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Friday, November 28, 2014

The day after... Thanksgiving Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies sounded so promising -- pumpkin, cranberries, butter, spices...  but somehow they fell short.  They're boring.  They didn't seem to have enough of anything. They didn't taste like pumpkin, the preserved cranberries had no tang, the spices weren't especially distinguishable...   The batter had been SOOO tasty -- like browned butter caramel.  What happened?  Perhaps it was the oatmeal that diminished the flavor.  They were also a little low in salt, even after adding more than called for.  I increased the quantity of cranberries, since they looked scant in the batter, but they didn't add flavor.  I omitted the chocolate because, well, chocolate isn't Thanksgiving and it didn't belong, but I see now that the chocolate was the only thing that might save these.  But if you're going to add chocolate, you might as well just make your own favorite oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies.

Dried cranberries, which would more properly be called candied cranberries, have become so popular these days, and they're found in everything, including things that might have used fresh cranberries 5 years ago.  Fresh cranberries aren't available all year, so take advantage of their bright color and bright flavor while you can.  Their fresh tang would have gone far to liven up these cookies.  I also would add yet another 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or just use salted butter), and even increase the spices a bit.  No sense in this pretending to be a shy cookie.

Here's what I used:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, beat butter, pumpkin purée, and sugars until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla, and beat well.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and add to butter mixture; mix well. Stir in oats, cranberries, and walnuts.  Drop scoops onto an ungreased baking sheet. These did not rise much, so judge the amount by the size of cookie you want.  I used a heaping, tablespoon-sized cookie scoop.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.  Made 52 moderate-sized cookies.

Conclusion:  I probably would not make these again.  If I did, they would certainly need more tweaking.  The biggest question would be how to get more pumpkin flavor into them
without making them soggy.  This might be a job for pumpkin flour.  They would also benefit from some cream cheese spread on them.

Recipe:  Thanksgiving Oatmeal Cookies via Kitchen Report

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