After the cookie marathon in December, I begged off from making anything sweet for a while. Like many, we just needed a sugar break and I admit I didn’t even want to make my birthday cake. I’d had my fill of sweets and didn’t miss it. Usually I’ll make one sweet dessert a week that we enjoy on the weekend, but that’s it for us, so Michael was quite surprised when he came home from work and found these on the counter.
One of my life hacks for this year is to incorporate more whole grains into our desserts and I’ve been going through my cookbooks again looking for ideas on how to do that best. Due to the way whole wheat flour absorbs liquid, it’s not always a 1:1 swap for unbleached all-purpose flour, so I decided to start with some tested recipes and then go back to some of our favorites and hack them.
This recipe from King Arthur Flour is easy to make and doesn’t use any white flour at all. Because oatmeal cookies tend to be more hearty and substantial anyway, I think these are a good way to introduce whole grains in desserts if you aren’t used to it. The butter and sugar still keep these firmly in the occasional treats category, but they are more healthy than a white flour version. Other dried fruits will work well, too, and I look forward to trying them with dried cherries and apricots.
WHOLE WHEAT OATMEAL CRANBERRY COOKIES
Adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Makes about 48 cookies.
stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand mixer and bowl)
baking sheets, lined with parchment or lightly greased
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks/170g) unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups (165 g) brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-1/3 cups (105 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/4 cups (160 g) whole wheat flour
2 cups (320 g) dried cranberries
1 cup (113 g) diced pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Beat in the egg and mix in well.
3. Add the oats, whole wheat flour, cranberries, and nuts (if using), and mix on low until thoroughly combined. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, I recommend doing this part by hand as most hand mixers don’t have enough power to combine this heavy dough.)
4. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake the cookies in the preheated 350°F oven for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, until cookies are beginning to brown around the edges, but are still soft in the center. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for a couple minutes on the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Use diced apples, chopped dates, raisins, chopped apricots, dried cherries.