Joining TWD has changed my personality. I’ve become generous. Magnanimous even. I give friends plates of sweets. I’m constantly sending large quantities of baked goods to work with my husband. I'm contemplating getting “I’ll bring the dessert” tattooed on my forehead.
So when the neighborhood supper club invitation arrived a few weeks ago, of course I offered to bring a dessert. I mean, I bake every single week now. The hostess told me that someone else was bringing brownies, and asked that I bring something non-chocolate. No problem. I was confident that the upcoming TWD recipe rotation would provide an adequate choice of recipes.
Then I saw the TWD recipe line-up:
Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte. Hmmm, no, it was chocolate, plus difficult to transport and serve to a group out of someone else’s kitchen. (I ended up serving this to a family dinner gathering. Results posted last week)
Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. Waaaay too chocolate-y for my assigned dish. (I served this to my book club dinner party last weekend – watch for next week’s TWD post)
That left the Chunky Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters for the supper club. The main recipe calls for chocolate, but Dorie lists a raisin option with these cookies, so I could use it. I decided to split the batch and make half with dried fruit - using dried sweet cherries along with some raisins, aiming for a PB&J effect. The other half would be chocolate.
Comments in the P&Q showed that people were finding the peanut flavor to be a bit weak, so I made two small changes in the recipe, each to boost the peanut butter quotient:
1) I added 6 oz of peanut butter chips, and
2)I replaced 3 T of the butter with approximately 2 ½ T of additional peanut butter. (I got the idea from Amy Ruth of amyruthbakes, a new TWD member, who made a similar substitution in the Granola Grabbers challenge two weeks ago. Thanks, Amy Ruth, I really liked how it worked in this recipe.)
This was the first time I’ve ever grated fresh nutmeg – wow! It smelled amazing. My microplane worked like a charm (but I was a bit concerned that I was going to grate my knuckles…) The pack of nutmeg I bought is enough to cover the holiday baking needs for my entire neighborhood for the rest of the decade, at least. I’ll be looking for recipes that call for lots and lots of grated nutmeg...
I divided the dough in half and added chocolate to one half and to the other I stirred in raisins and dried sweet cherries. I baked 5 separate cookie sheets-full, and I think I managed to overcook each batch by just a tiny bit. Needless to say, I found it tricky to determine the done-ness. Luckily the recipe is forgiving, and the cookies were moist and chewy and were not dry.
I ended up with 26 of the raisin/cherry and 28 of the chocolate chip, very close to Dorie's estimated quantity. I used the chill-the-dough (several hours), make-balls, and flatten-them method of forming the cookies. I found that if I didn’t flatten them too much and kept them well-chilled they kept a nice shape and didn’t spread too much in the oven. Even so, the chocolate version of the cookies spread a bit more than the raisin/cherry.
I'd rate these cookies VG+ (the dough was even better than the baked cookies!). I liked the peanut flavor and am glad I added the extra peanut butter to the dough. I found the peanut butter chips to be a distraction, however, and I regretted adding them. They tasted a bit artificial in this recipe and I think the peanut butter flavor came close to overwhelming the chocolate. Several people have mentioned that the cinnamon flavor was strong, but I can’t say I noticed the flavor overly much. I wonder if it’s one of those things that some people are more susceptible to tasting than others?
I actually preferred the cookies with the dried fruit to those with the chocolate. The chewyness of the dried fruit matched the heft and chewy quality of the oats. And they DID taste like a (chewy) PB&J sandwich.
My husband ate some of the cookies but he wasn’t wild about them. His opinion: “I’d rather have a regular oatmeal cookie.” [btw, I am still working out the leavening issue with my “perfect” oatmeal cookie recipe; then I will post it. I promise!] He liked the Granola Grabbers better than this cookie.
A final word about the quantity: I made a full batch and ended up with nearly 5 dozen cookies. Supper club made a dent in my cookie stash. I brought some on a cookie platter to a Memorial Day cookout. A fair number were eaten, and I left the rest of the platter with the hosts. Even after these two events I still have cookies left (which I've frozen and may bring to my book group on Thursday evening). This recipe gives me LOTS of opportunities to be magnanimous!
Thanks to Stefany of Proceed with Caution for picking this recipe. If you want to bake these cookies, you can find the recipe on page 73 of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours, or on Stefany's post. Check out the TWD blogroll to see how a couple hundred others baked this recipe.