Tuesday 11 September 2007

Milk and cookies

I've been pretty busy at work lately so there hasn't been much time to cook, much less blog. Today was no different but after a long day at work, I felt the need to bake. For some reason, I find baking quite relaxing. Perhaps its got to do with the methodical measuring of ingredients that keeps me occupied and keeps my mind off other things. Whatever the case, tonight's baking session was definitely a way for me to de-stress.

In addition to the numerous sweets that I enjoy, I absolutely adore cookies. It is no coincidence that one of my favourite tees is one of cookie monster. Two of my favourite varieties are American staples - chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin. Who can resist them especially when eaten with a glass of milk? Since I couldn't decide which I wanted to make tonight, I decided why choose? So I made one with both instead. (Much to M's dismay, I often apply the same philosophy to shopping.)

I used a recipe from this book and tried baking different batches for different lengths of time between 12 - 15 minutes as the recipe indicates. While I think the crispy cookie that is produced by baking at the longer end of this spectrum is good, my personal preference is for the crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside cookie that is obtained by baking for a slightly shorter time.

As much I thought these cookies were great, I do try to eat relatively healthy during the week. In general, the arrangement that M and I have is that we're allowed to indulge on the weekends but sweets during the weekdays are a no-no. In practice, what this means is that any baking I do during the week is carted off to the office and shared with colleagues. I guess my colleagues are in for a treat tomorrow then!

Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins and Milk Chocolate Chips
From The Sweet Life

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
3 cups raw oatmeal
8 oz milk chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray cookie sheets with oil and line with aluminum foil, parchment, or silicone pads, or use nonstick pans.

In a dry bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes fluffy and lighter in colour, approximately 5 minutes. Add the dark brown sugar and continue creaming for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Add the eggs and egg white, on at a time, and continue to beat until they are fully incorporated and the batter looks smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the dry mixture and oats, all at once, to the butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold together for a few turns. With the mixer on slow speed, mix the dough until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Add the chopped milk chocolate and the golden raisins. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds. The dough can be made up to this point and refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 3 days.

Using 2 teaspooons, scoop the dough into mounds and place 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheets. Flatten each mound with the back of a spoon or 2 fingertips.

Bake the cookies until they spread, rise and turn a light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. For even browning, rotate your cookie sheets from front to back and between each of the baking racks at least once which the cookies are baking. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets. Once cooled, they will be crispy on the outside and chewy, moist, and buttery in the middle. If you continue to bake the cookies they will colour more and your result will be a crunchy, caramelized, and intensely flavourful cookie.

These cookies are best served the day they are baked but will keep, sealed and at room temperature, for 4 days.

Makes 40 large round cookies