|Concerts on the Square, Madison WI|
I don’t do much baking these days but when I do, it’s usually these cookies. I have to have people to share them with because I’m not able to stay out of the cookie jar, they’re that good! Today’s my opportunity as we’re having a picnic with family and friends. In the summer every Wednesday evening is an outdoor concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra held on the lawn of the Wisconsin State Capitol. It has been called “The Biggest Picnic of Summer.” It’s really a sight to see all the families and friends gathering around the Capitol lawn, having a fun summer evening.
I’ve posted this recipe a long time ago but thought I’d post again as it’s really one of my all-time favorite cookies. The combination of dark chocolate and dried cherries are amazing. I got this recipe from Cooks Illustrated. One thing I’ve learned from making recipes from Cooks illustrated is that if you follow the recipe that they worked very hard to get just right and it will turn out for you too. Their little tricks like measuring the ingredients, toasting the pecans for more nut flavor, or using cool butter so that the cookies hold their shape and don’t spread too thin. Also the timing on the mixing, one minute here and 30 seconds there, not to add to much air into the batter. So, if you follow the directions they’ll turn out perfect every time. Crispy, chewy, chocolate and cherry in every bite. They are worth every calorie!
1 1/4 (6 1/4 oz) cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter)
1 1/4 (3 1/2 oz) cups rolled oats, old-fashioned (not instant)
1 cup toasted pecans (4 ounces), chopped (*see note)
1 cup (5 oz) dried tart cherries (chop coarse *I leave them whole)
3/4 cup (4 oz) dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 (10 1/2 oz) cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. (325 convection)
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.
3. In a standing mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape sides of the bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Give dough final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Roll between palms into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (2 oz); stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet, flatten slightly spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake 12-15 minutes until cookies are light brown. Do not over bake.
5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Makes about 20 cookies
* To toast pecans place on cookie sheet and place in oven while preheating. When the oven reaches 350 pecans are toasted. Every oven heats up differently so keep a close eye not to burn nuts. Make sure they are cool before adding to the cookie batter!
* If chopping dried cherries, it works better if you freeze them slightly before.