Baked Sunday Mornings: Oatmeal Cherry (or Cranberry) Nut Cookies

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is "Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I made the recipe eight years ago soon after I got the cookbook and I thought the cookies were good. But I didn't like them enough to want to make them again, so I went rogue and made a different cookie from the same book: "Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies."

The gentlemen bakers switched up a traditional oatmeal-raisin cookie by swapping in dried cherries for raisins and adding winter spices. I had dried cherries on hand but decided to use dried cranberries instead -- both because I had a lot of them and also because I thought they seemed more seasonal for November. For once, I was happy to see that the recipe called for cardamom. I have never liked cardamom. But at a talk I recently attended by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh about their cookbook Sweet, Helen mentioned that she had never liked cardamom either until she started grinding her own. So I bought some green cardamom pods and this recipe was my first opportunity to see how freshly-ground cardamom compares to the pre-ground variety.

This recipe is straightforward but the dough requires at least six hours of chilling time, so I made it over two days. To make the dough, you cream room temperature butter with granulated sugar and dark brown sugar; add eggs and vanilla; mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom); and stir in the dried fruit and chopped, toasted walnuts. I left the dough in the fridge for about 18 hours before baking.
After the dough was chilled, I used a #24 scoop to portion it out (I got 30 cookies from a batch of dough) and flattened each cookie slightly before baking. The cookies spread a fair amount and became very dark in the oven. The cranberries looked just like raisins, so except for the deep golden color, the baked cookies were indistinguishable from regular oatmeal-raisin cookies. I thought they were very good -- crisp around the edges and soft inside, with the pronounced rustic texture of oats and a lovely light spice flavor. I even liked the cardamom, which I could taste clearly -- but I thought it blended in beautifully with the other spices.

That said, I wouldn't say this recipe tops my list of favorite oatmeal cookies. Offhand, I prefer the Starbucks Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie, the slice-and-bake Chocolate Shots, Mindy Segal's Oatmeal Scotchies, and Tom Douglas' Cranberry Apricot Oatmeal Cookies. Even just staying within the pages of Baked: New Frontiers, I absolutely love the Monster Cookie recipe, which combines oats, peanut butter, and M&Ms. Still, I ate more of these cookies than I care to admit -- they were so satisfying.

Recipe: "Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Previous Post: "The Mildly Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cookie," May 26, 2009.


Anonymous said…
The cookies look tasty. I too am not a huge fan of cardamom-- I'll have to remember about freshly grinding it. Ooooh, so cool that you got to see Ottolenghi and Goh!! I missed them last month because I was traveling, BUT I got to visit two of the Ottolenghi shops on that trip, so I couldn't be too upset. ;-)