Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

   

 This is a recipe I actually made way back before Christmas. I felt like I wanted to make them again before I presented these little tasties to the world, so I did. These cookies are sweet and chewy, packed with vanilla soaked dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. If you and the classic CCC are ready to take your relationship to the next level, this is just the thing for you.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

So one of the reasons I remade these cookies was because I forgot to write the recipe down. I knew it was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, so it wasn’t going to be difficult to recreate – but I did just a few things differently and wanted to make sure I had it all correct before making this post. You can imagine my horror when I took the cookies from the oven and they were flattened paper thin discs studded with pieces of chocolate and fruit. Where were those thick, chewy, decadent cookies I had made before Christmas? Where were the cookies that looked like this?

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

I forgot to put the oatmeal in them. Yup. I’m a doofus. Believe it or not, when making oatmeal cookies you really oughtta include the oats. Makes a HUGE difference. I remade the cookies again (WITH the oats) and voila – beautiful, chubby, nutty cookies with bites of tart sweetened cherries and gooey chocolate. Hooray!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

 

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Serves 36
Chewy, sweet oatmeal cookies packed with vanilla soaked cherries and gooey dark chocolate.
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2. 1 tablespoon hot water
  3. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  6. 1/3 white sugar
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water (or 1 egg)
  8. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  11. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  12. 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the vanilla extract, hot water, and dried cherries. Leave to soak for at least 20 minutes. Strain the cherries and save the liquid.
  2. In a stand mixer combine softened butter, sugars, egg replacer mixture (or egg), and the strained vanilla liquid from the cherries. Cream until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the cherries, chocolate chips, and oats.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, melon baller, or heaping tablespoon scoop the cookies onto a parchment lined sheet, leaving two inches between each cookie. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. They should be lightly browned at the edges and slightly underdone looking on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. I got about 3 dozen cookies from the batch.
Calories
  1. 91
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookies

   

I have had my blog running long enough now that it’s finally time to do this. Yessiree – it is time for the good ol’ classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. The characteristics of the ideal CCC vary from person to person, so there is no real way to determine the best recipe in the cookiverse. What I can tell you is that this is MY favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve done the New York Times’ version and although they were fantastic, the 24 hour wait time is too much for my impatient taste buds. Once I smell butter and sugar creaming together in the bowl I gotta have the cookies in my belly yesterday. This enhanced version of the original CCC recipe from Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House cookbook was dreamed up by Laura aka The Cooking Photographer. Almost 4 years ago I left a comment on her blog revering her as the ultimate CCC goddess, and I stand by that statement. I. LOVE. THESE. COOKIES.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple of things set this recipe apart. A few extra steps that take just a little more effort but have a huge payoff in the end. First off there is the browned butter, which as any sane person will tell you makes just about anything 10x better. Laura also uses ground up oatmeal in place of some of the flour, which makes these cookies extra chewy and flavorful. The tiniest amount of vinegar helps keep them tender, and you’ll never know it was in there if someone didn’t tell you. She uses walnuts in her recipe but I’m partial to pecans, so that’s what I’ve used in mine. All of these things work together to create an absolutely heavenly chocolate chip cookie, and I’m excited to finally share it here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 36
My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, made with brown butter and toasted pecans.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  3. 3/4 cup fresh light brown sugar, packed
  4. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  8. 1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed in 1/4 cup of water or 2 large eggs
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  10. 2 cups all purpose flour
  11. 1 cup pecans
  12. 3/4 of a 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat until foamy and lightly golden brown. Pour into a bowl and wipe out the skillet. Place butter in the refrigerator and cool to about room temperature.
  3. In the skillet over medium heat, toast the oatmeal stirring often until fragrant and some of the oatmeal is light golden in color. About 3 minutes. Transfer the oatmeal to a food processer and grind until fine and powdery. Set aside.
  4. Toast the pecans in the same skillet that you toasted the oatmeal in. Let cool slightly and chop to desired size.
  5. Mix in a stand mixer the softened butter, browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on slow to combine, and then on high speed until fluffy and lighter in color.
  6. Add the egg replacer (or eggs) and mix until combined. Add the oatmeal and baking soda and beat for another minute. Next, add the flour half at a time and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  7. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
  8. With a size 50 cookie scoop or a generous tablespoon, drop the dough onto parchment paper 3 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let set on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. If omitting nuts, add 1/3 cup more flour to the batter and the whole bag of chocolate chips. These cookies freeze extremely well after they’re baked. You can take a few out at a time and microwave them. Or just let them thaw on the counter.
Adapted from The Cooking Photographer
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 


Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes

   

Oh man… it’s been a while since I’ve done this. As with many new obsessions, it’s easy to explode out of the gate only to lose the race down the road. My last post was before Christmas and originally I guess I made the excuse that the holidays got the better of me. For several weeks I was perfecting a gingersnap bark recipe that would be perfect for packing into Christmas tins. Obviously I didn’t get that done, but I’ll look on the bright side – I now have another 7 months until Christmas to get the recipe just right!

I still cook all of the time. I still plate and photograph my food. I import the recipes into myfitnesspal’s recipe builder to get nutritional information. You’d think with this much work out of the way that it would be pretty easy to write something up to share with the few people that check my little ol’ blog. Unfortunately it’s all of this stuff (imagine me gesturing at these words on my monitor) that doesn’t come so easily to me. A lot of bloggers have a way of effortlessly weaving stories into their recipe posts. They talk about remembering the smells of their grandmother’s kitchen as she baked dinner rolls. Maybe they recall their recent visit to the farmers market where they found beautiful fresh cut sunflowers and the first perfect strawberries of the season. You see, I don’t have these types of stories to share with readers. I’m just a gal that cooks and eats. Ever so often I cook (and eat) something that really stands out, in this case enough to make me… could it be? Write a blog post about it??

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes

Inspiration struck me one morning when my sweet tooth demanded pancakes… more specifically the oatmeal “Cory cakes” available at the Dallas coffee shop Legal Grounds. They make them with oatmeal, which lends a slightly nutty flavor and subtle texture to the cakes. They are delicious. In addition to that craving I realized that oatmeal pancakes always seem to call for rolled oats, but I’m a steel cut oats kind of gal. Add in the overripe bananas I had sitting on my counter and you have all of the ingredients (HAHA INGREDIENTS! FOOD PUN!) for the sort of cooking experimentation that I love.

Well here it is folks – the pancakes that reawakened the dormant food blogger within me. My maple muse. When I first made these they were such a big hit that I made them again a few days later.  Then I made them yet again this morning, this time opting to try out my vegan substitutions just to ensure the quality didn’t suffer in the process. That first photo up there is of the vegan version by the way – I guarantee you nobody would know it either. The original version (shown in the other two photos) was made with a small amount of sour cream. If you find yourself with time to make a special weekend breakfast, I highly recommend giving these a try. They are some of the best pancakes I’ve ever made!

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes
Serves 5
Sweet, fluffy, and hearty – these pancakes are definitely a favorite.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup dry steel cut oats
  2. 2 tablespoons flax meal (see notes for substitution)
  3. 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  4. 1 cup of milk (I used unsweetened flax milk – but use what you have around)
  5. 2 tablespoons of sour cream or yogurt (2 more tablespoons of nondairy milk if vegan)
  6. 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  7. 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  8. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 tablespoon white sugar
  11. 1 tablespoon baking powder
Instructions
  1. Cook the oats according to package instructions. I used a quick cooking variety that takes less time and uses less water. When it’s finished remove from heat and stir in the flax meal. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl combine the oatmeal with all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. With a gentle hand slowly stir until just moistened. Do not over mix or your pancakes might be tough. This isn’t the kind of runny batter you get out of a squeeze bottle in a store. It will be pretty thick.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the pancakes onto a medium hot skillet. You can lightly coax it into a circular shape, but work quickly. When the edges of the pancake start to look dry, flip to the other side and cook a few more minutes. Makes about 10.
Calories
  1. 217
Variations
  1. I don’t cook with eggs, which is why I add the flax meal. I know this is an unusual ingredient. You can try leaving it out and just adding an egg into the liquid ingredients. The batter would be a little thinner but they should still work just fine.
  2. If you don’t have any rum on hand, you could use a bit of vanilla extract in its place.
  3. For a lower calorie alternative you can use a sugar free substitute in the pancakes and skip the maple topping, which adds about 100 calories per serving. Some light whipped cream with sliced bananas could be a healthier option.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Recipe: Maple Banana Rum Topping

Summary: Liven up the maple syrup with fresh banana and a splash of rum.

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, warmed
  • Splash of rum, to taste

Instructions

  1. Stir it all together and serve over pancakes. Easy!

Preparation time: 2 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Calories: 100

Banana Rum Steel Cut Oat Pancakes


Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars

   

If you’re like a lot of Americans, it’s likely that you’ve yet to be introduced to the glory of the Tim Tam. If you’re Australian then you’re probably sleeping on a Tim Tam mattress at night in your knitted Tim Tam footsie pajamas. I happen to know that most of the people that visit my blog are from the states though (thanks Google Analytics!), so I’ll tell you a bit about this delightful little cookie… or biscuit as it’s more appropriately called. Actually, I’ll just let Wikipedia do the work for me:

“A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.”

Do I have to tell you how awesome it is that the word chocolate is listed in the description three times? Nope? Alright then, because we’ll be much better friends if you appreciate chocolate in the way that I do – Inception style. Chocolate within chocolate within chocolate. So why not take this awesome store-bought treat and I don’t know… cover it with more chocolate, some dulce de leche, a chewy oatmeal crumble, and salty chopped pretzels? The amount of win in these bars is out of control, man.

 

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

Tim Tams haven’t always been easy to get in the U.S. and I’d go on to say that they still aren’t easy to find, but since Pepperidge Farm started making them it’s become a lot easier. The true brand is called Arnotts, and I’m able to find them at the local World Markets in the Dallas area. The Pepperidge Farm version is a pretty good knock off – slightly different than the original – but still a suitable replacement. I haven’t actually tried them in this recipe but I see no reason why they wouldn’t work just as well. I’ve been able to find them at Target. I suggest you try to get your hands on two packages. One for the unforgettable (and absolutely required) Tim Tam Slam experience, and the second for making these addictive dessert bars.

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

 

Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars
Serves 16
An addictive dessert bar that is chewy, sweet, rich, and a little salty.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Tim Tams
  2. 5 tablespoons butter, chopped into cubes
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1 cup old fashioned oats
  6. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup butter, chopped into cubes
  10. 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  11. 1 cup salted pretzels, chopped
  12. 3/4 cup of dulce de leche (up it to 1 cup for a thicker caramel layer)
  13. 3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8×8 inch baking dish.
  2. In your food processor pulse together the Tim Tams, 5 tablespoons of butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar until crumbly. Press into bottom of your baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of the dulce de leche over the top – it will be a very thin layer.
  3. Go back to your food processor and combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, 1/2 cup of butter, and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and scatter half of it over the top of the dulce de leche. Press lightly into place and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While that is baking pulse the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk and the chopped pretzels into the rest of the oatmeal mixture.
  5. Remove pan from the oven and while still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Drizzle remaining 1/2 cup of dulce de leche over the chocolate chips (I found microwaving the dulce de leche for a few seconds helped make this part easier). Using the back of a spoon very gently level out this layer. You don’t want it mixed, you just want the melting chips to meld with the caramel sauce a little and to have the layer be even.
  6. Scatter the remaining oatmeal and pretzel mixture over the top. Press gently to pack the layer down slightly and return to the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
  7. This next step is the most important: Let the bars cool completely before cutting. I actually think they do better if you let them cool, transfer them to the fridge to chill, and then cut them. You want that chocolate to be completely firm or you’ll have a gooey mess on your hands. I know that sounds delicious and tempting, but trust me when I say it’s worth the wait to do it right! Slice into 16 squares and serve.
Calories
  1. 370
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Tim Tam Crumble Bar

Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars


Savory Steel Cut Oats For One

   

I attend an exercise boot camp three days a week. Whenever I get home I try to make it a point to eat something, even though I’m usually too worn out to want to prepare anything. Smoothies and shakes are an easy go-to fix for those mornings, but I’ve always been one to prefer savory breakfasts over sweet ones. While I have never been a fan of oatmeal, after I was introduced to steel cut oats I developed more of a tolerance for them. And that’s really all it was – a tolerance. Many mornings I would whip up a batch of sweet oatmeal with cinnamon and bananas, but it’s not really my thing. Then savory oatmeal came into my life and changed everything. I can honestly say I LOVE oatmeal when it’s prepared this way, and I never would have thought I’d say that I love oatmeal. The way I prepare it makes just enough for myself and has the good things I want after a workout, like protein and whole grain. Not to mention that it’s under 350 calories and is as easy to prepare as measure, stir, wait, and stir. Honestly this stuff is pretty fool proof and makes you feel like you’re eating a fancy pants risotto. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

 

Savory Steel Cut Oats For One
Serves 1
Oatmeal with sausage and smoked cheese makes for a filling and simple breakfast.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  2. 1-1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (depending on how thick you like your oatmeal)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  4. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 vegetarian sausage patty, cooked and chopped
  6. 1 oz smoked gouda, shredded
  7. 1/2-1 cup arugula or spinach
Instructions
  1. Bring stock to a boil then stir in oats and spices. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Stir in chopped sausage, shredded cheese, and greens. Salt and pepper to taste then enjoy!
Calories
  1. 328
Variations
  1. You could use rolled oats in this recipe to dramatically cut down on the cooking time, but I think the steel cut oats provide a less “mushy” texture.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/