Friday, January 28, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pizookie to Celebrate!

I've been blogging for just 2 and a half weeks, but today marks a very special day; Today we reached my first milestone goal of 1,000 page views. Thank you everybody! Tonight, Peter and I celebrated this special occasion with 'pizookies'! Normally I make regular chocolate chip cookie dough for pizookies, but tonight Peter requested oatmeal chocolate chip, and since he's my number 1 supporter, oats it was!

For oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I simply use the recipe that's under the lid on the Quaker Oats canister. Last year, I tried a bunch of different oatmeal chocolate chip recipes, but I came right back to this one (if you have a killer oatmeal chocolate chip recipe, please do share! :). However, there are a few details that aren't specified in this recipe that I would like to clarify:

1. For any cookie dough requiring brown sugar, I always use dark brown sugar. This is because molasses is what puts the 'brown' in 'brown sugar', and the more molasses, the darker the brown. This translates into cookie chemistry because molasses is what makes the cookies nice and chewy. Now, if you are one of those people who like big, cakey, fluffy cookies, you can disregard the dark brown recommendation--- but if you prefer big, flat, chewy cookies then give the dark brown a whirl.

2. Their original recipe says that the salt is optional... not in my cookie bowl! I think that any sweet recipe needs a little salt to bring out the sweetness. The sweet-n-salty duo compliment each other so well. It is like the symbiotic relationship between chocolate and coffee. Just like a little hint of coffee brings out chocolate flavor, a little pinch of salt makes the cookie so much more flavorful. If you're worried about  making the dough too salty, don't worry, just a half of a little teaspoon won't overpower 4 dozen cookies, especially if you use unsalted butter. If you're using salted butter, like I always do, try starting with 1/2 the salt (just 1/4 teaspoon for this recipe).

3. The original Quaker recipe uses 1 cup of raisins; I have changed it to 1 cup of chocolate chips. It is funny how one little tweak can change a cookie that I don't care much for, into one of my favorites! I also think that 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts would be another great addition if you consider yourself a fellow nut appreciator. Since I am one, I like them in my cookies. (Literally, freshman year of college everyone's dorm door stated their name, their abbreviated major, and their home town. Since I was a Nutrition Major, I was introduced as "Megan, the NUT., from Dana Point"... but so was my roommate, Serena. At least we could both be nuts together!) 

Of course, you can choose whichever fixin's you prefer.

Okay, here's the recipe (yields about 4 dozen moderate sized cookies):
1 1/2 sticks Butter, softened
3/4 cups Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Oats (quick cook, or old fashioned), uncooked
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins (optional)
1/2 cup Walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla:

Whisk together all dry ingredients, and add them into your bowl to mix with the wet ingredients:

Then, stir in the oats and chocolate chips: 

Now just drop a few spoonfuls of this dough into a pie tin. I like to use this tin that came from 'the Apple Farm' -a cute little bakery and hotel in small central coast town of San Luis Obispo, somewhere so dear to my heart. This tin is probably from one of the many boysenberry pies I was required to bring home to my dad everytime I came home from college. You can also see that it's seen its fair share of pizookie nights, hehe.
You don't need to smother dough all over, just a few little spoonfuls will bake out and fill the pan nicely.

Set your timer to 10 minutes (I have a little old fashioned oven that doesn't have a timer, and cookies bake so quickly that I forget to take them out while I'm cleaning up... good thing Rose got me this cute retro timer to match my kitchen- Thanks Rose! No more burnt cookies! Peter is thankful too :)
10 minutes later... it's ready to be topped off with a generous serving of vanilla ice cream! No need to wait for the cookie to cool, the best bites are where the ice cream melts into the warm, chewy cookie. mmm...
(that ice creamer scooper was a gift from one of Peter's little brothers, one of 4 boys, who wants Peter to know that he's got his big brother's back. Don't worry James, I got it loud and clear- I will try my best to see that Peter won't go deprived of ice cream)

So delectable that you can even read the Apple Farm logo again :)

You might be wondering what happened to the rest of the cookie dough... No, we didn't eat it all. I learned a little trick from my sister in law, and now I do this every time that I make cookies. It's genius!

Scoop out the rest of the dough into individual cookie portions, and let them firm up for a few minutes on a tray in the fridge:
Then load them into a ziplock baggie and into the freezer. Next time you have unexpected guests, or run out of time to make a dessert, (or when your husband can't wait for dinner, sheesh!), you'll have a few batches of artillery ready to go! No need to buy grocery store cookie dough.

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