oatmeal pecan cookies

This weekend has not been one of my better couple of days. The weather has changed like a curtain slamming down at the end of a lively performance and, with it, my body has decided to feel like it has been hit by a small bus, just on the edges of possibly being sick but… not quite. All I’ve wanted to do was hibernate for the past two days, like an angry, exhausted bear. But I couldn’t.

So I made cookies instead.

The idea initially sprang forth because of half a cup or so of Scott’s Porage Oats left in the bottom of the box that we couldn’t quite squeeze into the jar it was being transferred over to that morning. What do you do with leftover oats? Cookies, obviously.

I didn’t get around to actually making them until later in the afternoon, though, as I spent most of my morning and early afternoon curled up on the couch in my favorite grey sweatshirt with a blanket on my lap, playing numerous games of Wordox Double-Cross. I had no recipe prepared, no family favorite laying about that I knew off the top of my head and I knew doing an internet search for, simply, “oatmeal cookies” would have me sitting for hours, attempting to decide what would work and what wouldn’t (I honestly don’t even want to think about how many recipes are out there). What better place to look then but in my favorite food blogs? Oatmeal cookies are such an easy, well-known cookie that I knew someone must have made them at least once. And I finally stumbled upon one that I instantly fell in love with on one of the newest additions to my bookmark folder, The Kitchen Sink.

It seemed easy and, most importantly, we had every ingredient – minus the chocolate – in the house already.

There are only three photos and a sad looking lump of dough up there because I hadn’t planned on taking photos but after we finished the first batch and I had a bite of a cookie hot out of the oven I knew I had to share these with you because they are seriously so damn good. These cookies are like… the Best Cookies I’ve Ever Had kind of cookies. These are Never Make Any Other Kind of Cookie Ever Again kind of cookies. They’re that good.

I messed with the recipe a bit because I was a little disheartened that the only “spice” in it was salt. Just salt. I think everything, whether it’s cookies or soups, need a bit of an extra kick now and then and I wanted to make these like I wasn’t just doing a complete carbon-copy of the recipe laid out in front of me (because where’s the fun in that?).

I added cinnamon. Lots of cinnamon. About a teaspoon, I should say. If you couldn’t tell by now, it’s one of my favorite spices, next to paprika. I think it gives everything just a little bit of edge that otherwise would have been missing. I also put in a pinch (just a pinch. It was so little that I could carry it between two fingers, from one of the tiny containers it’s housed in to the bowl without worrying about spilling) of chili powder. Wait. What? Yes. Chili powder. I put it in there on a whim and I almost used cloves instead but changed my mind at the last minute and, you know what? It worked. It really worked. It was just enough that you were aware that it was in there but not too much that it was horribly over-powering.

The other big change – which, really, isn’t that big of a change at all – was that I substituted shortening for butter. I probably could have used butter – I have a single stick lingering in the freezer – but I knew that after next week’s baking endeavor (shall I tell you now or do you not want me to spoil the surprise?) the shortening wouldn’t get used too often (I’ve never found it very appetizing). But soldiered on and used it anyway (plus a little bit of water). I couldn’t really tell the difference but, then again, I suppose that’s the point.

In the end, I highly recommend giving these cookies a try. They’re crazy easy to put together and they taste absolutely stunning, especially hot right off of the baking sheet (they tell you to let them sit but, man, who really does that?).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
adapted from The Kitchen Sink, which was, in turn, adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened or 1/3 cup of shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
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