Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cranberry-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

I've been really excited about cooking with cranberries, both fresh and dried, lately and was on the search for a dessert or scone recipe using cranberries when I came across this gem from King Arthur Flour, which I adapted just a bit to use whole wheat pastry flour. I often prefer whole wheat pastry flour because it retains the wonderful nutty flour of whole wheat flour, but has a light and delicate texture that is perfect in baked goods, pancakes, and waffles. These cookies are full of fruits, nuts, and whole grains (admittedly along with a healthy portion of butter and sugar) and are, most importantly, delicious!

Cranberry-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
adapted, slightly, from King Arthur Flour

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) trans-fat-free vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups (13 1/8 ounces) brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1 cup (4 ounces) dried cranberries, packed
1 cup (4 ounces) golden raisins
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped pecans or almonds
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups (11 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, shortening, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; then add the maple syrup. Stir in the fruit and nuts, then the flour, beating gently until well combined. Add the oats last, making sure they’re thoroughly distributed throughout the bowl.

3. Now, you can make these cookies three different sizes. A tablespoon cookie scoop will make traditional 2 ½" cookies. A heaped scoop of dough, using a tablespoon cookie scoop (3 tablespoons, about 2 ounces), will make 3 ¼" cookies. A muffin scoop (1/4 cup) will make big 4" cookies, suitable to wrap individually and sell at a bake sale. Drop balls of dough onto the prepared sheets, leaving about 2" between them. Bake the cookies until they’re just barely set on top–about 12 minutes for the small cookies, 13 to 14 minutes for the medium cookies, and 16 minutes for the large cookies. Remove them from the oven, and cool them on the baking sheets, or transfer them to a rack to cool. 
Yield: about 4 dozen small, 30 medium, or 2 dozen large cookies.

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