Tuesday, December 1, 2009

‘Tis the season to be baking

December’s officially here, and holiday madness is about to kick into overdrive.
Trees are strapped to cars, lights are stapled to houses … seems like the perfect time to do some baking!

I’ve always liked the chewy nature of oatmeal cookies, but much prefer chocolate chips to raisins. I also had some dried cherries in the cabinet, so I decided to amp up my oatmeal cookies just a little more. Oatmeal cookies with gooey chocolate chips are always a treat, and the cherries add an extra zip that raisins might not provide. That, and they seem just a bit more festive than some silly ol’ dried out grapes.

Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Cherries
Adapted from a recipe off the back of a canister of Safeway Old-Fashioned Oats
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

Place oven racks in upper third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl, beating with electric mixer until fluffy before adding eggs, beating to mix thoroughly. Add flour, oats, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, mixing on low speed until blended. Add chocolate chips and dried cherries until incorporated.
Drop batter by the tablespoon about 1-1½ inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies appear golden brown but are still soft. Remove cookie sheets from oven, letting cookies stand for 2-3 minutes before moving them to cooking racks.

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