Dessert, Snack

CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES WITH CHERRIES + PECANS

I'm fresh off a girls road trip to Napa, California. We stayed at a wonderful hotel in Calistoga called Solage, rode bikes to local wineries, ate, laughed and participated in a self led water aerobics class. We think we're so funny, the lounging pool folk may attest otherwise. We enjoyed a personal tour and tasting at Kelly Fleming's vineyard, and chatted around her big farmhouse table. I get so inspired when I watch people pursue what they love. It is absolutely gorgeous up there. As a Southern California girl, I am awe struck by the landscape that is a mere 8 hours north.

My kitchen has been quiet the past few days, so we're sharing a recipe we had posted on The Kitchn earlier this week. Tara at Seven Spoons posted a version of this recipe quite a ways back, and her images haven't left my mind since. I knew that when I next committed to make a decadent, buttery, serious business cookie, this would be the one. Her post was about a year ago, which goes to show I don't have the self control to make 'serious business' cookies very often. They certainly met my expectations. After a year of thinking about them, they materialized into the soft centered, slightly crisp exterior I had hoped they'd be.

CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES WITH CHERRIES + PECANS// Makes 24 cookies

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

If you like a salty bite to your sweets, I would suggest giving them a sprinkle of sea salt just before you put them in the oven. Pairs perfectly with cold milk or some vanilla bean ice cream.

1 Cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

3/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/4 Cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 Cup Pecans, toasted and chopped

1 Cup Dried Cherries, chopped coarse

8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped into small pieces OR chocolate chips

3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, softened but still cool

1 1/2 Cups Muscavado/Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1 Extra Large Egg

1 tsp Real Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

1. Use parchment paper or a silpat* to line several standard baking sheets and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2.In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a whisk and a strong arm, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.

3. Gently sift, or with the mixer down to low, add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, fruit and chocolate. Do not overmix.

4. Roll these portions lightly between your hands in about 1/4 cup portions, then place on each baking sheet, spaced evenly. You can make them small, but adjust your baking time a few minutes less. Wet your hands and lightly press the dough to a 1-inch thickness. Bake the cookies, two trays at a time, in a preheated oven for 12 minutes. Rotate the trays top to bottom and back to front and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle. They should appear slightly undercooked.

5. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

* You can find a silpat at Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon. They keep the bottoms on cookies or biscuits from burning, while also creating a non-stick surface. They come in a few sizes, so be sure it fits the measurements of your cookie sheet!