Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti


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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

What are your thoughts on raisins?  Many people have strong feelings about them and either love or hate them, kind of like nuts and coconut.  As a kid, I wanted to like the Sun-maid Raisins we had in the pantry.  Those little boxes with the rosy-cheeked lass holding a big basket of green grapes were appealing to me, for some reason.  At that time, and for a long time thereafter, I was firmly in the “I do not like raisins camp.”  I wasn’t a fan of grapes either.  They, and the grapes from which they came, were too sweet {Never mind that I could eat chocolate frosting & brownie batter like nobody’s business…that’s a different story!}.  Years later, I discovered organic Red Flame grapes, and I thought they were pretty good, and even enjoyed the raisins produced from them.  They were still too sweet to eat on their own, but I enjoyed them with some nuts {and a bit of dark chocolate}.

Even though I learned to like raisins, I only wanted them in certain dishes.  Raisins were great in Hot Peanut Cereal, bread pudding and as a curry condiment, but definitely not in oatmeal cookies for sure.  Nope, not in my cookies.  Until now.  What’s different now?  I’m not certain, but I think it’s a combination of the ingredients I’m using and baking the cookies long enough for some caramelization to occur.  The coconut sugar, along with some brown sugar lends a caramel flavor, and the proper baking time adds to that flavor, as well as some crispness.  The cookies are delicious anytime {even right out of the freezer}, but are their very best the same day they are made {the same as my chocolate chip cookies}.  Freshly baked and cooled, they are a little chewy in the center, and a little crispy around the edges…cookie perfection.

Plate of oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
adapted from The Best Recipe {Cooks Illustrated}

180 gm whole wheat pastry flour {1 1/2 cups}

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 pound {2 sticks} unsalted butter, softened

4 3/4 oz. light brown sugar {2/3 cup – 1 tbsp}

1 1/2 oz. granulated white sugar {2 tbsp – 2 tsp}

2 1/2 oz. blonde coconut sugar {1/2 cup + 2 tsp}

2 large eggs

10 1/2 oz. rolled oats-not instant {1 1/2 cups}

5 1/2 oz. raisins {1 1/2 cups}

6 oz. walnuts

Crunchy salt {Maldon or Fleur de Sel} for sprinkling on top before baking {not iodized table salt}

Place oven racks at the 2 center positions & preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg & cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy.  Add sugars & beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time.

Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Stir in oats, raisins & walnuts.

Chill dough for at least 15″ and up to 2 days.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 oz. balls {about golf ball size} & place 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheets.  Flatten cookies slightly with a fork, using a criss-cross motion as you would for peanut butter cookies.  You can use your hand or the bottom of a flat drinking glass.  Sprinkle generously with crunchy salt of choice.

Bake cookies for 16-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown around the edges, and the bottoms are dark brown .  Halfway through baking {8 minutes}, turn cookie sheets from back to front, and switch oven racks.

Cookies on plate including bottom

Makes about 30 cookies

Notes:

  • These cookies are best when the bottoms are dark brown, and perhaps even a little glossy.
  • You can freeze shaped cookies to bake later, adding a little extra time if you bake them while frozen.  I usually like to let them thaw out before baking, although you can bake them frozen.

Cookies are really good with lattes!  Latte

Bon appetit!

 

 

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Molasses Cookies with Orange & Fresh Ginger

Several days ago, I shared with you my favorite cheesecake recipe, and said that I would share this cookie recipe with you once I had finished tweaking the ingredients.  Well, I am finished.  I love molasses, and have seen many recipes for molasses cookies, and have tasted a few, but I have not found one that I like better than this recipe.  My recipe uses oil instead of butter or shortening, and perhaps using oil allows the molasses flavor to shine.  That is my hypothesis anyway.  The changes I made to the original recipe were few, but key.  I reduced the sugar, changed the flour to whole wheat pastry flour {instead of all purpose}, added fresh ginger and fresh orange zest.  That’s it!  Without further adieu, here is the recipe for these dark cinnamon-hued, perfectly round and delicious cookies.

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 Molasses Cookies with Ginger & Orange

1 1/3 c canola or sunflower oil

1 c granulated sugar

1/4 c dark brown sugar

1/2 c molasses

2 large eggs

4 c/480 gm whole wheat pastry flour

4 heaping tsp cinnamon

4 tsp baking soda

5 tsp freshly grated ginger {powdered ginger not a substitute}

5 tsp freshly grated orange peel {from 2 large oranges}

1 tsp kosher salt

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper/silicon sheet or spray with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.  In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, eggs & molasses.  Stir dry ingredients into sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.  Roll into balls the size of walnuts {I make 3/4 oz. balls} & roll in granulated sugar.  Bake for 8-12 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet.

Notes:  

  • I always weigh my cookies, because making cookies the size of walnuts is subjective.
  • Even if your balls aren’t perfectly round before baking, and they usually aren’t, the cookies always bake up pretty perfectly round.  Unless they touch while baking, then you get a flat side.  No worries!
  • I use regular molasses {usually Grandma’s Unsulphured Original}.  I made the cookies with blackstrap molasses once, and wasn’t overly thrilled with them.  They weren’t bad, but I didn’t share them with anyone because I didn’t think they were as good as they could be.
  • If the dough seems too soft to shape into balls, chill for awhile in the refrigerator.
  • Some of the oil may separate out if the dough sits; this is not a problem, just stir it back in.
  • The range in baking time is wide because you can bake these cookies to be chewy or crispy, depending on how you like them.  I like them both ways!  If you want them crispy, leave them in for 11-12 minutes; the edges should be set and the centers brown & baked through.  For chewy cookies, bake just until the edges are set and the cookies look underdone in the center.  It’s amazing how much they brown and continue to bake while they cool on the cookie sheet.
  • These cookies freeze well.

Bon appetit!


4 Comments

“These are decadent!”  a comment from one of my coworkers

It’s been a long day, so this will be a quick post.  I took these cookies to work today, & they were a hit.  These cookies are great if  you…

… are craving cookies.

… are craving chocolate or mocha.

… need a quick dessert to take to a potluck.

… want to surprise your friend with cookies.

… you had a light dinner and feel like a little dessert.

… you get the idea!

Close up of cookies

Mocha Truffle Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips {I use Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet}
3 tsp instant coffee {I use 2 packets Starbucks Via}
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 tbsp plus 4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup Heath Bits ‘o Brickle Toffee Bits
Maldon salt {optional, but a delicious addition}

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter & chocolate chips; stir until smooth, and then stir in coffee and stir until dissolved; let cool for 5 minutes.  Add sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add to chocolate mixture and mix well.  Stir in toffee bits. 

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart {I prefer to weigh my cookie balls, making them 1 1/4 ounces each.} onto a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, or lined with parchment or Silpat.  Sprinkle a pinch {2-3 flakes per cookie} of Maldon salt flakes on top of cookies.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are set.  Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 24.

Notes:
~ To melt butter and chocolate chips, I microwave on 50% power for 1 minute, stir and then do another minute at 50% power.  Microwaves vary, so your timing may be different.
~ Add chopped nuts if you like.
~ You can adjust the coffee up or down to your taste.
~ Don’t overbake!  I take the cookies out of the oven when the edges are set {slightly firm}.  The middle will be soft {that’s where the “truffle” part comes in}.
~ You can freeze the cookies.  They are particularly delicious if you take them out of the freezer and wait for a couple of minutes before eating.  Their texture is dense, fudgy and GOOD!

Cookie close up

Bon appetit!