Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Everything and the Kitchen Sink Cookies

I just realized the other week that this blog is nearly two years old, and I still haven't told you about one of my favorite cookies ever.  Oops.  Sorry about that.  No, really, I am.

They come from Dorie Greenspan (adorable and so talented!), and can be found in her book Baking: From My Home to Yours.  I don't have the book, but at some point the recipe was published in a cooking magazine, which is where I discovered it.  (Judging from the font I'm going to say it was Bon Appetit, but I managed to trim away any real identifying details).  Dorie dubs these cookies, which are absolutely packed with oats, nuts, fruit, and chocolate, Chockablock cookies.  The type of nuts & fruit you use is entirely up to you, depending on what you have kicking around the pantry.  This time around I used dried cherries and apricots, pecans, and lots of chocolate, but I've tried lots of combos, all tasty and delicious.  My only minor change to the recipe is nixing the dried coconut (hate it!) and upping the oats and other add-ins to equal an extra half cup of stuff.  The cookie purists in your life might find these babies a little overwhelming, but if you like a cookie with a lot of flavor and texture, they are definitely worth a try.

Chockablock Cookies (From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
About 30 cookies

* 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
* ¾ teaspoon baking powder
* ½ teaspoon baking soda
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* ½ stick (4 tablespoons/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* ¼ cup solid vegetable shortening (i.e., Crisco)
* ½ cup sugar
* ½ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
* 2 large eggs
* 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
* 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds or peanuts are good)
* 1 cup coarsely chopped dried fruit (apricot and cherries are my faves, but I also love raisins, prunes, and cranberries, and I'd like to experiment with apple at some point)
* 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped, or about 2 cups of chocolate chips
* ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or add an extra half cup of oats & fruit/nuts)

1. Place your oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

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

3. Fit your stand mixer the paddle attachment if you have one, or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat together the butter and shortening until very smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat two minutes more.  Add the molasses and beat for 1 minute more.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. 

4. With the mixer on low, mix in the oats, then the dry ingredients, mixing just until they are incorporated.  Add the nuts, fruit, chocolate chips and coconut (if using), and pulse the mixer a few times to incorporate them (or just use a sturdy rubber spatula to fold them in).

(At this point, the dough can be refrigerated, covered in plastic, for two days.)

5. If you have a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, that's a perfect size for these cookies.  If you don't, simply drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared pans, leaving about 1 ½ inches between the mounds.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until the cookies are just set.  (Because they are dark in color, it's hard to judge done-ness by the color.  When in doubt, underbake I always say!)  Remove the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies rest on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool.  Cookies keep for about a week in an airtight container.  

Another do-ahead trick is to scoop the dough into mounds onto a cookie sheets and freeze them.  Once they're frozen solid, the mounds can be transferred to a freezer bag and kept for up to 2 months.  You can bake the cookies right out of the freezer, simply add a couple of minutes to the baking time.


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