Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies

They're gone, the holidays are over.  I've found it difficult to get back in to the routine of going to work and being productive.  There's just something about the holidays and not working a full five-day week in the office until the end of January that really messes with my ability to concentrate.  Funny how that happens.  Anyway, the scatterbrain even extended into deciding what to bake, that never happens to me! Finally, on Thursday, inspiration struck.

You see, after every holiday the candy that goes along with it is put on sale.  I'm not so much a sucker for candy corn after Halloween, or Necco hearts after Valentine's Day, but after Christmas they put M&Ms on clearance!  Who doesn't love that kind of thing?!  Anyway, I bought three different kinds of M&Ms (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and mint) for half price, then there was a ton of Christmas candy, and even marshmallows left over from the holiday festivities.  The endless possibilities flooded my brain and suddenly it was Wednesday night and I still hadn't made a decision.

For some reason, after getting an H1N1 immunization (it was the nose thing instead of a shot, free and I didn't even have to wait in line so I figured it would be a good use of an afternoon), I felt inspired.  I would make oatmeal cookies with various mix-ins.  I knew I could use the rest of the toffee bits from the chocolate cake cookies but wanted to have another option, just in case.  I myself have yet to decide whether or not I like toffee, so people should have options.  "What people?", you ask?  I don't know what people really, since it's not like I bake for a demanding audience, but just in case someone was picky?  I really enjoy the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly, but didn't have any chocolate chips at the house so I substituted my discounted M&Ms (don't judge).  The substitution sparked some discussion because I wasn't sure if the candy shell would interfere with the texture of the cookies.  I honestly don't know why I worry about these things, it's a stupid cookie, but I'm weird like that.

I used the oatmeal cookie recipe in my Baking Bible.  Seriously, that's the title of the book.  It's pretty amazing and for the life of me, I can't find any more copies of it. It's part of a series of "bibles" that Barnes and Noble carried for a while and, thanks to my working at a B&N College for far too many years, I was able to snag one for a ridiculous deal several years ago. 

1 1/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Cups quick or old fashioned oats
Mix-ins: I used about half a bag of M&Ms for half of the dough and about 1/3 of a bag of toffee chips for the other half.

Preheat oven to 375. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

  In a large mixing bowl beat butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until combined.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture (rather pretty, isn't it?). 

Stir in oats and mix-ins.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies, or 9-10 minutes for crispy cookies.  Or, if you have a crazy oven like mine, check the cookies after 6 minutes and remove them from the oven only to find that they are crispy.  Let cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

These ended up being pretty good, even Anna wasn't terribly opposed to them and she said she's not generally a fan of oatmeal in cookies.  I think she may be converting to a sweets lover, if only just a little bit.

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