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GF Triple Treat Cookies

The last time I talked about cookies, I was moaning about the fact that I could not seem to find a small chocolate chip cookie recipe that I liked well enough to put on our fund raising list. Eventually, I gave up and decided that our giant chocolate chip cookie recipe really is quite good and would satisfy anyone’s chocolate chip cookie craving.

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So, I moved on and made this cookie. We call it the Triple Treat cookie. It is based on a recipe from Baking, from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan for a cookie called Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters. We didn’t change it much except to add peanut butter chips, change the spice profile, and substitute out the flour for an all purpose gluten free one.

Oh, didn’t I tell you these are gluten free? Oh yes, and they are good. On our fund raiser list, we will have them with gluten as well, but I originally made these as GF, and they are just as tasty as the original. Really, there are just not enough GF recipes in the baking world that are good and easy to make and don’t require a crazy number of expensive ingredients.

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Except for the GF flour and xanthum gum (which is optional), you probably have all this stuff in your pantry already. Be careful with oatmeal, though. To make these truly GF, you will have to search out GF oatmeal. I got mine at Trader Joe’s. Their GF oatmeal seems to be thicker than others, which contributes a chewier texture to the cookie.

We call these the Triple Treat cookies because they have all the traits of three popular cookies: peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate. Eating one of these is like eating three of you favorite cookies in one!

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TRIPLE TREAT GF COOKIES
adapted from Baking, from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
makes 24-30 cookies

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (make sure they are GF)
1/2 cup GF flour (I used King Arthur brand)
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum, optional
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky, but not natural
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup gf peanut butter chips
1/2 cup gf chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together in a medium sized bowl the oatmeal, gf flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Reduce the speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients just until blended. Mix in the chips.

Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

If you do not want to bake them at once, the dough can be refrigerated for a day or frozen for several months. To freeze, scoop the dough onto a baking sheet (you can place them closer together since you will not bake them right away), cover with plastic wrap, press down on each ball to form a 1/2 inch disk, and place the whole pan in the freezer for a few hours. When the dough is frozen, you can transfer the dough discs into a freezer bag until you are ready to bake. Then, proceed with the recipe, adding a couple minutes to the baking time.

Bake each pan for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden and firm around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack with a spatula. Repeat this with any remaining dough. Enjoy!

Back to the Beginning

In the last few weeks, I have tried no less than five chocolate chip cookie recipes. Somehow, I have it in my head that I need another chocolate chip cookie to add to our fund raising list, but it needs to be a little different than the one that is already there. That one is a giant sized cookie, similar to the kinds of cookies you buy in really good bakeries for almost the same amount of money you would pay for your latte. It’s the kind of cookie that you share with one or two people. Either that, or you might feel obligated to skip a meal if you eat the whole thing and that would be ok because it is such a good cookie that you would be willing to sacrifice a meal for it.

No. That’s not what I want right now.

Right now, I want an everyday chocolate chip cookie. It needs to be a small size; one that can be eaten without much guilt. Originally, I thought that adding oatmeal and some nuts would fit this bill. So far, I have made 4 batches with oatmeal and some kind of nut in them. Oatmeal, I reasoned, would give this cookie a healthy aura and the nuts would add some nice flavor and protein that would definitely throw the cookie into the healthy snack category.

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There are problems here, though. Oatmeal seems to dry out a cookie and make it dense and coarse textured. I know I wasn’t going for cake, but I also did not want a cookie that had to be drowned with milk or tea in order to be swallowed. Also, the nuts were not popular with the kids. Sometimes, I can get away with nuts if the adults love them enough, but for a chocolate chip cookie, I really felt that the kids should love them as well.

So, I am back to the drawing board with this one. There are one or two more things I am going to try and then I may just have to throw in the towel. In the meantime, I need to figure out what to do with the 12 dozen or so oatmeal chocolate chip nut cookies that I have stashed in the freezer.

Cookie Quest, The Final Chapter

When I last talked of oatmeal cookies, I mentioned how I disliked the soda flavor that seemed to be prominent in most oatmeal cookie recipes. Well, I did manage to find a recipe with no baking soda and it is a recipe I have made many times before, with varying results. It’s the Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe from Baking Illustrated by the Cook’s Illustrated people. I remember way back, many moons ago, when I first made the recipe that I thought they were fantastic, but the past couple of times I made them, They have been much less than fantastic. They were dry and kinda hard. But, there was no baking soda in sight, just a little baking powder.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that I could love. Several (almost a dozen) batches later, here is the result.

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There are a couple of things that make this recipe different from others. Firstly, it calls for both baking soda and baking powder. The soda helps to keep the cookie soft, but there isn’t so much that it is a prominent flavor.

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Secondly, one of the things I liked about the cookies I made awhile back with my leftover rummy fruit mix was the orange flavor that came through from the candied orange peel. So, I decided to throw in a little orange marmalade to bring in that citrus flavor. Why marmalade and not candied peel? Well, I am all out of candied peel right now, that’s why! Plus, it is easier to obtain than good quality candied peel. Actually, I have never seen good candied peel for sale in the store. I have always made it myself. Try to find marmalade that has a lot of peel in it, not just a few bits floating around in gel. You’ll get more texture and orange flavor.

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One thing I tried and left out of the final recipe was soaking the fruit in some rum or grand marnier. I liked how the fruit was moist, but it was throwing off the moisture balance of the cookie. Still, if you have dried fruit that is drier than usual, more like jerky than softly dried, you may want to macerate the fruit in 1/2-1 tablespoon of hot water or booze for at least 15 minutes. Just be sure to cool and pat the fruit dry before adding it to the batter.

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These cookies are good with any combo of fruit, nuts, and chocolate. The version pictured here has raisins and a cup of chocolate chips thrown in. During holiday time, I would probably use cranberries and white chocolate. Whatever you decide to put in it, they will be tasty–crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, with bursts of orange and chocolate flavor.

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They are just right for the cookie jar.

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Orange Oatmeal Cookies with Fruit

Makes about 4 dozen 3 inch cookies. If you don’t want to bake the full batch of cookies at once, form the dough balls onto a baking sheet and freeze them. When they are frozen, take them off the pan and put into a plastic bag to store in the freezer. This way you can bake as many or little as you need.

215g or 2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
150g or 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
150g or 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
85g or 1/4 cup orange marmalade
106g or 2 large eggs
10g or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

215g or 1 1/2 (7.5oz) cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

185g or 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal (do not use the instant kind)
195g or 1 1/4 cups raisins or dried cranberries or other fruit
180g or 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a convection oven). Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine butter with sugars in a mixer bowl and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the marmalade and vanilla extract. Then, add the eggs, one at a time and mix at medium low until fully combined. You may need to scrape the bowl once or twice.

3. Whisk together the dry ingredients (not the mix-ins) together in a medium bowl. With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until almost fully combined. A few streaks of flour are ok.

4. Add the oatmeal, fruit, and chocolate and mix on low until just combined. Give the dough a few stirs by hand at the end to ensure all the batter is smoothly mixed.

5. Using a medium sized cookie scoop or a large tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough balls slightly with your fingers. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and no longer look wet in the center. Cool on pan for at least 5 minutes before removing to a rack.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days, but they will lose their crispness after the first day.

Cookie Quest, Part 2

Oatmeal cookies. I seem to be a little obsessed with them today.

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I made the same recipe I talked about yesterday, only I used regular golden raisins, no rum, and vanilla extract instead of paste. Happily, they turned out pretty much the same as the other ones.

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Then, I went on to the next recipe in Bouchon Bakery, the TLC. This is basically an oatmeal cookie with pecans instead of raisins. It has the seeds of half a vanilla bean in it and are much lighter in flavor than the others.

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I don’t think the vanilla seeds are worth the expense and the recipe calls for no salt, which I thought was a little odd, so I added a pinch anyway. When I tasted it, I could tell it needed a little more salt. I liked the nuttiness from the pecans, but the cookie as a whole was a little disappointing, though this could be because I was taking bites out of both cookies, one right after another. The oatmeal raisin ones have more spice and a chewy texture, so the TLC cookies may just be overshadowed a bit by its glamorous sister.

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Both cookies are leavened with baking soda alone, which kinda bugs me a little. I have never been a huge fan of the soda flavor and it is particularly strong in the cookies with the raisins, which has more than double the amount of baking soda than the TLC ones.

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A quick check through some of my other cookbooks revealed that most other oatmeal cookie recipes also call for baking soda. My understanding is that soda is sometimes used in a recipe when a tenderizing effect is wanted. In this case, the soda helps to tenderize and soften the oatmeal. This helps keep the cookie softer and moister, but also has a huge effect on flavor.

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I’m not really sure where I am going with this line of thought, except to wonder if there is a way I could have the soft texture without the soda flavor. It’s probably impossible, and I will probably just have to get used to it, but if anyone has any ideas, I’d welcome them. In the meantime, I’ve got another oatmeal cookie recipe or two (or 5) that I may try.

Cookie, anyone?

Cookie Quest, Part 1 plus a New Cookbook Adventure

It’s only been a couple of months since the end of our annual cookie fundraiser, but I am already thinking about the cookie list for this year’s event. There are a few cookies we will be dropping from the list since they did not receive many orders and at least two, probably three, that I need to change because I just was not happy with them.

Oatmeal Raisin is the first one that is getting some attention. Well, actually, during the most recent drive, it manifested itself as an oatmeal cranberry white chocolate cookie. But, even though those who ordered them seemed happy with them, I was not. In fact, I have yet to meet an oatmeal cookie that pleased me.

What is it about the oatmeal cookie? I love the idea of them. I feel happy feeding them to my children as a snack because they have oats and dried fruit, sorta like granola in disguise. But, most of the recipes I have tried in the past are disappointing. They tend to bake up brick-like, without much spread, and they tend to be hard and dry, not moist and chewy. At least, every recipe I have tried in recent memory have turned out like this, except for the ones I made last week.

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Last week, I decided to start baking through my newest baking cookbook: Bouchon Bakery by the infamous Thomas Keller and his sidekick, Sebastien Rouxel. This book came into my possession a couple of months ago and I have been itching to get started with it for awhile. The first recipe of the book (well, actually, it’s the second, but the first was in the introduction, and I’ll get to that another day) just happens to be Oatmeal Raisin, so it was fate or destiny or something like that.

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I made the recipe mostly exactly as written, even though I was sorely tempted to double or even triple it, but I resisted. The only change I made was to sub in some rum-soaked fruit that I had leftover from the holidays. I didn’t think that was a big deal since he said you could soak the raisins if they seemed dry, so I figured a little added rum in the fruit would be ok.

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I also made the cookies a little smaller than he suggests. I got 21 small cookies out of a recipe that was supposed to make 6 giant ones. Those giant cookies must be the size of lunch plates because I thought mine were a pretty good size, about 3 inches in diameter. In fact, the recipe instructs the baker to bake only three cookies to a pan! I wouldn’t call those giant; they’d have to be colossal!

Anyway, I don’t know if it was the rum soaked fruit or the recipe itself, but it was a good cookie. They spread nicely and remained soft, but moist, with a little crispness around the edges. This recipe will have to be tried again with the usual raisins to see if it will make the cut for me. I thought they looked a little uneven, but that could be from the extra moisture from the rum.

This is a very good beginning, I hope, to a very good and long relationship with this book. I may just bake through the whole book, one recipe at a time. Wouldn’t that be fun? Guess what the next recipe is? Oatmeal cookies without fruit! I am sensing a change in my oatmeal cookie fortunes.