Tuesday, October 13, 2020

26 blobs of future happiness

I have a new favorite cookie recipe. I realize this isn't ground breaking news, but it is comforting as hell and right now, with the world careening toward the abyss, I'll take what I can get. And while they aren't exactly good for you (2 sticks of butter and a lot of brown sugar in a batch that makes about 2 dozen large cookies) neither are they as bad for you as my previous favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe which had no redeeming nutritional value. These are stuffed full of nuts and seeds and whole grains, yet don't taste at all "healthy." There are pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, spelt flour and oats packed in there (along with the aforementioned butter and sugar and a generous quantity of chocolate.)

Cookie glamour shot

My version comes from this base recipe for Anytime Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies though I made a few tweaks to suit my tastes. The base recipe is very flexible with lots of possible substitutions in the nuts/seeds/whole grains department that I imagine yield a wide spectrum of different tastes and textures. While I intend to do some experimenting--I'm thinking of trying a batch with buckwheat flour, walnuts and sunflower seeds--I'm sure that it would produce a very different cookie. The recipe at the end of this post is a winning combination that has been validated by my 17 year-old (who ate an insane number of these) and a group of friends who gave them the thumbs up. 

This cookie took a trip to Lake Michigan and made a delightful pairing with a Honeycrisp apple

They are the kind of cookie that you don't make in the moment when you desperately need a cookie to keep your sanity because they take a little time, first resting the dough in the fridge before scooping and then freezing the scooped cookies until solid. They bake up to the best texture when they go directly from the freezer to the oven. I made one tray with refrigerated dough and they spread a lot more, still tasty, but less chewy. But the positive side of all this resting and waiting is that you can have a supply in the freezer which promises fast future happiness: 10 minute to preheat your oven + 16 minutes bake time and you have my idea of heaven in a cookie.

Ready for the freezer: 26 blobs of future happiness.

Nutty Seedy Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies
makes about 2 dozen large cookies

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/4 C raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 C raw sunflower seeds
1T whole flax seeds
1T whole sesame seeds
1/4 C unsweetened flaked coconut
1 C (125 g) all-purpose flour
2/3 C (83 g) spelt flour (or swap in whole wheat)
1 t kosher salt
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 C (300 g) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla
8 oz chocolate chips (I like the Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips because they are a little bigger and a little more bitter than regular chocolate chips)
1 C old fashioned oats
  1. Brown your butter. Melt butter over medium-low heat and patiently wait until it turns golden brown and nutty smelling. Remove from heat and cool slightly (you can dump it in the bowl with the brown sugar if you are worried about it overbrowning in the pan). And if browning butter is among your least favorite things to do then you can just melt it. I made one batch with melted, not browned, butter and they were excellent cookies, just not quite as amazing as the browned butter ones.
  2. Toast your nuts and seeds. I do this in the toaster oven but a regular oven is fine. Preheat to 325, line a tray with parchment and spread out the pecans and toast for 6 minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool (I pick up the edges of the parchment, slide off the nuts and then reuse the parchment for the next step). Spread out the pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds and the coconut on the parchment and bake for about 5 minutes until the coconut is golden. Transfer to the same plate as the nuts and cool. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix together all purpose and spelt (or whole wheat) flours, salt and baking soda.
  4. In a large bowl measure out your brown sugar and add your slightly cooled browned (or melted) butter. Mix on high until it is thick and smooth. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix on high until it is pale and silky smooth. 
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. Fold in the nuts/seeds/coconut mixture. Then stir in the chocolate chips and oats until everything is evenly distributed. 
  6. Cover the bowl and chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours (or over night) so it firms up and is scoopable.
  7. Scoop the chilled dough (I use an ice cream scoop) into blobs (about 2T sized) and place close together on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for about an hour and then either bake a batch or pop them into a freezer bag and feel the delightful security that you have a stash of amazing cookie blobs ready to go when things get dire.
  8. When you decide to bake: preheat the oven to 350 and place about 8 cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet; they will spread so give them space. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for 8 more until deeply golden at the edges but still a little squishy in the middle. Cool on the baking sheet.

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