Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars.

That title is a mouthful

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of delicious.

Sometimes, I expect myself to give lengthy, eloquent blog posts. Here’s a story, let’s have a laugh or poignant moment, now let me tie it into a baked good and tell you why you should bake and then consume it.

By “sometimes”, I mean “usually.” And by “usually,” I mean “always.”

I’ve never been very succinct.

I’m giving myself a break, a mental break. I know that if you’ve stumbled down the page this far, you’ll probably like the recipe. These bars are dense, thick, satisfying, comforting. Let them be a rainy-day treat, enjoyed with a cup of tea by an open window, or a sweet square to slow down your crazy mornings.

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Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes an 8×8 pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mini pretzels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. As the dough begins to come together, slowly add the milk and mix until the dough forms.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Press into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pretzels on top of the dough, pressing in lightly. Bake for about 17-20 minutes, until edges are brown. Cool completely and cut into squares. Devour.
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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, revisited.

[PSA: Wordless Wednesdays has moved to currently unnamed Friday in honor of this recipe.]

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Hi, my name is Cakey, and I’m perpetually five years old.

I like to make messes. I like to play with the bubbles in the sink when I wash dishes. This weekend, I bought two coloring books. Last week, I ordered chicken strips for dinner with friends. When I was at a boy’s house, he asked what I wanted to drink – of course, I asked for a juice box. Part of me still wants to scream when I sit down in the dentist’s chair. A very large part of me.

Eventually, adult mode kicks in – flour is swept up, Anna Karenina is opened & read, and yes, please, I would like a side salad.

Oh, and packing for school happens.

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It’s that time of year again, when all my friends leave for college, leaving a week between me having friends and me heading back to campus. Thus, separation anxiety sets in, sadness ensues, and my oven mysteriously turns on.

I went back to the start to revisit one of my very first recipes. Kathryn & I baked it with the idea of sending some of it to a boy. Strangely enough, I baked it again this time with the same intention, for the same boy who is once again going to be six hours away from me for a few months. C’est la vie.

At least this time he’s fully aware of the intention behind the banana bread. I’m twice as alluring when I’m holding a freshly baked loaf of one of his favorite foods.

Feminine wiles, indeed.

Enough of the romance mush. Allow me to turn your attention to banana mush instead.

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I made a few more tweaks from the recipe I originally adapted from the great Joy the Baker, although very few. There seem to be varying opinions on the addition of vanilla extract to banana bread – this time, I added it to deepen the sweetness of the bananas. Self-control is null and void when it comes to vanilla.

Happy accident! My four pound Nestle chocolate chip bag (finally) ran out, leaving me with no choice but to chop up some dark chocolate sitting in my fridge. Chopped chocolate is, to me, more aesthetically pleasing than

This has become an all-butter/no oil recipe. A lot of bakers like using oil in breads and muffins to keep them moist (hold up, I hate that word with a passion. Unfortunately, it’s the only one that conveys what I’m trying to say), but then you miss out on the flavor the butter gives.

Finally, I added a crumble. Banana bread covered in sugar, oatmeal, and walnuts makes it a little more special.

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It’s as spectacular as it was before, only better. Do I contradict myself? (Very well, then I contradict myself.) This is probably the best banana bread you’ll ever eat – the perfect balance of sweet banana, smooth peanut butter, and just enough chocolate to round it out.

I’m still five years old when I make this bread, considering I had to taste-test it. Several times. This might’ve fueled my recent child-like spontaneity.

Embrace your inner child.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (printable recipe here)
makes 1 loaf pan (can use a cake pan or muffin tin)
originally from Joy the Baker
adapted from yours truly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 4 medium) mashed oh-so-very ripe* bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Optional oat-nut topping

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and melted butter.
  4. Beat in eggs, then sugars, until mixture is smooth.
  5. Barely fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until the mixture is mostly combined but a few flour streaks still remain. Fold in chocolate and nuts.
  6. If desired, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, walnuts, and oats for oat-nut topping. Set aside.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking pan; sprinkle with oat-nut topping or brown sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Invert loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely. Devour.

*NOTE: If your bananas aren’t yet ripe but you’re craving banana bread anyways, place them (skins still ON) on a baking sheet and stick them in a 350 degree F oven for about 35 minutes. The peels will turn black, but the inside will be ripe and sweet (and very easy to mash). Proceed with recipe.

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Black banana peels, mmmmm.

 

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Hey, you! Yes, you! What do you think of my tweaks – unnecessary or delicious? Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe or add-in of your own?

Mini Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups.

Guess who got off work two hours earlier than planned? This girl. Thus, a celebratory blog post. This one’s been sitting in my drafts for a while – now, voila.

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I’ve noticed I do a lot of things in life “just because”. My lips don’t need a reason to be coated in red lipstick. Why am I driving barefoot? Because I can. I’ll go through chapters of a book reading upside down; I’ve been known to buy random gifts for people months away from their birthday or any holidays simply because.

That’s how most of my baking seems to be – just because. Because it’s Tuesday. Because the sun is shining. Because I need to use up this bag of coconut coconut. Because I have a few hours to kill.

So on & so forth.

When I was browning the butter for these, my father walked in the kitchen and asked what I was doing.

“Browning butter,” I replied. Obviously.

He paused for a minute, looking into my pan, and said, “Oh, you mean, burning it. Cool.”

Burning butter? I guess so.

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Hypothetical conversation:

“What are these?”

“Burned butter cookie cups! Here, try one!”

“Ohh…um…no thanks. I’m allergic to…um…burned things.”

“No, they’re good, I swear!”

Right. There’s a reason it’s called browned butter.

This was my first time browning butter. I’ve heard a lot of fuss about it but never got around to doing it, mostly for fear of ruining it. Yet, for as many times I’ve used the stove, I’ve never burned down a building, so I tried it. Goodness, browning the butter makes these cookie cups sing! Photographing them was horrendous; with my face hovering directly over the cups, it took all my self-control (what little I possess) to not stuff every single one of them into my mouth.

It’s smooth sailing after the butter is browned. Don’t be intimidated by this “browned butter” talk, by the way (isn’t that fun to say? Browned butter, browned butter, browned butter!). Browning butter is nothing more than leaving the butter in the pan on the stove longer than you usually would if you were merely melting it, which causes it to turn brown and smell nutty and fragrant. And beautiful.

Hey, you don’t even need to tablespoon out the dough! Muffin pans really are convenient.

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The final product is thick & ooey-gooey-chewy-delicious. Ridiculously delicious. Never-ending summer delicious. 12-hour-hard-sleep-after-a-long-week delicious. Brand-new-hardcover-book delicious. Melt-your-face-off-delicious.

You can’t tell from the photos, but the wrappers have pictures of muffins on them. And “muffins” is scrawled all over them, multiple times.

See? Cookie cups in muffin tins in muffin wrappers declaring their contents to be muffins, just because I can.

Make these. Make them because it’s Tuesday and Tuesdays are neither popular nor hated. Make them because you want the satisfaction of burning something that ends up tasting really, really good. Make them because you are fearless and have really fabulous hair.

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Make them because you deserve to be good to yourself.

Mini Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups (printable recipe here!)
from Averie Cooks
makes 36 mini cookie cups or 12 normal-sized cookie cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned (see directions)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a mini-muffin pan, or line with mini muffin liners. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet or sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter turns brown and fragrant (butter will melt and foam, then turn from clear to golden to brown). Remove pan from burner and continue to stir for about one minute.
  3. Poor butter into large mixing bowl and allow to cool momentarily to prevent the egg from scrambling. Stir in egg, sugars, and vanilla.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until just combined (a few flour streaks is okay). Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon dough equally into mini-muffin cavities. Bake for about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Allow cookies to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Devour. (They will keep for about a week at room temperature or 3 months in the freezer.)

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

This is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Not only was this my first time using the ice cream maker that’s been sitting in our basement for a year, but it was my first time ever making homemade ice cream and the first I’d even touched a vanilla bean.

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It felt like a literal recipe for disaster. It felt like diving blindfolded into an ocean infested with sharks with open wounds. It felt like sword-fighting a pirate with one arm tied behind my back and an inch of wood beneath my feet. It felt like…well, you get the picture.

That aside, the world didn’t end. Yes, it was a struggle. There was a little bit of screaming, a little bit of lip-biting, and a good many frustrated sighs.

I’m not selling this recipe very well, am I?

But look at you. You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth – yet there’s that upturned chin, that grin of impetuous youth. Oh, I believe in you. (Whoops, I have How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on the brain! The whole musical is on my iPod. Hee hee.)

Really, though, I believe in you. If I can handle this, so can you.

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Truly, in retrospect, it wasn’t bad at all. Making food brings out the perfectionist in me almost more than any other activity, especially when dealing with long direction lists and expensive ingredients like vanilla beans.

(Admittedly, I am a disgusting perfectionist to a fault. To. A. Fault.)

Here’s a run-down (along with additional commentary mostly based on the things I muttered to myself under my breath). After combining the milk and heavy cream (also known as heavy whipping cream) in a sauce pan (see, that’s easy!), you take the vanilla bean, use the sharp tip of a knife to slice it open lengthwise down the middle, and scrape out the little black seeds into the pan with the milk and cream. Don’t forget to add the pod in, too! After you bring it to a boil, let it simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Take a breather. Do some jumping jacks. Feed your cat.

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When the time for simmering is nearly up, beat the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until thick and smooth. The egg yolks will make it incredibly thick. Gently pour in one cup of the hot milk liquid in with the eggs, mix it together, and return it to the sauce pan. Don’t cry when you spill. Stir, stir, stir. Ah, yes, success! It’s starting to look like ice cream. And smell like ice cream. Except it’s not quite ice cream. Yet. Patience.

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(You can’t tell, but I was using a Winnie the Pooh measuring cup. And proud of it.)

Once it’s really thick, transfer it to a bowl and let it come down to room temperature before adding the vanilla extract to ensure the best flavor. From there, allow it to chill completely – up to 6 hours – before allowing the ice cream maker to do its thing.

Thus, one mental breakdown, lots of shouting, many drips, and an infinite number of hours later (ok, maybe only 24 hours)…

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Literally the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. The creamiest, the tastiest, the sweetest, the most flavorful – just the best. Vanilla bean ice cream is my favorite to begin with, but this is a whole new level of yum. Beautiful little vanilla bean flecks, although virtually undetectable when going on feel alone, are the key to turning (or should I say churning?) this frozen treat from good to great.

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All that stress for nothing.

You’d think I’d have learned by now.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (printable recipe here!)
from the Cuisinart’s Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker recipe booklet
makes about 14-1/2 cup servings

[NOTE: Keep in mind that most ice cream maker freezing bowls need to be frozen for up to 24 hours before you make your ice cream, or at least the amount of time it takes to completely freeze the coolant liquid. The maker won’t do its thing unless the bowl is completely frozen.
You can substitute a lower-fat milk for the whole milk (I used 2% since I couldn’t find whole milk) or half-and-half for heavy cream. Keep in mind that this will change the texture and taste of your ice cream.]

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine the milk and cream in a medium sauce pan. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise; use the blunt edge to scrape out the seeds into the sauce pan with the milk and cream. Stir in the bean pod as well.
  2. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently (but not constantly).
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Using a mixer, beat on medium speed (about 2 minutes) until the mixture is smooth, thick, and pale yellow, similar to mayonnaise.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk/cream mixture; discard. Measure out one cup of the hot liquid. With the mixer on low speed, pour the liquid into the egg mixture in a slow stream.
  5. When thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan; stir to combine with the remnants of the cream.
  6. Cook, stirring constantly, on medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla extract. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard; chill completely.
  7. Once chilled, pour the custard into the freezer bowl, turn the machine on, and let mix until thickened, approximately 25-30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refirgerator. Remove from the freezer and allow to warm at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving. Devour.

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Apple Strawberry Nut Baked Oatmeal.

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My mom’s birthday was last weekend, so I promised to make her some sort of breakfast. Unfortunately, we left early that morning for the Windy City, and that didn’t allow for time to actually make anything decent beyond “here, I poured you a birthday bowl of cereal!”. Thus it was decided we’d have a nice breakfast/brunch on the 4th of July when we’d all be home and not rushing about.

Baked oatmeal seems to be quite the thing nowadays, something I’ve never gotten around to making since all the members of my family are never in the house at breakfast time. Plus, I’m usually so impatient in the mornings to eat, any attempt at making something taking more than 10 minutes might send me into a grumpy-morning rage.

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Anyways. Baked oatmeal is incredibly easy, especially if you’re using pre-cut/dried fruit, and incredibly versatile. And incredibly delicious. Still discernibly oatmeal, yes, but definitely different from instant or stove-top. It’s almost like a breakfast cake (real cake for breakfast is better, of course, but not every morning. A sugar crash during the middle of the work day would not be very profitable) – a little crunchy on the top, soft and warm in the middle.

Before this, I had no idea how you actually made baked oatmeal – clearly, putting something in the oven was involved, but beyond that, je ne savais pas. Upon finding a recipe, I really liked layering some fruit at the bottom, covering it with oats, and pouring the milk on top. I’m such a child – drizzling the milk was my favorite part.

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Can you blame me?

Another funny thing: I had no idea what cutting apples “crosswise” meant, so I just sliced them up like that. Unfortunately, crosswise is a lot prettier than slicing.

This is a great dish for breakfast or brunch, and as previously mentioned, super versatile. If you don’t have (or want) strawberries, replace them with other fresh or frozen berries, bananas, other fruits, dried fruits. Any nut works well, too – I’m just partial to whole almonds, and walnuts are my mom’s favorite. Do yourself a favor and toast the nuts!

Wonderful warm from the oven and topped with more milk or yogurt.

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I accidentally asked my mom if she wanted ice cream on hers.

(I meant yogurt, I swear.)

Apple Strawberry Nut Baked Oatmeal (printable recipe here!)
slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/01/03/apple-cinnamon-raisin-walnut-baked-oatmeal/)

[NOTE: to toast nuts, spread them evenly on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring at least twice, until nuts are brown and fragrant.]

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted (chopped, slivered, or whole)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large Gala apple, cored and cut crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced and divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, ¼ cup of the walnuts, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together milk, maple syrup, egg, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and vanilla extract.
  4. Arrange sliced apples in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of the strawberries over the apples. Pour the oat mixture on top of the fruit, spreading with a spoon to ensure the fruit is evenly covered.
  5. Drizzle milk mixture over the top of the oats. Sprinkle remaining walnuts, almonds, and strawberries on top.
  6. Bake for 37 to 45 minutes, until top is golden brown and oatmeal is set. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon (or more, if desired) of melted butter on top. Devour. (Can be reheated and devoured another day! Or for lunch.)

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Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins.

[All right, I know this recipe was promised to be published yesterday, but I was having major Internet issues. Now that it’s all taken care of…]

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I will try to make this coherent. It’s been a long, long week. Today was probably the longest day of my life.

Strawberries are my favorite fruit, which is why I’m always reluctant to use them in baked goods for fear of ruining their wonderful flavor and juiciness. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

All right, that was a little dramatic. The parental units made an unannounced trip to our farmer’s market without first informing me and returned with a few of those little green crates that house freshly picked strawberries. Two days later, however, there was still a full crate left in the fridge (apparently, my family likes to buy food and see how they aesthetically compliment the vegetables, yogurt containers, etc. instead of, oh, I dunno, actually eating it) and I just happened to have a get-together with some of my friends that evening that involved food sharing.

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Thus, to prevent disaster from striking, enter the heroes of this story: my mini-muffin pan and this recipe. You might remember how much I adore this pan from my previous mini muffin post. Whenever an opportunity arises to fill these little tins with muffin batter, I spring at the chance. And off I went, taking no survivors, diving fearlessly into the prospect of the collision of white chocolate and strawberries nestled in a sweet muffin.

It suffices to say I was crazy not to use strawberries earlier in baking. It also suffices to say that “good” is not sufficient enough an adjective for these mini muffins. They’re light, fluffy, sweet, and have I mentioned yummy? (I’m not too old to say that, right?) I smell more in my future.

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Since I used fresh strawberries, I have no idea how frozen ones would work with this. Try that at your own risk. Before I stirred in the strawberries, I patted them dry – well, at least, comparably drier – between two paper towels to remove the excess moisture to nix any excess water. And when I say “do not overmix”, I mean it! Go crazy whisking the dry ingredients, cream the heck outta that butter and sugar, but when it comes to mixing it all together, mix only until combined, otherwise your mini muffins will become mini bricks or mini lead cups. Mmmm. Don’t omit the almond extract either, unless you can help it! Almond extract is one of my favorite things to use in baking, and it really adds to these.

If you don’t like white chocolate, use mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Or whatever else you desire. The world is your muffin liner.

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It’s the weekend. Treat yourself and the ones you love. And remember, they’re small, so it’s ok to eat two. Or five.

Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins (printable version here!)
adapted from from A Recipe a Day
m
akes 36 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • additional sugar for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a mini-muffin pan with liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg; mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed butter mixture. Stir in extracts. Do not overmix!
  5. Gently stir in strawberries and white chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin tins. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack. Devour.

Crispy Oatmeal Pecan Butterscotch Chip Cookies.

[Alternately, Crispy Oatmeal Pecan Triple Chip Cookies.

Or Half-Burned Oatmeal Pecan Triple Chip Cookies.]

use II

Do you ever have those times when you think you’re doing something very, very well, which makes you proud of yourself and suddenly you feel invincible…only to find out later that you weren’t as great as you thought you were?

…that’s what happened with the photographs I took of these cookies. Oh, and the fact that I burned half of them. Oh, and the fact that most of them hopelessly stuck to the bottom of the pans.

Sigh.

It could be worse. It could’ve been a thesis or a big project at work. I could’ve broken one of my great-great-great-grandmother’s vases. I could’ve accidentally bought a plethora of items I thought were on sale but weren’t. I mean, that still doesn’t erase the let-down, but I do feel a little better about myself.

use also

Thankfully, the recipient of these semi-disastrous cookies was none other than my father, the man who has never once refused a baked good from me. With a smile on his face and suddenly a possessor of infinite patience, he would eat anything I made for him without a complaint or critique – whether it was an ice cream “sundae” doused in sprinkles, stale cookies, and weird, edible, red gel, or a burnt, soggy pie. I know I’ve disappointed him in many ways, but my cooking has never been one of them.

Butterscotch cookies, or oatmeal scotchies, are one of his favorite foods. Not just any oatmeal scotchies, though – crisp, crunchy ones. In all my nineteen years of living, I’ve heard hundreds of variations on a phrase he always says: “Cookies are meant to be crunchy, cake is supposed to be soft.” Soft cookies bought from the store are always met with an eye-rolling; cookies in the windows of bakeries are always ignored for their lack of crispy edges.

With Father’s Day weekend here and a small amount of butterscotch chips remaining in the cupboard, I decided to make these for the man who would eat anything I presented him from the heart.

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Since I didn’t have enough butterscotch chips left, I added in some white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, along with a few pecans for extra flavor. More granulated sugar and less brown sugar is one of the secrets of making these crispy.

My final product wasn’t perfect. No, they’re nowhere near perfect, considering a fourth of them have (nearly) black bottoms and another fourth are crumbs. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter that much, because my dad had two of them before the second batch was even out of the oven. Then he told me, with excitement in his eyes, they were fantastic and had another one. With praise like that, who needs perfection?

Whether your dad likes soft or crunchy cookies, brownies or blondies, cake or pie, do something special for him. Appreciate him. Go out of your way to love him.

eh

Even if things fall apart a little.

Crispy Oatmeal Pecan Butterscotch Chip Cookies
adapted from Nestle

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (I used a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips OR 1 cup butterscotch chips + 2/3 cup other chips (I used white and semi-sweet)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and extracts; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add flour to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Stir in oats, chips, and pecans.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Devour.