May 22, 2013

Chocolate, Nut & Fruit Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

These cookies are soft, chewy, and very, very addicting. It's like trail mix exploded into an oatmeal cookie... with a toasty hint of coconut that takes everything over the top.

My mom visited Philly for a belated Mother's Day weekend. I had planned a picnic in Rittenhouse Square Park and the menu included fresh baguettes, a variety of meats, cheeses,and spreads, fresh and dried fruits, people-watching, and for dessert: mom's favorite flavors. Mom adores coconut, oatmeal, chocolate, cranberries, and almonds. I knew they could all roll into one cookie, so that's exactly what we baked.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side so we had to have our picnic indoors. But we did get to sneak a bunch of these giant treats fresh out of the oven as an appetizer, and then indulge again for dessert.... and snack later... and a little for breakfast the next morning.

Hey! Cookies are versatile, and with ingredients this hearty and delicious, I say it's fair game for putting a smile on at any time of the day.

P.S. - This is another great recipe for playing with flavors... how about pecans instead of almonds? dried cherries or hunks of apricots instead of dried cranberries? chopped dark chocolate with sea salt subbed for the chocolate chips? go wild!

Chocolate, Nut & Fruit Oatmeal Coconut Cookies: makes about 14-16 large cookies
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1 1/8 cups old-fashioned oats
heaping 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast almonds on a baking sheet, stirring and watching carefully, and cool. 

Beat together the butter and both sugars at high speed until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just blended, then beat in the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour and mix at low speed until just blended. Stir in the oats, coconut, almonds, cranberries and chocolate (do not over-stir). On parchment paper or non-stick baking mat on a cookie sheet, scoop about 1/4 cup mounds of cookie and gently roll into a ball. Press down lightly to form a flattened circle about 1/2 inch thick on the sheet. Continue this, placing cookies about 2 inches apart. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes total, rotating the pans on each rack and from front to back half-way through. Remove cookies and cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve or store in an airtight container. 


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