From Scratch, With Love

Cookie Experimentation

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So you know how I’m into oatmeal?  Really, you don’t?  How about now?  Or now?  Or now?  Ok, so I’m into oatmeal.  I eat it almost every day, at least once.

Let’s backtrack.  On Saturday, I got this amazing book, Perfect Light Desserts, in the mail.  I immediately made Nick Malgieri’s oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookie, and granola bars, all of which turned out delicious.  The chocolate chip cookies, however, were a little flat and not quite up to par with Kim Boyce’s whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, though they were lower in calories.  So I thought to myself, using my brain, what can I do to give these cookies a little more volume?  And of course I thought of oatmeal.

See, I still wanted to keep them healthy, so I didn’t want to raise the caloric density of the cookies.  Adding oatmeal, actually, lowered the calories per cookie, since it made more cookies without raising the amount of calories dramatically.  Why do you care about calories, Andrea, you might ask.  Aren’t you always tweeting about running?  Well yes, dear reader, I exercise (a lot).  But you may have noticed, I also write a food blog.  As a result, I also eat a lot.  That’s why this new book is perfect – it allows me to bake real cookies and cakes with real techniques and ingredients, without completely negating all the running I’m doing.  Genius.

Anyway, here’s my experiment.  I took Nick Malgieri’s basic chocolate chip cookie recipe (which he attributes to David Joachim, the co-author, by the way), with my own basic alterations (I had to add whole wheat flour, of course, and hand-chop the chocolate instead of using chocolate chips.  Thanks again Kim Boyce.  I also used about half the chocolate called for in the recipe and (John agrees) it was the perfect amount – any more would have been way too much.), and added oatmeal.  However, I also wanted to see what the effect would be of adding cooked oatmeal to the dough, since I never see that in cookie recipes, but it works very well in muffins.  So I decided to make two half-batches of the dough by dividing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in half and trying two different methods of oatmeal integration.

The results? Well… dry oatmeal works better.  After I added the wet oatmeal (made with 3/4 cup water and 1/2 cup oats, in an attempt to make it less wet), the dough was far too moist:

Looks like it would be delicious eaten with a spoon though, doesn't it?

I ended up adding an extra 1/2 cup of dry oats to the dough to try to dry it out a little, but wasn’t too successful.  The cookies ended up very wet and with a weird texture:

They’re in the freezer right now because I want to try them out as ice cream sandwich cookies.  The cookies made with dry oatmeal, however, are amazing.  They are definitely more 3-D than the original chocolate chip cookies I made and they also have a nicer texture.  I’m really happy with them and will definitely be making them like that in the future, perhaps even with more oats!

Low Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Light Desserts) – Makes about 36 cookies

Preheat oven to 350, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roughly chop 4 oz of top-quality bittersweet chocolate and place in the fridge if the room is warm (my kitchen is always warm).

In a medium bowl, sift together

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)

Stir with a fork to mix and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter and 6 tablespoons granulated sugar.  Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (recipe calls for light, I used dark) and stir until creamy.  Stir in 1 egg and 2 tablespoons whole milk.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, in three batches, stirring until just combined.  This is important, since it’s a low fat recipe.  You don’t want to over stir the batter or the cookies won’t be soft and chewy.

Once the flour is stirred in, add 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats.  Stir until just combined, then add the 4 oz of chopped chocolate.  Let the dough rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes so that the cookies don’t spread too much.

See how much better that dough looks?

Once chilled, spoon slightly heaping teaspoon-sized portions of dough onto the parchment-lines cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 8-12 minutes, turning and switching shelves halfway through, or until the cookies are slightly dull in color, but still quite soft.  They should be just beginning to brown on top.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then slide the parchment paper onto the cooling rack to cool completely.  They should be good for about a week in an airtight container, or indefinitely in the freezer (they will stay pretty soft!).  Try making ice cream sandwiches with them!

On another note I also made Nick’s (we’re on a first name basis now) chocolate spice cookies – amazing!  They’re soft and spiced and super chocolate-y!  I heartily recommend this book.

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Written by poperatzii

July 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

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