Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving... And despite all the turkey and stuffing (or here in the South, dressing) and cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole and corn casserole and on and on and on... We all need a really good COOKIE.

So here ya go. You can thank me in gold bullion.

Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries
(Makes sixteen 4-inch cookies)

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
1 ¼ rolled oats (old-fashioned)
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup of dried cherries, coarsely chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks about the size of chocolate chips (about ¾ cup.)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries and chocolate.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium sped until no sugar lumps remain, about one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated. About 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until evenly incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough evenly into 16 portions, each about ¼ cup, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; stagger 8 balls on a baking sheet, spacing then about 2 ½ inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake about 8 minutes, rotate sheet, bake another 8 minutes until the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft – cookies will seem underdone and will appear wet, raw and shiny in cracks. DO NOT OVERBAKE.

Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

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