Despite our genetic lineage or perhaps because of it, the hubster and I are pretty healthy [knock knock.] We eat a fairly healthy, balanced diet and engage in cardiovascular activities regularly for exercise and fun. But, that doesn’t mean that things can’t change. Realistically as we age life, physiology, and lifestyle will creep up on everyone and hasn’t it already? What you could get away with in your 20s–sporadic exercise with no stretching or cool down, limitless junk food, and carousing the night away will have you hobbling and waddling your way down the stairs trying to stifle your whimpers to keep the throbbing gong in your head at bay. Hell, it may catch up to you sooner than you think. I still smile when I remember one of my 23 year old med school classmates cradling his head while moaning, “I just can’t drink like I used to,” after a particularly memorable post-exams bash. So while I don’t want to switch to a high-fiber-no-fat-no-flavor diet and cut out the appreciation of the little things in life, I’m continually re-examining our diet and my views toward food to see if there aren’t ways to tweak things but still keep the fun.
This recipe, as many things in life, is the result of a compromise. While I think raisins and oatmeal go together like peanut butter and jam, the hubby starts twitching like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. So, in the name of peace and harmony a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with dried cherries from Bon Appétit was jerry rigged and has been on yearly rotation in our house. I’ve made it
mostly faithfully to the recipe with the exception of reducing the sugars somewhat cuz with the cherries and chocolate chips it’s rather sweet, skipping the oat food processor mulching step cuz I’m lazy it’s unnecessary and I like the full oat texture, doubling the vanilla for extra flavor and adding cinnamon which always tastes good with chocolate and oatmeal in my book by somehow adding a strangely nutty taste. The original recipe was very popular with the hubby and friends so if you don’t want to play mad scientist with your cookies, you won’t go wrong with the original incarnation. For those of you who are concerned about the dreaded “C” words, calories and cholesterol, by swapping 1/2 the volume of full fat Greek yogurt for half of the butter you will save 612 calories, 72.5 g fat, and 211 mg cholesterol. Greek yogurt will give you moisture and some fat but in order to get the right “spread” and avoid denseness cuz fat (as well as sugar) helps to prevent gluten development (what gives you a great springy bread will also give you a dense chewy cookie) you have to alter the chemistry of the cookie a little. No, not science! Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. Since the yogurt is acidic you need to add a smidgen more basic baking soda to neutralize it and by keeping the brown sugar ratio high, you’ve got moisture as well as sugar to help counteract the gluten. I’ve also added a little canola oil to add back for just a little fat as well as to help spread the cookie dough as it bakes which will give it those crispety that we all love so much.
2 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt or 1/4 tsp regular salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp canola oil
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 c honey-flavored Greek yogurt (I like Greek Gods Yogurt)
1 c dried cherries, roughly chopped
1 c (~8 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. If not using a silicone baking mat grease baking sheet(s) and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl cream butter till pale and fluffy. Mix in oil, sugars, and vanilla till fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time combining well with each addition. Mix in cherries and chocolate chips. On low speed mix in oats mixture till just combined (no white lumps or streaks visible).
Using a medium-sized (~1 1/2 tbsp) cookie scoop or large spoon, scoop dough onto baking sheet 2-3 inches apart as they will spread with baking. Bake till golden brown ~8-10. With a silicone baking mat with 8 cookies and convection it takes me 9 minutes. Makes 43 minus a few for St. Nick cuz I want to make sure he can fit down all those chimneys. Happy holidays 🙂