Thursday, 11 August 2005

Oatmeal Cookies

I've been itching to blog this and I just got my go ahead when Anne emailed me that she finally received my package as part of this month's EBBP event. Woohoo! I genuinely thought it got lost since the postman told me it will be in Sweden in 3 days, well she got it in 1 week! Serious slip in delivery time that is. I'm just glad it finally reached Anne and hope she liked it.

The mother and daughter team of Alisha delos Reyes and Susan Middleton made these oatmeal cookies at a US state fair and won the top prize. Problem is, I don't know which state or what year or what magazine I clipped the recipe from. A big thanks to them in coming up with these lovely cookies filled with morsels of apricot and chocolate chunks. And since I'm a nut lover the hazelnuts further endeared it to me.

I adjusted the recipe according to the preference of the main cookie customers in my family (meaning my kids). Originally they had white chocolates (Mec would love that!) but I subtituted milk chocs and reduced the salt plus altered the method a little bit. The dough was too soft to my liking after the final stir. Problem is, when it's too soft it melts easily once inside the oven resulting in flatter cookies. So I did what I usually do with my cookie dough - stuck it in the fridge (in the freezer actually since I'm in a hurry) for about 20-30 minutes until it's firm enough to handle. Sometimes I even put it back to the fridge after I formed them into balls - which I think results in even better cookie heights. With this extra step I sometimes use melted butter in the batter since I'll be chilling it anyway. If you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge way ahead of time it can be patience-trying waiting for it to soften. But thankfully I've solved that and I don't think the melting and chilling part is not detrimental to the taste of the cookie.

OT: All these talk of butter and batter reminded me of a tongue twister I learned in Grade 5. Yeah that long ago and I still remember it something along these lines:

Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
But she said, "This butter is bitter."
"If I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter."
"But a bit of better butter will make my batter better."
So she bought a bit of butter
Better than her bitter butter
To make her batter better

Oatmeal Cookies

250 g  [1 cup] unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour - sifted
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour (for dredging)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups porridge oats
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup finely chopped apricots
1 cup coarsely chopped white or milk chocolates
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl combine 1 1/2 cup flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda until well mixed. Set aside.
  3. Toss the apricots with the 1 Tbsp flour in another container. Set aside.
  4. Beat together in a big bowl the butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla at medium speed until well combined.
  5. Add in the flour mixture to the beaten butter mixture with a wooden spoon.
  6. Stir in oats and hazelnuts.
  7. Add in apricots and chopped chocolates. Mix well.
  8. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and flatten slightly. Place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  9. Bake for 11 - 13 minutes or until slightly moist in the centre and browned at the edges.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing from the baking sheets onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
Note: If the dough is too soft, the baked result tends to be too spread out or flat. You can put the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes before shaping them into balls. Or you can shape them into balls first then put in the fridge for the same amount of time or you can do both (chill before and after shaping into balls).

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