This recipe requires making the dough a day in advance and freezing it for best results. Or at least two hours in advance. And these cookies may be addicting. Now keep reading.
I have to write about these cookies right away, before I forget everything. My neighbor Shannon told me about a recipe she had tried that had a ton of stuff in it, like walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, rolled oats, and even flax meal (her addition to the recipe). I told her that it sounded kind of like my favorite cookie at Specialty’s – the Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip Cookie – and she said that was kind of what she was going for. But hers became hard and dry the next day, so I asked her to send me the recipe so I could try it out and tweak a few things.
And I did make some changes. And here are a few tips if you are trying to achieve a specific type of texture, amount of baked-ness, etc. Or really, just follow these tips every time you try a new recipe:
- Only make a half batch. Really. What if you don’t like it? And for goodness’ sake, write out the entire halved recipe before moving forward; don’t try to do it in your head, or you might forget partway through and end up with a disaster!
- At first, bake only a few (maybe 6) cookies at a time. (6 because everyone in your family, and even a neighbor or two, might want to be involved in the taste testing.) That way you can adjust bake time or oven temperature with each mini batch without ruining an entire batch (or half batch) of cookies.
- Trust your instincts. For example, if the recipe doesn’t call for salt, but you like a bit of salt in your cookies, by all means, add a little salt. Experiment!
By the way, I wasn’t trying to achieve the exact Specialty’s cookie experience, but just a few things about the Specialty’s cookie that I like, like a tall cookie, crisp on the bottom, and still a bit gooey in the middle. And lots of flavors and textures.
The recipe called for walnuts and coconut and rolled oats. I like all these things, but I didn’t really want chunks of any of the above in my cookies, so I decided to give them all a spin in my Vitamix blender, so that I would have all the flavor, but a finer, more grainy texture. I didn’t turn the oats into flour… that would be too fine. There were still a few whole rolled oats here and there.
And I didn’t turn the walnuts into walnut butter either. I put the walnuts and the coconut together in the Vitamix and pulsed it a couple of times.
I also didn’t add flax meal, which can act as a binder and make the cookies harder. I added some flax seeds instead.
And too many oats can dry out a cookie, so I reduced the amount.
I also took out the baking powder, because I wanted these gooey and moist.
Oh, and I added cinnamon, because everything is better with cinnamon.
Another thing I wanted was the tall cookie, consistent in size, so I used a cookie scoop (1.5 Tablespoon size). You really need one of these if you don’t have one already. I have been known to give them as gifts.
I then scooped out the dough onto wax paper, and flattened each ball only just a teeny tiny bit. Remember, I want them tall. I also want the cookies to look kind of like
a hockey puck a thick galette, not rounded mounds. At this point, I froze these little discs of cookie dough (this helps with the tall part and the gooey part). I believe that this part is essential. I’ve tried just refrigerating the dough, and it does not have the same effect. FREEZE PLEASE. Once the discs of dough are frozen, put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer until you are ready to bake. At least twenty-four hours is good. I suppose if you are in a hurry you can skip the freezing part (cookies will not be as tall, and may spread out), or just freeze the dough for a couple of hours. Just freeze the dough.
Now, I also wanted the crisp on the bottom, so these cookies get baked at 360°, give or take a few. But there’s something else I am doing lately, and it’s probably not necessary, but if you can do it, you should try it. I put my pizza stone in the oven before preheating. Then when everything is ready to go, I slide the parchment paper and cookies directly onto the hot pizza stone, kind of like when you use a pizza peel. I have a couple of cookie sheets that have always annoyed me because one of the sides does not have a rim, but now I am so happy that I didn’t get rid of them, because they are great both as a pizza peel and for sliding my cookies onto the baking stone.
So, after several batches of 6 cookies each, I figured out that the cookies were perfect baked at 360° on the center rack of my oven for about 10 minutes if I used the 1.5 Tablespoon scoop, plus an extra teaspoon of dough. Ugh. I know, I know. But it’s true. I only found that out because the last batch I only had enough dough for 4 cookies, plus a bit extra, so I just smooshed the extra onto each cookie ball before slightly flattening them, and those ones were by far the best. Exactly how I wanted them to turn out. Crisp bottom, tall, and a bit gooey in the middle, but not raw. So if you are using a 1.5 Tablespoon scoop, make it a hearty scoop!
If you hear of where I can find a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop, please let me know.
Sorry for all the chit chat. Here is the recipe, (adapted from Heather Carter’s Loaded Oatmeal Cookies), which makes about 3 dozen, plus a few extra.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) flour
- 1 tsp salt (or a tad more)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking), chopped up a bit in blender
- 1 cup shredded coconut, chopped up a bit in blender (optional)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped up in blender (optional)
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds (optional)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more if you like)
Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so.
Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, again, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl.
Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until barely blended. Do not over mix!
Add oats and mix until just barely blended.
Add walnuts, coconut, and flax seeds, mixing until barely blended.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Line baking sheet or cutting board (needs to fit in your freezer) with wax or parchment paper and scoop balls of dough (a hearty 1.5 Tablespoons). They can be close together.
Flatten ever so slightly with your fingers. Place tray of dough in freezer and freeze for two hours. At this point you can bake the cookies, or place the frozen discs in a freezer bag and bake them a day later, or up to a month later. (I find it very handy to always have frozen cookie dough ready to be baked. You never know when a friend is going to drop by and you want to make something lovely, or you forgot about that potluck or bake sale.)
Preheat oven to 360°
Place frozen dough discs on parchment paper lined cookie sheet about two inches apart.
Bake on center rack of oven for about 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown but the top is still light in color and still glistens a teeny bit. That part is important. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on your cookies!
Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Great thing about these cookies: If you do it right, these cookies will still be delicious and gooey/chewy the next day, and even the day after, if they last that long…
Oh, and if you really really want a cookie that looks and acts like a Specialty’s cookie, try this: take you cookie dough and spread it out about 1 inch thick onto a sheet of wax paper on a small tray or cookie sheet.
Then cover it with wax paper and smooth out all edges; top and sides, and put in freezer for a couple of hours. You can use a rolling pin to get the top nice and smooth, but just one or two swipes will do. Don’t agitate the dough!
After an hour or two, cut into squares. This is a half batch, and it makes twelve square cookies…
Separate squares, cover, and put in freezer until you are ready to bake, at least 2 hours, but longer is fine, if not better. If longer, store squares in a freezer bag.
Bake the same way as you would the round cookies, using parchment paper. Because of the square shape, you will get more gooey center, and more crisp edges.
Whichever way you make them, I hope you like them! Enjoy!