in an oatmeal cookie.  So I came right home and soon I was in the "test kitchen."  I decided they would be the perfect thing to take on our trip.  I made a big batch to share with friends and family through the several days we were gone.  And they were a hit with everyone who tried them.  I had several people ask me for more.

Here's the recipe.  Because someone dear requested it.  It makes a big batch as it is designed to make big cookies (like the sizes of those ones they sell at our Farmer's Market).  It also is a perfect size when you have many people who enjoy them.  If you desire a smaller recipe or smaller cookies, you may cut the recipe in half.  If you have a smaller mixer you may need to cut it in half.  This recipe fills my professional-grade Kitchen Aid to capacity!

The Everything-Oatmeal Cookie

2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used pecans)
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
(you could also add or try:  dried cherries, dried apricots, raisins or just about any other dried fruit or nut you might wish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Toast nuts by chopping them and placing them on a baking sheet.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully so they do not burn.  They are toasted when they are lightly browned and fragrant.  Let cool.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract to combine.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk together.  Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat together.  Carefully stir in the nuts, oats, seeds, dried fruits, and chocolate chips until blended.

For large cookies, measure out 1/4 cup batter--an ice cream scoop works well.  Drop them onto cookie sheet and space cookies about 2 inches apart.  Gently shape outer edges of cookie dough to make a nice round and flatten with your fingers to 1/2"-thickness.  Bake the cookies for about 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges but soft in the center.  It might take a little practice to find just the right point at which to remove them.  Ideally you want them not to be overbaked and crispy, but a softer texture.  Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container when fully cooled. 

**As a little note, if you have very little ones who might be sampling these cookies you might want to pay attention to the pumpkin seeds, which are a bit larger to chew up**

Makes approximately 40-48 large cookies.

Now that the cookies are done, you I can go back to more serious thinking.  I'm just sure these give my brain more energy for such work!  These will be a staple in our cookie-making repertoire.

1 comment:

  1. These cookies look delicious, Sherry. I'll have to try this recipe. :)
    Have a blessed week. :)



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