Sometimes I’m a creature of habit. Certainly with my baking, I’m constantly trying new techniques, recipes, and ingredients, but sometimes when you find a particular cookie/pie crust/frosting/ brownie/etc. that checks all your boxes of deliciousness and whatever else you’re looking for, you just don’t need another version. While I’m always open to experimentation, that’s how I felt about this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies from BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking. Oatmeal cookies didn’t used to be especially high on my list of favorite cookies in general, but when we made Old-School Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies a while back, and more recently these Monster Cookies, and OH! when I made my own Triple Sesame Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies, I kinda fell head over heels for them. And the thing is, these three very different recipes are absolute oatmeal cookie perfection in my humble cookie-snarfing opinion; I really didn’t need another one, unless there was something pretty special about it. I love most of the recipes so far from Frontiers, but this one was fairly lackluster for me. I do not care for dried fruit in my cookies (or most baked goods, for that matter), and these are loaded with dried cherries, which elicit a giant meh from me. They also contain chopped, toasted walnuts, which I’m fine with, and I did add mini chocolate chips to up the appeal, but overall I found them to be ‘fine’. (I am really selling these, huh?) Now, if you like dried cherries and nuts in your oatmeal cookies, or say, you don’t have a huge sweet tooth (who are you?!), you are likely to enjoy these quite a bit. This is a solid, enjoyable oatmeal cookie with a pleasing chewy, chunky texture and hearty oatmeal depth.
The cookie dough is very easy to pull together, as one would generally expect for an oatmeal cookie. You start by creaming together the butter with granulated and dark brown sugars until fluffy. Add a couple of eggs and a splash of vanilla, then the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, cardamom). I didn’t realize until I had already started that I was out of cardamom, and I didn’t feel like halting the whole operation to run to the store for ¼ teaspoon, so I omitted it. The next step is mixing in the oats, but I didn’t see why the oats couldn’t just be added to the flour mixture, so I had whisked those into the dry ingredients already. Finally, you’ll fold in the cherries and toasted walnuts, plus ¾ cup mini chocolate chips in my case. I found it hard to distribute these well with a spatula, so I put the bowl back onto the mixer for sec to give it a final stir– I would probably just incorporate the mix-ins with the mixer paddle next time.
The dough needs to rest for 6 hours before proceeding, but I portioned it out into scoops and pressed them into hockey pucks at this stage as I always do with cookie dough, and I kept them in the fridge for about 24 hours. The cookies should bake for 12-14 minutes at 375°F. I found that my first tray got very brown on the edges and the middles were still a bit raw after 12 minutes; I took them out and thought they might be ruined. I turned the oven down to 350°F and baked the second batch for 14 minutes, and these baked more evenly. However, the first ones firmed up quite a bit while they cooled, and in the end, the two batches were indistinguishable– all the cookies had turned a deep, burnished brown with nice caramelization on the bottom.
As a rule, I fully advocate for the addition of chocolate where none exists; sadly, I didn’t add enough to make much of a difference in these cookies, even though I was using less of the cherries than the recipe called for. I probably won’t make these again due to the aforementioned better options, but if I did, I’d increase the chocolate chips to at least a full cup, if not a little more. My tasters enjoyed them, which always makes me happy.
If you’re craving cherries and walnuts in your oatmeal cookies, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies recipe, and check out the other bakers’ cookies too. 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2019.