I once spent the afternoon at a friend’s house just watching her make holiday cookies. She had a frustrating experience the week before—many of her cookies were overbaked. She followed the recipe and was bummed about all the time and money she lost on the ingredients. She wanted to know what she did wrong.
When I arrived , first thing I did was check her oven with the thermometer I brought from home. It turns out her oven was running hot so we had to adjust the temperature to get what we wanted. She had diligently followed the stated baking time on all the recipes. I tried to explain, baking times listed on recipes are guidelines—it’s done when it’s done. Many ovens have hot spots that bake unevenly so it’s important to turn the cookie trays at least one. And, it’s harder for cookies because 1 or 2 minutes can really make a difference! Once we got that figured out, I hung back and was there for moral support. She did a great job, earned her bragging rights, and her family got to enjoy lots of delicious cookies.
I have been making these for a very long time, almost 20 years. The tart taste of the cherries along with the orange zest and cinnamon give this cookie an interesting flavor different from traditional oatmeal cookies.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups Irish oatmeal (quick cooking)
- 1 cup dried cherries, rough chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and slowly add both sugars. Allow to mix until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest until combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk (or sift) so it’s lump free. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until just combined. Stir in cherries and oatmeal. (Don’t overmix)
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a small ice cream scoop (I used a 1½ tablespoon scoop), drop dough onto the cookie sheet. Flatten the cookie slightly with the heel of your hand.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes until light brown. Turn the cookie sheets in the oven halfway through baking.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to cool. Store the cookies in airtight container for a few days. If longer, wrap well and freeze.
If the cherries are very dry, place them in warm water for 5 minutes to soften and plump. Drain well before you add to cookie dough.
Every oven is different so be sure to keep your eye on the cookies once you hit 10 minutes or so.
Double the recipe and freeze the dough. Then you can have freshly baked cookies to enjoy at a later time. Here’s how I freeze my cookie dough. I scoop all the dough and place it on a tray that will fit in my freezer. I let the dough get firm in the freezer and then place the balls of dough in a freezer bag that is labeled with the name of the cookie and the date. Most cookies will last at least 3 months in the freezer, assuming they are well sealed. When you are ready to eat your frozen cookies, just let them come to room temperature and bake according to the recipe’s directions.
From Denise Treco at HeyItsACakewalk.com. Visit the site to find lots more delicious recipes and tips.