Thursday, October 13, 2011

Never Bake on the 13th

I made a series of errors today. First, I baked on the 13th. Never a good idea. Secondly, I baked on a day in October in which the temperature reached well into the 90s. So hot. Even hotter with the oven on. Thirdly, I started baking in the morning, before breakfast. I was groggy and had a headache, which led to mistakes, which in turn led to a baking disaster. And then, post-baking disaster, I stubbornly would not give up, so I decided to bake some more, because apparently I NEEDED HOMEMADE BAKED GOODS. Luckily, despite a little smoke coming from the oven (left over from baking experiment #1), which burned my eyes and made me a little worried about the smoke detector, my second attempt was eventually a modest success.

The last lesson is this: if you need to bake some comfort food (which is what all muffins, cakes, cupcakes, breads and cookies essentially are), choose a comfortingly reliable recipe. Nothing fancy. Nothing risky. Because if you do fail at your comfort food-baking then you will be sent inevitably into a downward spiral of needing more comfort food to make you recover from the sadness and frustration of failing at cooking your inital comfort food. And the least comforting thing in the whole world is an ENORMOUS pile of dishes in your sink from NUMEROUS semi-sucessful baking projects.

So here is my recipe for reliable, delicious and definitely comforting Oatmeal Cookies. I added cranberries and peanuts, so they taste like granola bars to me, which means they're healthy, right?
Granola Cookies
Adapted from Smittenkitchen

Makes about 22-24 cookies

1/2 cup butter (softened)
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup cranberries
1/3 cup peanuts

In a medium bowl cream together the sugar and butter. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and rolled oats. Stir to combine. Lastly, add the cranberries and nuts, mix so that they are evenly distributed.

Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, arranging them on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to chill them before baking (this will help them stay thick when they bake).

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranged a couple of inches apart from each other (they don't spread excessively). Check them after 10 minutes. It may take 12 minutes for them to get nicely bronzed.

Cool on a cookie rack. Eat your heart out.
ps. These cookies are perfect for breakfast since they have cranberries and oatmeal. Definitely heart healthy.

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