Well, we all made it through Thanksgiving 2009 with no major battle wounds (although root causes of any future required angioplasty could probably be traced back to yesterday’s mac and cheese), and now it’s time to look forward — to the holidays!
Though I don’t have too big of a sweet tooth, there are two desserts I simply can’t refuse: ice cream (of any kind, really), and a well done cookie. Put the two together? Oh me, oh my.
Joe’s absolute favorite type of cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip. I won’t be surprised if you tell me you’ve never had one.
Even though it’s a simple, almost obvious combination, it’s rare to see these at bakeries or in stores. Most places stock oatmeal chocolate chip’s two cousins, the more famous oatmeal raisin and the good ‘ol chocolate chip; beyond these two, stores (unwisely) don’t generally combine the best parts of the two.
At last year’s Thanksgiving, I created this recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and thankfully, I held on to the instructions (See? Already something to be thankful for!). I baked a big batch for my sweetie pie, with the intention of using a few to make some delicious ice cream sandwiches for our official Turkey Day dessert.
One unique ingredient in this recipe is flax seed meal. Last year, as I pulled the recipe together, I threw in a few shakes of flax seed meal, which we keep around to add to healthy morning oatmeal. Adding in the flax meal is an easy way to sneak in a little extra fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, and also a GREAT way to convince yourself that you’re somehow negating the two sticks of butter the recipe calls for. Right.
Here we go:
- 1 cup (usually 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/4 cups AP flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups quick cooking oats (I use the Whole Foods Quick Rolled Oats found in the bulk section)
- 1 cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips (Guittard, Scharffen Berger, Ghiradelli)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup flax seed meal (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325Â° F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. You can do this with a spoon, but it’s best done with either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Creaming sugar and fat together heavily influences the final texture of the cookie, as the beating of the sugar granules and fat together creates air in the cookie.
Once the butter and sugar have been creamed and the mixture looks smooth, beat in the eggs one at a time. With the beaters running, add in the vanilla and almond extracts.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix together with a spatula or wooden spoon until blended. Add in the oats, chocolate chips, and flax seed meal (if using). Continue mixing together until the oats and chocolate are well incorporated throughout the dough.
For rustic looking cookies, drop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet by the heaping spoonful. For perfectly round cookies with a more even height (better for ice cream sandwiches), roll the dough into similar sized balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Based on the size of your cookie ball, you’ll want to space them accordingly. Remember that as the butter melts in the oven, the cookies will spread out a lot.
Bake until the cookies are golden. You’ll know when they’re done without even looking — you’ll be able to smell the wonderful aroma of cooked sugar and vanilla. But if I had to make a guess, I’d say they’ll be done in around 10-15 minutes, depending on how big you’re making your cookies.
Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool, then enjoy.
To make ice cream sandwiches
Select two cookies that are similar in diameter. Pull your ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit for a few minutes to soften slightly. Scoop some ice cream onto a cookie, until you have enough that when you press the top cookie on, the ice cream will spread out evenly and hit the edges without spilling over.
If you’d like, use a small offset spatula or spreader to smooth out the edges of your ice cream, so that the ice cream edge looks continuous. If your ice cream gets too soft, you can also set the sandwiches on a sheet pan and re-freeze them.
As you can tell, I didn’t have the patience to smooth out the edges and make it look magazine perfect. Besides, after pressing down on the top cookie slightly, the best tool for smoothing out the edge became obvious: I gave the sandwich a big lick around its circumference, and voilÃ ! Instantly smooth edges.