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Sweets by Suz: World's Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, February 10, 2012

World's Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you see all that chocolate?? Notice the large Chunks!

I really don't like sharing secrets. There I said it. Sometimes I just give the recipe, not the secrets. But recently my daughter Julianna asked me if I could write down some of my recipes so she could make them when she's a Mom. Good thing I have plenty of time before then. And she will need the secrets. So here they are.

Perfecting a dish is not in the recipe, it is in the details that are not written. That is why I love the Cooks Illustrated Series. They discuss everything why things work and don't work. Last week at the Costco Food court an old lady saw that I had 10 lbs of butter and 100 lbs of sugar in my cart and asked me why her cookies turned out flat. I talked with her for about and hour and it could have been much longer. Among other things, she was not pre-chilling her dough. I told her to add a bit more flour, form them while the dough was soft, chill, then bake. Just like I do with the sugar cookies.

So here it is, one of the last cookie recipes that you will ever need plus my secrets.

This is based on the Quaker Oatmeal Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe, with a few important changes. It also tastes like the infamous Nieman Marcus cookie recipe, but that recipe is way too much work (shredding the chocolate and grinding the oats is not worth the effort).

Sweets by Suz - Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie

2 sticks of butter* softened to room temperature, about 65 degrees
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups bread flour**
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups Oatmeal***

2 cups chocolate
(or 2 cups total mix ins, see below for ideas)

Put butter out on counter the night before, or take out a couple of hours beforehand. In a pinch, I will put butter in the microwave to warm it, but results won't be as good and I always make a mess in my microwave. Make sure all your ingredients are fresh. If you don't bake often go out and buy new flour, baking soda, sugar, etc.

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, scrape the bowl and continue to mix.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Now add oats and chocolate; mix well. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.

Place dough in the refrigerator. This step is essential if you want nice chunky cookies. If you don't care if they spread out, go ahead and bake them now.

[Alternatively, take a large portion of the dough, place in plastic wrap or parchment paper and wrap into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick. Think Nestle pre-prepared dough. You are making your own ready to use dough and it will taste much better than anything store-bought. When you are ready to make cookies, take out one of these rolls of dough and slice about 1 inch thick. Again, think about the prepared dough from the grocery store. It's the same thing... I don't need 1000 pictures to get this across, right? Prepared dough will last one month in the freezer and one week in the refrigerator, but please don't keep cookie dough in the refrigerator, it will start to taste like all the savory food ]

Place the cookies on a silpat mat, or parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
Turn the trays and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Wash some dishes. Please do not leave the cookies unattended.

I can't tell you exact times because every oven is different. My sister Bina taught me so much about making cookies. I asked her why mine weren't turning out and she said I needed to stay by the oven and really pay attention to the cookies. With just a little love I learned to bake them perfectly. Her Zella's cookies are to die for.

If you have overcooked them a bit, put them directly on the cooling rack. If they are just barely done, leave them on the sheet to cool so they continue to cook.

*About the BUTTA... I usually use unsalted in my baking, but it will till taste great with salted. Be careful the brand you use. If you have one that works don't change this too much. I like Kirkland Signature.
**Bread flour - if you don't have any on hand, just use all-purpose. It will still be delicious. I just like the way the extra protein in the bread flour gives it more of a bite. Make sure there is enough flour added so you can form the dough into shapes. The dough shouldn't be overly sticky.
***Oatmeal: I either use quaker old-fashioned oats, or the quick oats. If you don't mind the chunky texture of the old-fashioned use those. If you want the oats to be more hidden use the quick oats.

High Altitude, add a bit extra flour and only bake when the dough is chilled. I was able to get this recipe to work in Mexico City so it should work in the mountains. Bread flour will also help with the high altitude.

Wonderful Additions or Substitutions:
Add nuts, we have nut allergies in my home so I stay away.
Add raisins, I kneed some into some of the dough for my husband.
Use at least two types of chocolate if you can. Try bittersweet, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate.
White chocolate with craisins is fabulus.
Throw in chopped up heath candy bars.
This Halloween, we chopped up all the snickers, and they tasted great in this cookie. Don't get rid of all those candy bars, just throw them in to your cookies. You don't need 100 pinterest recipes for every variation.
Other great mix ins - m & ms, peanut m&ms, recesses, chopped snickers bars, milky way bars, hershey's gold chocolate, pecans, almonds, walnuts, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, peanut butter chips... I think I could go on and on. The point is, stick with a favorite recipe and add what you like. As a general rule, do not go much over 2 cups of mix ins with this recipe. You will not have enough dough to go around.
If you would like a more cakey cookie add one more egg yolk.
I buy my chocolate when it's on sale at Costco or after the holidays. I should post a picture of my chocolate stash but you might think I have a problem.

Can you ruin this recipe?
Oh yes you can - here's how. Spoiled ingredients, like old flour. What an awful flavor. Butter that tastes like onions. Once our kind neighbors gave us cookies that tasted like Kim-chi. No comment. Actually just keep your butter in the freezer. You can ruin this by adding too much salt or no salt. How else - under baking or over baking. So make sure you have best ingredients and give the cookie a little bit of love.

How not to eat these:
When they are warm out of the oven eat one or two. Then quickly wrap them individually in saran wrap for your kids' lunches, picnics, hikes, breakfast in a bind, etc. Or give them away to neighbors and friends before you've eaten a dozen. I know I have before.

Any questions??



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