I know what you are probably thinking. “Whitney, I am cookie-d out. Christmas is in 3 days (3 days?!?) and I don’t need to hear about yet another cookie.” There have been plenty of cookie recipes floating around the blogs, some even had 12 Days of Cookies (I was impressed). But I will tell you why you need just one more recipe. Santa.
You see, Santa is a cookie connoisseur. But by the time that he gets to your house, he might be sugar-ed out. This is why these cookies save the day. Since they rely on spices and dark brown sugar rather than cups and cups of the white stuff, they don’t taste too sweet. And since they are packed full of oatmeal, dried fruit and some nuts they hit the stomach much like a granola bar (but they sure taste like a cookie; it’s the 2 sticks of butter).
This recipe comes from the famous Baked cookbook that I recently checked out from the library and wish that I would have just stuck on my Christmas Wishlist first thing. These cookies are that good. The book is filled with recipes which are tweaks on many classics but those tweaks turn the results from ordinary to extraordinary. One of the tweaks on this particular recipe was the step of letting the dough chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours. That is all well and good, but I was trying my hand at a little post-work, weekday night baking, and this came as a bit of a surprise. (Should have been obvious when the first step didn’t tell me to preheat the oven.) However, I stuck them in the fridge and let them chill until the next day after work and I bet they were even better since the flavors had so much time to meld in the fridge.
This is why I am telling you about these cookies today; so that you have enough time to get them ready for Santa. He will be glad that you did.
This recipe originally calls for dried cherries and walnuts but when I went to the store near my apartment, there were no dried cherries to be found. Then I came home to toast my walnuts and discovered that they were rancid, but I had fresh pecans. So I used cranberries and pecans in my first batch, but I have now stocked up with cherries and walnuts to make these again as Baked intended. I would bet that any fruit/nut combo would be divine.
Note: This recipe requires the dough to be chilled at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight. I learned this the hard way on a weeknight. This also makes 3 dozen cookies, so it would be a great candidate for flash-freezing.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups rolled oats
1 cup (8 ounces) dried cherries/cranberries
½ cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted walnuts/pecans
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and beat for a few more seconds.
Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the oats and beat on medium-low until just combined. Use a spatula to fold in the cherries and walnuts.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat (or use 1 and bake in batches like me).
Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough on the covered baking sheets. With the palm of your hand, gently squish the balls into a tall disk shape. Don’t go too crazy and press them too hard and make them too flat; you just want to flatten them a little. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes (mine only needed 11), rotating the pans halfway (if you are fancy like that), until the cookies just being to brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. However, feel free to pour yourself a tall glass of milk and enjoy 1 (or 4) while they are still warm. These will keep in an air-tight container for 3 days or so.