Welcome to Cookie of the Month, the absolute antithesis of my posts (and lifestyle) on Clean Eating! It was my boyfriends idea to write a Cookie Of The Month column, no doubt because it allows him to sample the cookie test results, but I think it's a great idea! Last fall, I posted a pic of my friend Marcus' Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies - he used a recipe from Cooks Illustrated - and it turns out it was one of the most popular posts on my site. So while everyone is juicing and eating clean, there are those of use who still indulge in the occasional sweet. And now it's February, so I know many of you have completed your detox. Here, I took the learned process of browning the butter before blending it into a dough to my favorite recipe for oatmeal cookies. I'm happy to report the result is outstanding. These cookies spread into a thin and lacey cookie once baked and are perfect for serving alongside a cup of black tea.
Perfect Oatmeal Cookies
To prepare, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C) & set up the following ingredients:
BEAT TOGETHER IN A SMALL BOWL & Set Aside: 2 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla
BLEND IN ONE BOWL & Set Aside: 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups thick rolled oats 1 cup chocolate chips or raisins
IN A LARGE MIXING BOWL (preferably the bowl of a standing mixer), add: 4 tablespoons butter (2 ounces), cut into small pieces
& HAVE READY TO MEASURE OUT: 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup sugar
PLACE IN LARGE STAINLESS STEEL SAUTE PAN: 12 tablespoons of butter (6 ounces)
Place saute pan over medium high heat to melt butter. Once butter has melted, swirl the pan occasionally until the butter is deeply brown and smells nutty. This takes 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow butter to burn - i.e. pay attention & keep swirling. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the browned butter into the bowl with the solid butter and stir until all of the butter has melted. Set this bowl aside until slightly cooled, stirring occasionally, which introduces air into the melted butter and helps it to cool more quickly.
Once butter has cooled to warm (so, if you stick your fingertip in, it will not register as "hot" but will instead feel like the same temp as your body), add the sugars to the bowl and beat together until well blended, about 1 minute on medium speed. With the mixer running, add one egg at a time until well blended, about 1 minute total, and then turn off the mixer and let the batter stand for 3 minutes.
After resting, turn the mixer to high and beat for 30 seconds, then turn off the mixer and let the batter stand for 3 minutes more. Do this one more time, beating for 30 seconds and letting rest for 3 minutes. After the third time you blend, the batter should be a bit lighter in color and it will be thick enough to hold ribbons on the surface.
With mixer on low (or "Stir") fold in the flour-oat mixture and add the chips or raisins, blending until JUST combined, about 1 minute more. The batter will be more loose than traditional cookie batter. Do not refrigerate the batter! Instead, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and immediately scoop out cookies, using a large spoonful. Leave about 4 inches between each dollop of dough, and press the tops slightly, so they are slightly flat. (I fit about 4 -5 cookies on each baking sheet, leaving them plenty of room to spread.)
Place pan in oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn pans and bake another 5 to 7 minutes, checking them occasionally, until just golden brown. I like a gooey-center, so I under-bake my cookies slightly, though they will firm up once cool.
Continue baking in batches (allowing the baking sheet to cool between batches) until all of the cookies are baked. Conversely, you can shape any leftover or unbaked dough into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap and chill or freeze for later.
[amyp note: IF YOU SAVE DOUGH FOR LATER, before baking let the dough come up to room temperature and get a little soft. Softer dough produces a thinner, flatter, more lacey cookie. Using sliced dough from the fridge results in a thicker, more cake-y cookie. Chefs choice!]