Here it is Christmas Eve and I feel a creative streak coming on. What to do with those urges? I develop recipes! Don’t let Christmas go by without one more treat. Two of my favorite things, oatmeal cookies and chocolate have been on my mind so combining the two seemed like a natural. Since I lean to the savory side, adding salt and pepper to traditionally sweet treats makes me happy and adds a nice balance and another dimension or umami (essence of flavor). It is like a surprise party for your taste buds.
Indulge me a minute while I discuss ingredients. You have heard me say it before and it is worth repeating. QUALITY! I say this often in my classes, inferior ingredients result in inferior product. It is like they use to say about data entry. The outcome is only as good as the input. In other words, “garbage in, garbage out”. Many times I have received feedback from my students, mostly home cooks. I made your “xyz” recipe but it didn’t taste as good as yours. When I question them about it, it almost always comes down to the use of poor ingredients. For example, chocolate. Not all chocolate is the same. Many commercial brands actually contain very little chocolate. That is they contain a lot of sugar, milk powder or additives and very little cocoa. Never substitute cocoa mix (usually made for sweet hot chocolate drinks) for cocoa powder in recipes. For this recipe I used Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder. It is Dutch processed which means it is treated to help neutralize its natural acidity. I don’t mean to say this is the only quality brand around as there are others but I do want to emphasize using the best you can find. I ordered this online through a company called Culinary District.
That said, let’s get to the good part so we can start eating.
RECIPE Makes 4 dozen
2/3 c unsalted butter
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t baking powder
1/3 c cocoa powder (high quality)
1/2 t salt
1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
3 c old-fashioned oatmeal (2 1/2 c for mixture +1/2 c for toasting in butter with almonds)
1 T flaked sea salt (such as, Maldon’s) + more for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c slivered almonds
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the 2/3 c of butter. Set aside to cool a bit.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk and vanilla.
- Melt 2T of unsalted butter in a small skillet and add the almonds and 1/2 c of the oats. Stir until butter browns and nuts and oats turn golden. Be careful not to burn. Allow to cool slightly.
- Add the milk mixture and the 2/3 c of the melted butter to the sifted dry ingredients. Stir to fully incorporate.
- Stir in the 2 1/2 c of oats, the 1T of flaked sea salt and the ground black pepper.
- Add the toasted oats and almonds scraping the bottom of the skillet to get all the delicious brown butter. Mix well.
- Drop by tablespoon or small scoop onto prepared baking sheets. Top each cookie with a sprinkle of the flaked sea salt.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes (my oven took 14 minutes). Cool on rack.
- Enjoy and share to make lasting memories and smiles.
These beauties are a wonderful accompaniment to afternoon tea, great to share at your next potluck, welcome gift for neighbors and friends or just eat them for fun. Beware, they are addicting!
I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and many blessings throughout 2013. May you be surrounded by love, filled with peace and sated with your favorite culinary delights. This recipe is my gift to you. Maybe it can become one of your family traditions.
Sending love and gratitude for your faithful following, Queen Jeanne