Though I have already leaked my favorite cookie recipe, this is a very VERY close second place. In addition to being highly flavorful in a subtle ‘what is that?’ sort of way, the other fabulous thing about these cookies is that they are modifyable. In fact, last night was the first time I have made them according to the directions! I have, in various iterations, left out the pecans because of a nut allergy, substituted cherries and/or orange-flavored Craisins for the dried cranberries, swapped in maple syrup for the corn syrup, and, almost always, I have ignored the call for cake flour and just used 1/4 c. regular all-purpose with 1 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch. Replacements, swap-outs and eliminations of any of the solid additives (dried fruit, chocolate, coconut, pecans) are fine so long as you maintain the 2 cup total. And I wouldn’t mess with the oats, since they are the structure and the texture of the cookie.
I should note that as cookies go, these involve fairly lengthy prep: toast the coconut, toast the pecans, chop the pecans, mix the all-purpose flour and the cake flour separately, form the dough into two-inch disks blah, blah, blah. There’s even a note suggesting that the cookies are better if you weigh all the ingredients rather than measuring with a cup. However, I can tell you that I have assembled these many times with far less attention to detail then I did last night and I haven’t yet been struck by lightning.
As I said, I’ve been making minor changes to these cookies each time I bake them based on people’s dietary restrictions and taste preferences. Honestly, though, this recipe is pretty incredible as written. The coconut is hardly noticeable unless you are sniffing for it, but it adds a distinct type of sweetness that isn’t just hum-drum brown sugar. The nuts are not overpowering, and they add a nice savory element to the bite. The white chocolate seems to be a natural continuation of the cookie batter, not a glaring sore thumb, and the cranberries are a far superior (and more universally appealling, I’ve noticed) alternative to raisins.
I made these this week for a cookie swap at work – if any of my friends from the museum are checking in, please let me know what you think of the results in the comments section!
Jumbo Cranberry-Oatmeal Jumbles, from Fine Cooking magazine, November 2005, Issue 74.
(makes 16-18 big, er, jumbo cookies)
6 oz. (3/4 c.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 c.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 oz. (1/4 c.) cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 c. rolled oats (old-fashioned, not quick-cooking)
1/2 c. pecan pieces (or coarsely chopped pecan halves), lightly toasted
1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
3 1/2 oz. good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Position two racks near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Add the egg, corn syrup, and vanilla; beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Mix in half the all-purpose flour on low speed until thoroughly combined, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape the bowl. Briefly mix in the remaining half of the all-purpose flour. Sprinkle the cake flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and beat on low speed until well blended, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries, oats, pecans, coconut, and white chocolate.
Using your fingertips, shape 2-oz. pieces of dough (about a scant 1/4 cup) into 2-inch-diameter disks that are 1/2 inch thick. Space them at least 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheets. Bake until the cookies’ edges and bottoms are golden and the centers feel dry on the surface but still soft inside, 15 to 16 minutes. When baking two pans of cookies at once, switch the position of the pans after 8 minutes for even browning. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for at least 1 minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies will keep for three or four days at room temperature or for several weeks in the freezer.