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October 17, 2008

Dianne's Guest Blog Week: Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

You've heard me "talk" about my sister, so now you get to "meet" her firsthand! She lives here in Maryland too with her husband and my two nephews (Nelson, almost 3 and Grant, almost 7 months). Sit back and relax and enjoy Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Katherine doesn't have a blog as of yet, but she writes blog entries in her head...Don't believe me? Just ask her! ;oP

Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking is therapeutic for me; it is one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Just ask anyone who knew me in college. Every semester when finals would roll around, the sweets would start pouring forth from my kitchen.

It’s how I became known as the “cookie queen” of our campus ministry. Well, the copious amounts of cookies I’d share during finals and the fact that cookies are what I brought as my contribution to every gathering we ever had. The cookie recipe that helped me achieve my far reaching evanescent fame was the cowboy cookie recipe that Mom taught Dianne and me how to make. I’ve added several other cookie recipes to my tried-and-true group, and I still enjoy playing around with recipes to come up with (drum roll, please) THE PERFECT COOKIE. I have come close, but don’t feel comfortable crowning a winner just yet.

Of the contenders, my most requested cookie recipe is one I stumbled across while babysitting in college. They are known to me only as “Debra’s Oatmeal Cookies” (my recipe card still says as much – although I added the tagline “from Valerie” since her kitchen is where I made my discovery). Little did I know that that fateful morning when I snagged a cookie from the cookie jar before the kids woke up – then pestered the kids’ mom for the recipe – would be the day I met my best cookie yet!

Here is the recipe in its original form:

1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 c. rolled oats
2 c. corn flakes
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

Over time I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there, mostly in a quest to ramp up the nutrition content of the cookie. I’ve substituted whole wheat flour (originally just half of it but now I use all whole wheat flour) without a noticeable difference. Then I stared playing around with the sugar. I used to think that brown sugar was better for you than white, and I guess originally it was, but now most commercially available brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with molasses added to it. So I turned to turbinado sugar. The first time I used it I read that if you’re substituting it for brown sugar, you should add 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup to maintain the moisture content of the recipe (of course now I can’t find where I read that) . If you feel the need to add honey or maple syrup, just make sure you reduce the measure of sugar (I forgot this time and boy was this batch sweet!). The turbinado sugar can keep its crystal state even when it is baked. Some people prefer to “pre-melt” it a bit to keep this to a minimum, but I haven’t done that. Personally, I think using it straight adds a very satisfying crunch to the finished cookie. Finally, I switched to organic cane sugar – which is less refined than regular white sugar. But, it is important to remember that even with all the whole grains and less refined sugars, anything with two cups of sugar and a cup of butter is still a “sometimes food”. :o)

Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies: Sugars

The recipe as I make it now:

1 c. butter softened (or not*)
1 c. organic cane sugar
1 c. minus 1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. homemade vanilla extract
2 c. whole wheat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
2 c. rolled oats (the slow-cook kind!)
2 c. organic corn flakes
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies: Ingredients

*I usually skip the softening of the butter (usually because I forget to do it ahead of time). If you dump the butter and the sugar into the mixer and let it go to town, the friction will usually soften it. (Just remember that they may take a few extra minutes to bake if the butter is still cold-ish when you put them in the oven).

Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies: Ready to Cream

(Dianne Note: How cute is that bear peaking into the picture?? ;oP)

Like any good baking project, the first thing to do is gather all the ingredients around your stand mixer (you CAN do this by hand, but only if you really need an upper body workout – this batter is THICK!) The directions below are assuming that you’re using a paddle attachment in your mixer, and you start by dumping the butter and sugar into the bowl of the mixer and turn on the mixer. Then, don’t turn the mixer off until you’re finished! [Unless you get distracted after you add the flour – don’t let it just sit and mix and mix and mix if the flour is already in there. It messes with the gluten in the flour (or something like that) and can make the finished product a little wonky.]

Cream butter and sugars until well incorporated. Add honey, eggs and vanilla. While that mixes, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a big measuring cup then slowly add to the wet mixture. Once that’s incorporated, add the oats, corn flakes, chips and pecans. Let it mix until the batter starts jumping out of the side of the bowl is mixed well and turn off the mixer.

Katherine's Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies: Ready to Bake

Spoon (I actually prefer to just grab handfuls of it and make little clumps to place) onto a baking sheet and bake at 350º until the tops are golden brown. (Usually about 12-15 minutes, but sometimes longer – really, just watch them). Let them cool for about a minute on the pan before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cool, place in an airtight container. Or just stand there and eat them. :o)

Posted by Dianne at October 17, 2008 8:22 AM

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Kate, I would have bet money that your cookie entry would have been for Cowboy Cookies.. I can't think of them without thinking of you!

Posted by: Dar at October 17, 2008 9:40 AM

Dar -- I thought about it, but Dianne had already posted the recipe. :) Also - the times I've made these and the cowboy cookies, these disappear first (even though cc have chocolate in them!).

I realized that I forgot to mention that these are a crunchy - not an ooey-gooey - oatmeal cookie. :)

Posted by: katherine at October 17, 2008 10:33 AM

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