14 January 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chip Cookies

I have been perusing cookbook after cookbook here lately looking for ideas and considering new recipes to try out. In addition to salivating over Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies I have picked up a few tricks of the baking trade. My idol, Alton Brown, for example recommends that you measure everything out ahead of time and have all of your ingredients ready to go before mixing anything. This technique, Mise en place, is very popular among professional chefs. I decided I would give it a try even though it seems to dirty up a few more dishes and it was a very handy technique. For one, you will not find yourself halfway through making a Black Forest Torte before realizing that you don’t have any Heavy Whipping Cream. And even though set up takes a few minutes more the actual mixing stage goes a lot faster and easier. Having kids up and running around I have found that I can slowly get all my ingredients together and then begin the mixing phase when the kids are immersed in an activity or down for a nap. I don’t see myself proclaiming Mise en place as my religion like Anthony Bourdain does, but I can definitely understand its appeal.

In addition to perusing many books about cooking I have also been checking my pantry for recipes on the backs of such staples as Craisins, chocolate chips and rolled oats. I figure these recipes must have been baked in test kitchens and must be worthy enough if gracing the back labels of such fine products. So Monday after putting all the ingredients in place I whipped up Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, a recipe taken right off the back of the Ocean Spray Craisin package. Having Oatmeal and craisins in them, I thought they were bound to be a big hit with my tastebuds.

These cookies called for flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. I swapped some (1/2 cup) of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour and added a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon. Like I said, I do love cinnamon.
These cookies also called for two large eggs, brown sugar and 2/3 cup butter softened. To soften butter quickly I cut it into tablespoon or smaller slices and set it out for about 10 minutes or so. I am very impatient when ready to get baking.

These cookies call for white chocolate chips. Unfortunately, I have failed all winter to find real chocolate chips in the grocery stores around here. I have found ‘Premier’ white chips by Hersheys and ‘white candy coating’ by Baker’s but a white chip with real cocoa butter in it has failed to reach the shelves of my local grocers. So the cookies I made this past Monday were not in fact White Chocolate cookies but white chip cookies. The difference I fear was far too great.

This cookie was fine. Not bad, moist, slight aroma and taste of cinnamon, but the white chips were just too sweet without any real flavor other than that of straight sugar. These cookies were moist and soft for several days, but they just won't ever make my favorites list as they were. I may try them again if and when I ever finally locate some honest white chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Cranberry Chip Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chips (should be white chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Round up and measure out all ingredients ahead of time.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

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