Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oatmeal cookies: two ways, my way!

Humble looking but oh so delicious!
After Christmas,  New Year and all their excesses, it's good to go back to normal and tone things down a notch in the sugar department. However, as a sugar-holic, it's not an easy thing for me, but luckily there are some healthier sweet recipes out there that offer joy without the overwhelming guilt.

Inspiration came while watching the lovely Julie Andrieu on her quest to understand the food culture around the world. While in Scotland, she was understood the importance of oats and oatmeal is to the Scots.
Actually it is said that the Romans had hard times conquering that country because of how strong their men were which many attribute to the oatmeal based diet!

The oat cereal was used by humans since thousands of years  but only made its way to pastry in the beginning of the 19th century!

I love oatmeal with its floury nutty taste and fibrous texture, in fact one of my favorite light dinner meals is oatmeal with spices, honey and nut soaked in soy milk. This dinner meal was an additional source of inspiration of  this recipe. But I also wanted to experiment with flavors and create different tastes using the same dough, at the end I made two kinds of cookies with one simple dough and flavorings ingredients which you most likely have at home. 
Two ways to savor a cookie classic

The first kind of oatmeal cookie was flavored with nuts, spices and  honey  whereas the second one was flavored with white chocolate and lyophilized summer berries. I usually eat these berries with my cereals in the morning and luckily they are better suited for this recipe than fresh berries as the fresh ones will make your dough too soggy.

For the basic cookie dough you need (makes about 18 to 20):
  • 55 g butter
  • 70 g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 75 g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 120 g oatmeal (I used the quick cooking oats)
The two different flavoring agents

For the 1st variation you need:
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp spice infused honey (I used 4 tbsp honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ground star anise, pinch of ground cloves and nutmeg. Combine the spices with a tsp of water then add the honey and simmer gently for few min).
  • 2 tbsp of mixed nuts (I used raw walnuts, pecans and almonds)
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • Tsp ground hazelnut or almond pralinĂ© (optional)

2nd variation:
  • One tbsp lyophilized summer berries
  • 40 g white chocolate
Shape your cookies and space them as they expand during cooking

How to: 
Cream the butter and sugar with a blender, add the egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined, slowly start adding the flour and oatmeal that previously you had mixed with the salt and baking soda. 

When all well mixed divide your dough in 2. Add each set of flavoring ingredients to a half. Form your cookies using an ice-cream scoop or by band and bake them in a preheated oven (180C) from 10 to 12 min. Be careful not over-bake and take them out as soon as the edge of the cookies turns golden! Let them cool for 5 min then transfer them to a cooling rack!
Milk revives the flavors of cold cookies

It  snowed in Madrid and it's really cold, but I can calmly sit on my chair looking at the snow falling outside while sipping a hot cup of milk and biting into these delicious oatmeal cookies with their heart-warming flavors.
Savor the cookies with a warm glass of milk, enjoy!

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