Recipe: Oatmeal cookie variations

I’ve probably eaten more of these than any other cookie.

The real beauty of these cookies that the recipe is just a template. You can add whatever dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or other add-ins that you like. Just pick things that go well together (Mom sent me some interesting ones with craisins, orange zest, chocolate, and rosemary!) One batch was dried cherry-chocolate-walnut (good combo!) To that batch, I also substituted half of the butter for cream (due to the relative availability of those ingredients) and they turned out slightly crisper than normal, but just as tasty. I often make a 2/3 recipe and make them a bit smaller (bake for 1-2 minutes less) than called for in the original recipe, and they turn out great.

Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from: Grandma B. (Mom’s mom)

3 eggs, beaten
1 c raisins, craisins, halved dried cherries, and/or chocolate chips
1 t vanilla
3/4 c butter, room temperature
1 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2.5 c flour
1 t salt
½ t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
2 c old-fashioned oats
¾ c chopped pecans

Combine beaten eggs, dried fruit, and vanilla in a small bowl and let sit, covered, for 1 hour.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Mix together flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the egg mixture and dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in oats, and nuts and chocolate chips (if using). Dough should be very stiff; add more flour or oats if too soft. Optionally, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight to develop the flavors more.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Drop heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are set. Let stand on cookie sheet at least 5 minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack.

Orange-rosemary-walnut variation: add zest and juice of 1 large orange with the butter, use 1/2 stick of butter instead of 3/4 stick. Stir in 1-1.5 T chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 c chopped walnuts, 1-1.5 c chocolate chips at the end, instead of the pecans.

Cherry-walnut variation: use dried cherries and chopped walnuts in place of raisins and pecans. 1-1.5 c chocolate chips stirred in with the walnuts are optional but recommended.

Other ideas for good add-in combos: craisins + orange zest + walnuts or pecans, dried cherries + walnuts or pecans or almonds, white chocolate chips + macadamia nuts + chopped dried apricots, dried blueberries + walnuts, pecans + chocolate + pumpkin pie spice, crystallized ginger + pecans + chocolate.

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