Monday, February 11, 2013

Double Chocolate Oat Cookies with Toasty Almonds

What happened to the days when your mom packed your lunch?

And when did packing lunch become such a chore?

Sometimes I just throw a few ingredients in a bag and hope it moulds itself into something tasty between 8:30 am and 12:30 pm. Unfortunately I do not own a magic bag so that carrot, can of tuna and piece of lettuce is still a carrot, can of tuna and piece of lettuce. Sigh...

Leftovers would be great but it never works. Seems like the more I make for dinner, the more Jon and I eat. Will power doesn't function when it comes to good food. I just can't.

You know my Mom used to pack me a banana every day up until the end of high school, but it was no ordinary banana. She would leave me a little message on the peel. Yes, she would write on the peel with a sharpie and leave a little note that just made my day. Sometimes it was a simple "I love you Pooch", or "good luck on your test!" or "I hope you win your football game". (Ha, like I ever played football! - but I did do quite well in cross country). My friends would always want to know "What did your mom write on your banana today?" and I was always happy to share and never shy or embarrassed by it. My mom wrote on my food and that was pretty cool by me. 

I always knew when my dad packed my lunch because he liked to draw pictures. He would always draw the same picture was a little stick man with a really freaky-looking face. It had a big head and a little body. It was really weird, just like him.

This might explain why I have such a strong connection with food... it's because my parents used it to communicate with me!

Although you can't write on these, I'm confident that anyone would be more than pleased to see Double Chocolate Oat Cookies with Toasty Almonds in their lunch bag.

These cookies are the definition of addiction. They have all of the usual suspects: butter, brown sugar, two types of chocolate, oats and toasted nuts. They have just enough oats to give them an incredible texture, but not enough to call them an oatmeal cookie.

As I mentioned, these glorious cookies showcase chocolate in both milk and dark varieties, as well as in both melted and chip forms. Melted milk chocolate is blended in with the creamed butter and sugar to add not only another dimension of flavour, but to contribute major chewiness. Here comes the science: cocoa butter is solid at room temperature compared to butter, which is very soft, so it really gives these cookies major toothsomeness that lasts for days. Milk proteins in milk chocolate that come from skim milk powder or other milk solids add body.

Aside from being delicious, these are also very attractive lads. The relatively high sugar content, coming from both brown sugar and milk chocolate, helps to create a rather crisp and crackly shell on the exterior while maintaining a wonderfully chewy interior. Don't get me wrong though - these are not overly sweet thanks to the oats, slightly savoury toasted nuts and 1/2 teaspoon of salt that help to balance it out.

I think I've made it pretty clear that chewy is one of the selling features here. These cookies also come with craving-satisfaction modes and an amazing hit-the-spot function. If you bake these and you're still not satisfied in the next 10 minutes of cooling time, then... eat some more.


Double Chocolate Oat Cookies with Toasty Almonds
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 1/3 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
heaped ½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz milk chocolate, melted and cooled
¾  cup old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking or instant)
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
5 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir until combined and smooth. Add the melted and cooled milk chocolate and stir until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir until just barely blended. Then fold through the oats, sliced almonds and dark chocolate.

Roll dough into 2-tablespoon-sized balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes - until the tops are cracked and set, but it still appears a bit gooey in between the cracks. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and enjoy for days to come.

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