Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Consistent & Reliable: A Cook's Best Friend

It’sgreat when you can always rely on something or someone: a family member for their unconditional support, a friend to lend an ear, a consistent cup of coffee at your favourite café, or in this case, a stellar recipe you can always depend on. Such is the case with these Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies.

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I have been baking these cookies for a good number of years now, often substituting ingredients for variation. My adaptation of the recipe always yields wonderfully delicious cookies—a crispy exterior with a moist and chewy centre, and lots of texture from the oats, coconut and cranberries. It’s just the right amount of sweetness and chewiness, with a slight tartness from the cranberries, which can just as easily be swapped for some raisins, chopped dried apricots, or another favourite of mine, dried cherries.

I often made these during my university days because they freeze beautifully. I can always make a double batch, freeze them, and grab a few out whenever I need some quick snacks to-go for a study session or an essay marathon. Being chock full of healthy ingredients, the cookies are also a great source of quick energy, and make the perfect snack in lunches.

Feel free to add some chopped toasted nuts if you like, or for a bit of indulgence, a handful of chocolate chips. A coworker had been craving some white chocolate and macadamia cookies last week, and while I didn’t have any macadamias on hand, I threw in some white chocolate for her and the rest of the office. Regardless of what you throw into these cookies, you can rest assured that they’ll always turn out great. And the best thing about a reliable recipe? You'll know it by heart after a few gos, and can easily and quickly whip up a batch for unexpected guests or cravings!

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Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (or sweetened coconut, if desired)
½ tsp each baking powder and baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup white or semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together rolled oats, flour, coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a separate, large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add the cranberries and any additional add-ins and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir until combined.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared pans (I usually like to roll them into balls and flatten them to ensure a rounder cookie). Bake in the centre of the oven, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool. Can be frozen for up to a month if stored in an airtight container or bag.


Robin June 23, 2009 at 4:12 p.m.  

I just made these cookies and they are not only easy to make (with my 2 year old assisting) they are delicious! I got 3 dozen plus a few out of the recipe. Good to know that they can be frozen; what a great idea!

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