FAB CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These cookies were originally called “Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.” If that’s not a mouthful of a name, I don’t know what is…  But doesn’t it sound great? Flourless immediately conveys a soft, melt in your mouth fudgy texture. Almond butter is the grown-up, classy version of peanut butter. Once you add chocolate chips, oats, and a touch of coconut (omitted from the already long name), you can stop searching for the perfect cookie to start the day. Or as a mid-morning snack…

The recipe comes from Zainab’s blog, Blahnik Baker. Zainab is a food blogger who is working hard to finish her PhD in neuroscience. I remember those days (the PhD days, not the neuroscience); they are bittersweet like the best piece of chocolate. Part of you is thrilled by the vision of the finish line approaching, but getting there is never easy. Always harder than you anticipate.  I don’t know a single PhD candidate who at the time of the defense said “I started writing my thesis early enough, it all went smoothly”.  Nope, never. But, one way or another, we all seem to get there, and at some point forget the pain, enjoy the thrill.

Choc Chip Cookies1

FAB CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(from Blahnik Baker)

⅔ cup old-fashioned rolled
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup coconut flakes
1 cup almond butter (I used coconut almond butter)
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with wax paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and coconut flakes

In another medium bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix the almond butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Reduce speed to low and add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (do not over mix). Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips by hand.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop 2 tablespoon rounds of dough onto the prepared sheets.

Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

CookieDough
I did not grow up eating cookies, they were not part of my family tradition. However, since moving to the US, I developed intense fondness for cookies with rolled oats.  A common American practice is to dunk cookies in milk, but I find that hard to watch. It actually makes me a little queasy, much to the amusement of one of my stepsons, who loved to tease me about it. But, the truth is that even with my anti-American stance on the dunking of a cookie, I suppose that this one would be perfect for such objectionable act.

Cookie Balls

We loved these cookies! If you don’t have coconut almond butter, use the plain type, but don’t omit the coconut flakes, they contribute a nice texture and that tropical flavor that makes these babies special and unique.

cooling

Zainab, thanks for the recipe, and good luck in this final stretch of your research, have a batch of cookies nearby, they do give a lot of energy and will make writing a tad easier. Wishful thinking?

😉

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HELEN FLETCHER’S OATMEAL COOKIES

A few months ago I started following the blog hosted by Helen Fletcher, a fantastic baker who has this to say about her site:

  With 25 years experience owning and operating a wholesale specialty bakery servicing hotels, restaurants and caterers, I am going to share a wealth of information I’ve gained over those years with you.

That would definitely be enough to capture my attention, but once I started browsing her site one more thing became clear: Helen not only has tremendous experience in baking, but she is also a natural teacher. You know how some people have a special talent to explain things clearly, to emphasize what really matters? That is exactly what she does.  She is also the author of three cookbooks: The New Pastry Cookbook, European Tarts, and  Baking as a Business (available in PDF format).

Just to give you a glimpse of the recipes (actually they are more like tutorials) available on her site, here are some of the ones that tempt me:  27 Layer Tuille Torte, Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Torte, A Trio of Angel Food Cakes, Orange Almond Madeleines, and even the show-stopping Hungarian Dobos Torte calls my name, as her instructions are so detailed. Now, don’t hold your breath, I am not attempting that one… yet.  Taking baby steps, I started with harmless cookies.

cooling

OATMEAL COOKIES
(recipe reprinted with permission from Helen S. Fletcher – Pastries like a Pro)

3 cups old-fashioned Quaker Oats (do not use the quick cooking type!) 
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour (160 grams or 5 2/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar (225 grams or 8 ounces)
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
1/2 cup shortening (114 grams or 4 ounces)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound total chocolate chips, raisins, dried fruit or nuts in any combination (454 grams)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the sugars, butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined.  Add the vanilla.  If the mixture curdles, don’t worry about it.

Add the flour mixture half at a time, beating on low until completely combined.  Lastly, add the nuts, chips or whatever you are adding in.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop the cookies using a #40 disher or 2 tablespoons spacing them apart.  Double pan and bake for 9 minutes, turn and bake 8 to 9 more.  They should still be puffy when you pull them out.  They will drop and finish baking on the baking sheet as they cool.  Cool for about 8 to 10 minutes and remove to a cooling rack with a spatula.  Cool completely.

Yield:  Approximately 50 – 3 inch cookies.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

waiting

Comments:  What made me want to make this recipe right away was this statement by Helen: “I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me how much they loved this oatmeal cookie.  It is not your usual oatmeal cookie… This is a chocolate chip version that is not shy on spices.”   Oatmeal, chocolate, and spices.  Cannot go wrong with those. As the recipe says, you can add any combination of nuts, dried fruits, and the type of chocolate you like, as long as you keep the high proportion of add-ons. That is important to give the cookies their unique texture.  I used white and dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Finally, how could I skip a recipe that includes this line in the instructions?

If the mixture curdles, don’t worry about it…
😉

If only cake baking could work smoothly like that!  I would be making genoises as if they were going out of style…  I exchanged a few emails with Helen, to get her opinion on halving the recipe: 50 cookies seemed like too  many.  She was very nice, and gently tried to convince me to make the full batch.  I am a bit embarrassed to admit that she was right, and I should have followed her advice.  My batch made 20 cookies, as I tend to follow Phil’s preferences, and make cookies a little larger than average. The cookies vanished too fast, a full batch would have been better.  Oh, well. When a pro speaks, you should listen.  That’s what I keep trying to convey to our graduate students, but sometimes my shockingly wise words fall into deaf ears. Which explains 57% of my gray hair.

If a pro speaks, pay attention. If the mixture curdles, don’t worry about it.
(free advice given to you by your bewitching hostess)

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JUMPING ON THE BISCOFF BANDWAGON

Every once in a while an ingredient takes the spotlight and it seems that every cooking magazine, cooking show, food blogger uses it.  And oohs and aahs about it. Smoked paprika had its turn.  Macha powder.  Farro. Chia seeds. And then, there’s Biscoff.  One of the reasons it took me a while to join this crowd was the realization that I would be powerless once that jar was open. As I mentioned in the past, Delta Airline cookies make me lose all my composure.  And Biscoff, dear friends, is a Delta cookie in spreadable form.  My knees go weak, my mind goes wild.  Please make these cookies.  They will use half a cup of the addictive spread, so you’ll have a little less left to tempt you every time you pass by your pantry. And if my own post doesn’t convince you to bring a jar of the spread home, click here to see what Jessica had to say about it over at Feastie.

Heads Up:  Cookie dough must be refrigerated for 3o minutes before baking!

BISCOFF OATMEAL COOKIES
(from Two Peas & their Pod)

1 + 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff spread, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extra and beat until smooth.Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
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As it cools, turn your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Do not overbake.
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Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack
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.ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

If you are new to Biscoff, open the jar, close your eyes and take a good sniff at it: such a heavenly smell!  These cookies are very close to perfection in my book.  The inclusion of oatmeal gives them that “I am good for you” aura, so that you don’t dwell on the number of calories packed in a teaspoon of Biscoff.  Go for a run, join Tony Horton for a session of plyometrics, do whatever you need for damage control, but please, make these cookies!

Need more Biscoff inspiration?   

Snickerdoodle Biscoff Sandwich Cookies

Biscoff Blossoms

Biscoff Swirl Muffins

Creamy Biscoff Pudding

Chewy Biscoff Blondies

Biscoff Molten Lava Cakes
(be very very still, my heart!)

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