There is this wonderful bookstore in the City (San Francisco for all you out of towners) called Omnivore. It is a tiny tiny storefront in the middle of a residential neighborhood (parking sucks) close to Delores Park that has become the mecca for cookbook lovers and foodies. Their schedule of speakers is literally the A list of cookbook authors and chefs. I drove up to Omnivore right after the election to see Dorie Greenspan the baking guru. I needed a pick me up and her new book Dorie’s Cookies was just the answer.
Last weekend Omnivore threw a cookie contest or as they called it a Cookie Crumble. You could either bake a batch of cookies or pay 5 dollars to taste and judge ever tasty morsel. I signed up to bring cookies of course.
Tactically I knew if I was serious I needed to make a cookie that stood out, had some sort of chocolate in it, maybe a different spice, a catchy name and garner attention at first glance (sprinkles, icing, I have no shame cookie bling). After mulling it over and perusing through different baking books and blogs I came up with…….drum roll please…..
Whaaat? I know, that hardly fits my criteria for a winning cookie. In fact quite the opposite.
Let me explain, one of my favorite blogs Ipso Fatto had posted an oatmeal cookie that she had just made. That one wasn’t particularly memorable but it brought to mind another recipe she had tried that she felt was much better, a delicious Cranberry Apricot Oatmeal Cookie from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook (of course I have it, the beauty of an addiction). Oooh, it looked so yummy and sounded soooo good. Bits of apricot and cranberry in an oatmeal cookie flavored with cloves, ginger, cinnamon…buttery, spicey, chewy with crispy edges. Despite my initial strategic thinking this became THE one.
We headed to the city cookies in hand. Checking Omnivore’s FB page, eight people signed up. Looking good…
Uh-oh, did ALL these people forget to sign up? Sheesh!
Whoa! At least fifty entries and that’s the good news. The bad news, a gazillion (slight exaggeration) of them looked like oatmeal cookies. Oh well.
and the winner is…not me (damn) but……a chocolate cookie with white chocolate drizzles (the one on the right side of the plate, I admit it was pretty darn good). I should have stuck to my tactical plan.
Five dollars for this plate of cookies. Guy in golden pants-SCORE. He was determined to get one of each cookie and I think he came darn close. I snapped a quick pic, I think I have plate envy.
So my cookies didn’t win, but they are yummy and if you like oatmeal raisin cookies add this one to your baking bucket list. A little bit more spice than a classic oatmeal cookie and the addition of apricots, cranberries, not just raisins makes for a delicious cookie. I do have a couple tricks of my sleeve when making them. For uniformly sized cookies, use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. I often chill my dough to minimize spreading. I scoop all the dough, put it on a sheet and place it in the fridge. To get the nice craggy tops, about 3-4 minutes before the cookies are done, (they’ll look puffy) quickly open your oven door, lift and rap the cookie sheet once or twice on the wire shelf. The cookies will “deflate” and develop the crevices and ridges. If you want the uniform top then ignore the rapping. My baking time was shorter, closer to 12-14 minutes. Not all your cookies come out round? As soon as I remove the cookies from the oven I survey them for odd shapes. The cookies are still soft and pliable so with a knife or spatula go ahead and gently push the edges of the cookie to shape them. Voila perfectly round cookies. Is this cheating?…I won’t tell if you don’t.
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried apricots diced
- 1/3 cups golden raisins
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Stir in the oats and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl combine dried fruits.
- In the mixer using a paddle attachment on med-high cream butter, both sugars and vanilla until pale and fluffy, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time.
- On low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Add the dried fruits and mix until combined.
- Put on cookie sheets and flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Bake until golden brown around the edges and still slightly pale in the middle, 14-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Remove and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.