Monday, March 22, 2010

Oatmeal, [pecan] and Raisin Cookies, Wedding Fingers, and Goober Cookies- UPDATED

You know when you're waiting for something to toast, and you're standing there staring at the toaster, expecting it to, I don't know, burst into flames or something? So you've been standing there staring at it for a good minute, when it POPS up, and you're scared HALF TO DEATH? Like you had no idea it was coming? Yeah, that just happened.

Anyway, what does a toaster have to do with cookies, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. Nothing. I'm just eating an English Muffin and like to share my very deep philosophical thoughts with you. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

It took me a little while to decide in what order I wanted to talk about each of these recipes. I thought about writing about them in the order in which I made them, but decided in order to keep you in the most suspense, to write about them starting with the "worst" one and ending with the "best." (I use quotation marks because even the "worst" cookies were pretty damn good, but oh, there I go diminishing suspense, so let's just get to it, shall we?)

First up, the Wedding Fingers.

 butter, caster sugar, vanilla, flour, ground almonds, walnuts, confectioner's sugar (not pictured)

Let me preface this by saying, I was in a foul mood when I made these, which only got worse as the recipe went on. Sounds like fun, right? I can just tell you guys are excited to read about my crappy attitude. To prep, I ground some almonds in my food processor in an attempt to make "ground almonds" that would be fine enough to sift.

As the almonds continued to spin in the processor and started to form a sort of paste, it dawned on me that perhaps I could just buy already ground almonds. Because there was no way these nuts were going to get fine enough to sift through a fine sieve.

 But oh well, too late now. I will just make do with what I have [meanwhile, I just consulted the "translations" (British to English) in the front of the cookbook, and ground almonds=almond flour. Great. Good to know NOW]. I did the best I could and even put the ground almonds into the sifter, as if somehow I could just squeeze them through the holes.

 Yeah, I don't think so. 

I ended up just dumping them in the bowl with the sifted flour and hoping no one would notice. I also put the walnuts in the food processor and pulsed until they were finely chopped,

and added these to the flour as well. 

I lightly creamed the butter, sugar, and vanilla together, pretending I knew what it meant to "lightly cream" something. 

Once the mixture looked somewhat creamy and incorporated, 

I slowly added the dry ingredients, until the dough was just combined.

I turned the dough out onto some plastic wrap (my idea, not included in the recipe) and formed it into a log.

My thought process regarding the plastic wrap was that it would help hold the dough together and wouldn't create such a mess, and I think I was pretty successful overall. Of course, I'm feeling pretty happy with myself at this brilliant idea when Dan came to inform me that my log was definitely not 1 inch in diameter (stupid measurements). I half-heartedly tried to squeeze it out further, making a thinner log, but the dough was threatening to seep out the ends of the plastic wrap and it just wasn't working, so I basically just gave up and decided I would deal with the log I had. Next, I was to cut discs 1/2 inch thick. Again with the measuring. I then had to roll each disc into a little mini sausage, 5 inches long. Seriously? Seriously.

The pieces of nuts, even though they were very small, made the dough incredibly hard to roll out as it kept sort of falling apart, meaning I was getting more and more annoyed as I worked. Always a good thing when there are so many sharp pointy objects around. I was in way too bad of a mood to give a shit about all of these damn measurements so I sort of half-assed it and tried to estimate and measure using my finger (as if I knew how long that was), but eventually I just gave up and at least tried to make them all the same size, which were, of course, a little too big. The dough became very soft, since I was handling it so much, which made it even harder to handle and prompted me to consider just chucking the whole thing. But finally, each cookie was rolled out and I put them on lined baking sheets, and into the oven.

Only after they were already baking did I re-read the notes at the bottom of the recipe: "If the dough seems soft or sticky, roll it in a little flour to form the log, then chill before shaping the fingers." Super. My afternoon just kept getting better and better.

The first two trays of cookies spread a little too much, probably due to the dough being so soft, and the bottoms of the fingers browned heavily. I think this may have had to do with the older, dark pans I was using, since the final tray was made of aluminum and came out much more evenly colored.

Yeah, these were the good ones

Once they were out of the oven, I was to roll them in confectioner's sugar while still warm. Of course, by this time, I was so over the whole process, that I just wanted to be done with it, and rolled them a little too soon. This caused the sugar to melt slightly and clump, making the cookies look even less attractive.


Again, I had to seriously restrain myself from just throwing the entire tray into the trash, pan and all. I was so frustrated, feeling like a failure, and had just wasted all this time and all these ingredients, and for what? Cookies that looked, and would probably taste, like crap. On top of all of this, I was planning on giving these to Dan's mom as a birthday gift, but they just looked so terrible and I was feeling so disheartened that I couldn't even fathom doing that.

And then, I tasted one.


It was sweet and rich and buttery, a bit crumbly, not too dense or light, and the nuts were small enough that I didn't mind them. With my renewed faith in these cookies, I took the last tray out of the oven and they looked much better than the first two, with a more even, golden brown. Instead of rolling them in the sugar, I patiently waited until they were warm but not hot and then sifted the sugar on top of the cookies to get a more even and prettier coverage. Thankfully, this last batch turned out beautifully, and I packed them up in pretty ribbon-tied bags for Dan's mom, hopefully to enjoy with some tea. She said they were delicious. :)

muuuuch better

See, even the "worst" weren't really that bad. Although, I'm not sure if I just continued to have negative associations with these cookies or what, but I just didn't really want to eat them. I would be craving something sweet and think about them sitting on the counter, but I just couldn't bring myself to eat one. Every time I would try, and take a bite, I would be reminded of just how good these were and yet...they just weren't my favorite. Maybe it's because there was no chocolate. Or peanut butter.

Which brings me to my next confection: Goober Cookies. I have no idea why she named them this, but whatevs, we'll go with it.

butter, caster sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, peanut butter, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, rolled oats

I was in a much better mood when I started these cookies, which was already an improvement from the Wedding Fingers. Plus, I was really looking forward to eating these, what with all the peanut butter and sugar and such. I preheated the oven and started by creaming the butter with both sugars until pale and fluffy.

I promise this was fluffy before I smushed it all into the center of the bowl

I beat the egg lightly and added it a little at a time to the butter mixture, creaming it until smooth. Then, I added the vanilla and peanut butter, mixing to incorporate.

Ah, creamy

I sifted the dry ingredients together twice and added the oats. Adding a little at a time, I added the flour to the butter mixture, using a wooden spoon to combine.

Quite a workout for my arms

I started scooping the dough and rolling it into balls, spacing them out on the cookie sheet, about 2-3 inches apart. I had a feeling these would turn out pretty thinly since eventually you sandwich them together with icing in the middle (I KNOW, right?) At first I was worried I was making them too large, but I ended up with 28 cookies and the recipe makes 30, so I couldn't have been that far off. I did the best I could and made 3 separate trays of cookies, thinking that they would probably be fine.
Clearly, I was wrong. Please note where the parchment paper folded over and took a bite out of that cookie in the corner. Perfect. Just what I wanted.

The proposed cook time was only 15 minutes, but the first two batches took more like 25-30. I've come to expect the cooking times in this book to fall a little short, but I was still surprised by how long these took. The last batch only took about 20 minutes, probably because I wasn't having to rotate the pans and continually opening the oven door, letting all the heat out (uh, ya think?). 

While the cookies cooled, I made the filling.

butter, peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, salt

I creamed together the butter and sugar using the whisk attachment for my mixer.


I added the peanut butter and salt and mixed just to combine.

The recipe actually calls for salted butter for this (in lieu of the salt), but I only buy unsalted butter and didn't really want to buy a whole different kind just for one dish. So instead, I just added a pinch or two of salt. Aren't you sooo impressed with my culinary skillz?

Once the cookies were completely cool, I flipped half over and schmeared a little icing on each one, making sure I had enough for all of them.

Don't even ask what shape this one in the bottom right corner is. Pac Man perhaps?

Once half the cookies had some icing on it, I spread it out just using a butter knife and sandwiched them together with another, non-iced cookie.

Glamour Shot! Gowgeous Dahling.

At this point I was all set to eat BOTH those cookies, you know...for research. The cookies were nice and crispy, with just a hint of peanut butter. I barely noticed the oats, and suspect they're really just there to give some structure to the dough. The icing was very, very sweet, and not really as peanuty as I wanted it to be. It's possible I needed to add a little more salt, or Clark may use a more natural, less sweet peanut butter than I did (Choosy chefs choose JIF!). There's a little note at the end of the recipe that you can also add mini chocolate chips to the cookies for a slight variation, which I'm sure would be really good. About halfway through the first cookie I discovered that dipping it in milk was particularly satisfying. It was also then that I knew there was no way I was going to get to that second cookie; they were just too rich, but still very very good. I saved it for lunch the next day though, of course.

You should also probably know that I'm eating one at this very moment. Jealous?

And now for the big moment. Drumroll please (except there were only 3 cookies and we've already gone through 2 so you obviously know which ones were the best. Whoops.) Still,  dududuudududududududduuddudu (that's my drumroll) Oatmeal Raisin!

I know, you're all "...Really? Oatmeal Raisin? They're like the redheaded stepchild of the cookie world. They're always the last ones left on a variety tray." And believe me, I totally agreed with you. I'm particularly not a fan of the raisins because usually there's just not enough cookie for such a plump fruit. Oatmeal chocolate chip though? Now that's an oatmeal cookie. But I'm telling you, one bite of these Oatmeal Raisin cookies and you will be a believer. Although then you'll really never be able to eat any other Oatmeal Raisin cookie again because no other will compare. Ok, enough with the hype.

dark brown sugar, caster sugar, rolled oats, dried cherries, raisins, pecans (not pictured because I didn't use them because ew), vanilla, butter, eggs, flour, baking soda, cinnamon

**Edited to add: when I was buying ingredients for these cookies, the person checking me out busted a small hole in the caster sugar, but failed to notice as he put it on the conveyor belt to the bagging area so sugar started spilling out everywhere. I fortunately did notice, and yet all I could think to say was "Oh. Oh my God. Wow. Hi." Hi. Sometimes even my eloquence astounds me.

I preheated the oven and combined the two sugars with the oats.

Next, I added the raisins, cherries, and vanilla.

Although there weren't instructions to do so, I chopped the cherries because I thought they were a bit large. I was also worried they would all clump together and fail to incorporate fully into the dough, but as soon as they were coated with the sugar mixture, they dispersed nicely. Also, the measurement for the vanilla is a capful. So I have to measure out the oats by the gram, but I can just toss a capful of vanilla in? Ok...

I melted the butter and added this plus an egg to the mixture.


I sifted the dry ingredients together twice and then added them to the rest of the ingredients. At this point, I switched to mixing by hand. And by hand, I mean by hand

  Who says feminists can't enjoy baking cookies while wearing pearls in the kitchen? I draw the line at aprons though

I divided the dough roughly in half and formed 10 balls from each piece, placing them on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Do these look a little big to you too?

Because they definitely looked big to me and I started to get a little nervous. The recipe notes that these cookies don't spread as much as others, so you can flatten them with a damp spoon if you want. But I was so sure they would all widen and form one huge mass of oatmeal that I just left them as is and hoped for the best. I put them in the oven and timed them for 14 minutes, turning the trays halfway through. Once the 14 minutes were up, I checked and the cookies were still a very light brown, so left them in for another 3 minutes and then removed the tray that had spent the most time on the top rack. The second tray took one more minute, and then they were done as well. Amazingly, the cookies spread just enough so that they looked nice and plump, but hadn't spread enough to even touch each other.

Let me just reiterate what you already know, these were the best oatmeal raisin cookies I've ever eaten. They were crunchy on the outside, but soft and chewy inside. I thought I would have a problem with the raisins and especially with the cherries, but the cherries blended right in, adding a bit of a tang. And there was so much cookie that the raisins really weren't overpowering, which I think can be a problem in other oatmeal raisin cookies.

I brought these into work and they were a huge hit. People were surprised that they liked them so much, even though frankly, they were even better the night before when they were fresh out of the oven. Someone even asked me for the recipe, which I of course had to convert from weight measurements into traditional (3 oz is how many tablespoons, and then .75, and 1/2 teaspoon, carry the 1....), but I was happy to do it (although secretly I hoped mine would still be the best and she would wonder, "HOW did she DO it??")

UPDATED: I baked the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies again (of course because ohmahga soo good) and this time replaced the pecans with about 100g of semi-sweet chocolate chips. The combination of raisins, cherries, and chocolate was delicious and each was balanced by the other with flavor that was too overpowering. I think subbing white chocolate or definitely dark chocolate would be equally delicious.

Also, this past weekend, I got a flat tire. Well, not exactly flat so much as punctured with a screw, allowing air to escape. Of course, this is not the first time it's happened. Last time (only a few months ago), my stepdad figured out that my car was missing the integral wrench to remove the very specialized bolt that kept thieves from stealing my spare. It also kept us from getting the spare off my car. A few hours and a patch job later, the bolt had been removed by professionals and the spare was still on the back of my car. Luckily, no one had succeeded in stealing it since then, so when I noticed my tire quickly releasing air this time, I called Dan (duh) and whined to him to come help me (Ok, I was right outside his house and it was a beautiful day. Not exactly that inconvenient or torturous).

Ever since we met, he's been telling me he's going to teach me how to change a tire. Why? I ask. Isn't that what AAA is for? (Incidentally, this is exactly what both my mother and sister said) But now here it was! His chance to be all manly, and kneel down on the ground, and practically crawl under my car (Seriously, does he think I would ever ever do that? Even though I now know how to change a tire in theory, I am never going to lie down in the street, I don't care how flat that tire is.) I should also mention that my friend Chelsea was visiting that weekend, and she was all about some tire-changin'. She rolled up her sleeves and started unbolting and jacking and lifting. It was all very impressive. So Chelsea is getting the spare, Dan's jacking the car up, and taking pictures.

And texting them to people.

I won't go into details about how my jack sucks and nearly gave out, almost crushing Dan's precious head beneath my behemoth vehicle. Because that would be worrisome. Or that Chelsea was actually the one who removed said sucky jack while Dan was getting his from his truck, since she didn't want him to risk getting it himself. Again, I just stood there and watched.

Next Indulgence: Baked Chocolate Mousse and/or White chocolate, Butterscotch and Macadamia Nut Whips


  1. Those cookies were and are delicious! Even though I was stuffed after my visit, I couldn't help but eat one of the "care package" cookies I was given for the ride home.

  2. Morgan, this time you have gone too far and I must speak up. The wedding fingers deserve more respect. Solidly second place.

    The oatmeal raisin cookies, of course, stole the show.

    Great post!

  3. I too received a care package containing the penultimate oatmeal raisin cookie which I also sampled on my way home from Richmond after spending Morgan's Birthday with her. I have to say that it does somewhat mitigate the 30 lb weight gain, 9 mos. of pregnancy and childbirth to receive these cookies (well not entirely) on the day of her birth. Ok back to the cookies so I dutifully brought them home to stepfather Bob who is attempting to lose weight. He did admit that evening after I went to bed he decided to have 1/2 a cookie and couldn't resist returning to get the other half knowing full well the need to clock extra time on the stairmaster the following day. Suffice it to say no chocolate chips to be seen but I had several!


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