I developed these chewy oatmeal cookies for February’s Recipe Redux, the monthly cooking challenge I joined last year. The challenge this month was to develop a recipe that highlights chocolate, and sweets, I have to say, aren’t my strong suit. When it comes to sweet versus salty, I’d pick salty every day. Baking is typically less forgiving than cooking, so it was a bit challenging to come up with a chocolate-focused dessert. Instead, I thought about what kinds of sweets I actually like to eat, which lead me to oatmeal cookies. Rather than experiment with the chemistry behind cakes and batters, I went with adapting a plain and simple oatmeal cookie recipe and spicing it up.
I incorporated chocolate chips into the recipe, which was a pretty obvious adaptation, and I’m certainly not the first to pair chocolate and oatmeal in a cookie. So, to take the whole thing a step up from obvious, I wanted to incorporate something more complex in place of cinnamon. I went for a Chinese 5 spice, a blend of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, ginger, and peppercorn. It works because the cinnamon element hints at the traditional flavor profile of an oatmeal cookie, but the peppercorn and ginger lend a subtle, almost smoky spiciness. Chocolate and spices go very well together, so if you don’t have a super sweet tooth, this is a fantastic cookie. It’s chewy and tender and incredibly flavorful.
When you pull these out of the oven, they’ll still be soft and delicate. Don’t worry – they’ll firm up a bit as they cool, and you don’t want to overcook these, or they’ll be quite crispy the next day. I also recommend using parchment paper because it makes transferring the cookies to a cooling rack smooth and easy, but be careful – I found the parchment paper slipped around a bit when I was rotating my cookie sheets, and cookies can easily go overboard.
Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Makes 15 cookies
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose if you don’t have whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease thoroughly.
2) Stir together the flour, baking powder, Chinese five spice, and salt together in a small bowl.
3) Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy (about 2 minutes at medium speed). Add the sugar and beat until fluffy (another 3 minutes). While beating, add the egg and mix thoroughly.
4) Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Stir in the oats then the chocolate chips, one at a time.
5) Using a large scoop or spoon, portion out 2-inch balls of dough onto the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.