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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Soft, Chewy yum yums:

I love oatmeal cookies. I, me, who is obsessed with healthy foods and who has been known to comment on how bird seed looks appetizing loves a soft, slightly chewy and sweet oatmeal cookie. It goes without saying that I am always trying to find a recipe that does not result in little rock hard cookies peppered with dried raisins reminiscent of animal droppings.

It has taken a while but I think I have found the recipe. I made some changes to the original, adding the banana and reducing the sugar slightly to prevent scorched, sickeningly sweet cookies. Hopefully with continued testing (yum!) I can make the measurements more standardized. The original recipe is from the "Cooking Light" website. But don't worry, no fat-free cream cheese or wheat flour here I promise. This recipe is easy and produces very yummy, chewy cookies with a residual flavor of the banana pancakes my Mother made most Saturday mornings before words like "hang-over" or "8 am Final" meant anything to me.

Note on Ingredients:
If you have never toasted nuts before see the easy to follow guidelines below for the perfect pan of toasted pecans.

Don't skimp on the maple syrup. It is worth it to buy a bottle of something really pure and wholesome.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oats (rolled or instant are both fine)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon good maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 of a large banana, mashed
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350, a little under if yours (like mine) is a little over zealous as far as temperature goes. Grease a cookie shit and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the sugars and butter in a bowl with an electric mixer (or by hand if you don't have one). Add the vanilla, egg and syrup. Beat well.
4. Toast the pecans*. Remove the nuts from the heat, cool slightly. When the pecans are cool enough to handle chop them roughly.
5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine, being sure not to over mix. Stir in the pecans and raisins if you are using them.
6. Drop by tablespoon fulls onto the greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely. Makes 2-3 dozen depending on how generous you are. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Toasting Guidelines-
*Nuts are typically toasted in a dry pan over low heat. This means you do not need to add any butter or oil to the pan. The key is to keep an eye on them, tossing them periodically. The smell, like the taste, will be more pronounced as the nuts heat up. They will smell toasted but not burnt. If you burn nuts toss them out and start again. Do NOT try and salvage a pan of burned nuts as they will be bitter.

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