Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Tonight for dinner I made wild mushroom cakes with homemade avacado pesto and roasted red pepper coulis. They were awesome if I do say so myself and vegetarian I might add. Iv'e been eating like a nut case lately. Salads, berries and nuts, Iv'e practically been oozing health and it feels great. However, cooking tonight's "healthy" dinner I was truly appauled at how much oil and butter the recipe called for. You have to saute tons of wild mushrooms in the stuff and you know those little things soak it up like sponges. It was painful to not add more oil to them. They were making a shrill squeaky noise in the dry pan as they browned and i could have avoided it had i just put in more oil. but I stayed strong and didn't. On top of that, when he cakes are done and formed, you coat them in bread crumbs and brown them in even more oil. It was sort of discusting, there must have been 10 tablespoons of oil or butter in the dish when it was all done. I would have never thought about that before, but that is like over 1,000 calories. No wonder they were delicious.

Isabella on the other hand did not think they were delicious. She spent the whole dinner choking down a few bites between faces of disgust and anguish. I had decided that we needed some cookies prior to dinner since all we were consuming in essence was mushrooms, various vegetables and herbs and had mixed up a batch of oatmeal. Oatmeal because a) they are Jeremy's favorite b) I had a new recipe I wanted to try and c) because I was using real oatmeal so I could tell myself they were not so bad for me. After dinner we left Isabella to wallow in her misery at the table since she had to sit there until she was finished and I did dishes and put the cookie in the oven. Jeremy went to the garage to install Jeremiah's new car seat. I cannot tell you how many horrified faces Isa shot me through her stint at the table. I didn't feel bad though, mostly because there was nothing in those mushroom cakes that she didn't like. So she sat and gagged and poured lime juice on her food to try and drown out the taste. I told her she had better hurry because she was not going to get dessert if she wasn't done by the time the cookies were. She wasn't. I tried to stall to give her extra time but she just didn't care. Finally, after the cookies were out and just warm, I gave her 30 seconds more to finish. She did, but she was mad about it and in her anger refused the cookie. Big mistake. That's all I have to say because quite honestly these cookies were heaven.

I went to make Ina Garten's Oatmeal cookies from her newest cookbook, Back to Basics (she considers herself an oatmeal cookie aficionado). But mid-mixing I realized I didn't have any baking powder like the recipe called for, but I did have baking soda so I googled how to substitute one for the other. Turns out you should use about half the amount of baking soda as you would baking powder to make the measurements right. Also, Jeremy doesn't like raisins that the recipe calls for, so I left them out but added shredded coconut which it doesn't call for. Basically you can add whatever you want be it pecans, walnuts, raisins, coconut or chocolate chips, just make sure the total amount of extras you add equal how much the recipe puts in. Does that make sense? So if the recipe called for 1 cup raisins and 1 cup pecans, the total amount of anything you would want to add it would be 2 cups. It is really funny that I am writing that actually because it is true but I always eyeball instead of measure the add in's. So I guess, if you are good at eyeing quantities then I give you my blessing to do so. If you are not then please measure. If you add too much it changes the batter and it doesn't bake up the same way and that would really be a shame because this cookie is perfect. It calls for both brown and white sugar, so it is crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle (white sugar usually =crunchy; while brown sugar will make for more of a chewy cookie) and buttery and slightly salty all the way through. A knockout!

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics", with my changes

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
1 1/2 cups raisins (or chocolate chips or a combo of both)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl (or a piece of foil if you are lazy like less dish to wash) With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix until just combined. Spoon out the batter and form into 2 inch balls and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or use a silpat) Flatten each cookie slightly with your hands. bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. transfer the cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.
Makes about 24 cookies

If you like chewier cookies like me, let them cool slightly on the baking pan instead of removing them. I prefer these cookies warm.

You will not be sorry. And also, in case you were wondering Jeremy has figured that each cookie has about 3/4 tablespoon of butter. He has problems. :)