It’s summertime, and at my house that means there are lots of people in and out. And those people get hungry!
I try to keep snacks around for my family and their guests to munch on, and I like to make those treats myself when I can. Thanks to a book I came across while browsing in the library’s new books section the other day, my cookie jar is now holding some delicious home-baked cookies.
“Cookies: More than 200 Recipes” by Jill Snider was enticing to me right away. I enjoyed reading the tips and descriptions she puts with each recipe, and I loved the combinations she came up with for her cookies. How about crunchy cereal cookies — a breakfast cookie recipe with crisped rice cereal, rolled oats, almonds, coconut and sunflower seeds? Or chocolate cherry mounds with pecans, dried cherries and two kinds of chocolate?
The cookie names alone make you want to start baking: butterscotch cashew cookies, Hawaiian chews, chocolate caramel oat cookies, cranberry almond oatmeal cookies.
There are many traditional favorites in this book as well, and I chose an oatmeal cookie as my first recipe from this book. A number of cookie recipes in the book use oats, but I tried oatmeal candy cookies and made them the last two Saturday afternoons.
This is a simple, basic oatmeal cookie recipe that uses candy pieces. It also calls for coconut, but I omitted that so I wouldn’t be the only one eating them. (My crowd can spot coconut hidden in any recipe.)
The first time I made this recipe I used my small cookie scoop and made small, uniform cookies that everyone gobbled down. I wasn’t sure if there would be a cookie left before they had time to cool! I cooked these cookies a minute or two more than what the recipe suggests because I love crunchy oatmeal cookies.
I made a few changes to this recipe other than leaving out the coconut. I used self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour and left out the baking powder, baking soda and salt, and instead of using 1 cup of candy-coated chocolate pieces, I used a mixture of miniature M&Ms and miniature chocolate chips (about half-and-half.)
The cookies were a big hit at my house, and I feel confident I’ll make them again and again.
This is a good recipe to use if you have kids around who want to help. Both times I made this recipe, my 2-year-old granddaughter was at the house, and she poured in the chocolate chips and M&Ms. She also helped me hold the mixer.
Before writing this column, I wanted to try something different, so I made a second recipe, using ingredients I’ve never put in a cookie. I chose white chocolate, fruit and nut cookies.
These buttery, tender cookies are packed with white chocolate, chopped cashew nuts, dried cranberries and dried apricot. I wasn’t sure how I would like the combination, but it was a delicious cookie, and everyone who tried it agreed.
When you’re making these cookies, try to get some of each ingredient in each cookie because the combination is really good.
White Chocolate Fruit and Nut Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest*
- 8 squares (1 oz./28 g each) white chocolate cut into chunks*
- 1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped dried mango*
Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
On a sheet of waxed paper or in a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown and granulated sugars until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange zest. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. With a wooden spoon, stir in white chocolate, cashews, cranberries and mango.
Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes or until golden around edges. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.
*I used self-rising flour and omitted the salt and baking soda. I didn’t have an orange, so I didn’t use orange zest. Also, instead of cutting squares of chocolate, I used a cup of white chocolate chips. And I also used apricot instead of mango.
"Cookies: More than 200 recipes" by Jill Snider
Oatmeal Candy Cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats*
- 1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces*
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut*
Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or by greasing.
On a sheet of waxed paper or in a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, granulated and brown sugars, egg and vanilla until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until smooth. With a wooden spoon, stir in oats, candy pieces and coconut.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 9-13 minutes or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.
*I made the following changes: I used self-rising flour and omitted the baking powder, baking soda and salt. I didn’t have quick-cooking oats, so I used old-fashioned. I omitted coconut, and I used a mixture of miniature M&Ms and miniature chocolate chips instead of 1 cup of the candy pieces only.
Another good variation: instead of M&Ms and chocolate chips, I mixed in about a cup of dark chocolate chips and 3/4 to 1 cup chopped dried cherries. Delicious!
"Cookies: More than 200 Recipes" by Jill Snider