Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Mommy Care Package IV: Oatmeal Cranberry Sea Salt Cookies

You know how putting kale or broccoli on the dinner table always makes everything feel a little healthier (even if everything else is fried beyond recognition)? Well, putting oats in baked goods has basically the same effect. Plus, they add a nice texture that takes a reg'lar ol' cookie to the next level. And apparently they're good for lactation - who knew!

Knowing that I was going to visit ActressA and baby O, I was wondering what kind of snacky food might be good to take along. I was going to have dal and rice as an entree for them, so I was definitely on a "let's make this nutritious" kick. I found a couple of great inspiration recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart to start me down the right path, and ended up here:

Oatmeal Cranberry Prune Sea Salt Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp allspice powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup prunes
Sea salt to taste

As always with cookies, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice, and mix until well combined. Add in the baking soda and mix.

Add the flour into the sugar and spice mixture, mix until combined.

Stir in the oats, cranberries, and chopped prunes.

You might be wondering why the prunes? Well, as often happens, I begin a recipe with only a general inspiration in mind, then, when I'm half-way through, find out that I'm missing this or that in the ol' cupboard. I had the best of intentions, of course, and a faint glimmer of memory that told me that there should (surely!) be enough cranberries in the fridge, because I couldn't possibly have used them all. But alas. There was only a third of a cup of cranberries left, and really it seemed a little silly to leave everything kind of half-mixed sitting on the counter while I picked up some extra c-berries. Especially when a little packet of prunes was sitting right there, calling out to me, hinting at deep plum flavors and additional nutritional benefits! Especially since I started baking in the evening and getting out of pjs is so much harder than getting into them! Especially since I thought they might just taste more interesting too! And so. The prunes.

Chop them so they're roughly the size of the dried cranberries, and nobody will ever know any better. Ssh.

When the whole mixture is all stirred together, line cookies sheets with parchment and scoop out the dough onto them. You know what's coming next - I always find it best to chill the cookies while I heat the oven, because otherwise the already-warm butter causes them to spread out a little too much. So pop those cookie sheets into the fridge, warm up the oven to 350, and do something productive with your time. Since these were meant to go into a mommy care package, I scrounged around for ribbon. You might have other things in mind.

Just before you pop the cookies into the oven, sprinkle a teensy bit of sea salt on each cookie - really just a couple of flakes. I don't know what it is about sea salt, but it really does just make everything better.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove, let them cool a bit, and then move them over to cooling racks to cool all the way through. Gobble up.

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