Friday, October 31, 2008

Guest Blogger

This is Ashley (Jen's little sister), and I am the first ever guest blogger to visit Eat@Jen's. I'm honored to be here.:)

Jen asked me to blog the best cookie recipe I've had in a long time. To qualify that statement, I work at a boys ranch with 11 12-18 year olds so I make a lot of cookies. I can't take credit for the recipe. I got it out of Cook's Illustrated - the magazine from America's Test Kitchen on PBS. My comments are in italics.

Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries

Makes 16 (I g
ot 12) 4-inch cookies

1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 1/4 c. rolled oats, old fashioned (3 1/2 oz.)
1 c. toasted pecans (4 ounces), chopped coarsed - optional
1 c. dried tart cherries (5 ounces), chopped coarse - optional
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks about the size of chocolate chips (Here I just used chocolate chips with white chocolate swirls. It satisfies a sweeter tooth, you skip-out on chopping the chocolate and you can replace them with any flavor you want!)
12 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large 18"x12" baking sheets with parchment paper. (I used wax paper, but I think the parchment paper would have been more effective. I'll explain why later.)

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries and chocolate.

3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. With mixer running at a low speed, add flour mixture. Mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixtu
re; mix until just incorporated. Give dough a final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

4. Divide dough evenly into 16 (I got 12) portions, each about 1/4 c. (The magazine recommends - and I LOVE - using an ice cream scoop like this one:

 It makes perfect giant cookies that make people's eyes get really big!
) Roll dough between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Stagger 8 balls (or 6 in my case) on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using hands, gently press each dough ball into 1 inch thickness. Bake both baking sheets 12 minutes; rotate them front to back and top to bottom. Continue to bake them 8-10 minutes, until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet and shiny in the cracks). Do not overbake. (These instructions are perfect for soft, pull-apart, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.)

5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes (This is where I think parchment paper would have helped. I used wax paper and 5 minutes just wasn't long enough. The cookies were just a little too soft to move at that point. I recommend 10 minutes or just follow the instructions and use parchment paper). Using a wide, metal spatula transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature. No one REALLY likes a room temperature cookie, so wait about 5-7 more minutes, pour yourself a cold glass of milk and chow down!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Perhaps I'll visit again soon with more experiments from my kitchen!


1 comment:

Erin said...

These sound yummy and I'm sure Grayson will love them! I'll be making them soon!