|Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Toffee, Coconut, & Walnuts|
I've been on a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie kick lately (they're good for breakfast, you know), and while at the church grill out the other day, my family and friends all started throwing out ideas on what THEY like in their oatmeal cookies. Noah prefers chocolate chips over raisins. Sister-in-law Kelly suggested toffee, and her husband, Jaime wanted white chocolate and dried cranberries. Being the foodie that I am, I took this as a challenge, and went home to try a couple of these ideas out. I actually had all of those ingredients in my kitchen, believe it or not (well, the Craisins were blueberry flavored--not the best as far as I'm concerned), so I made a double batch of oatmeal raisin cookie dough, divided it into thirds, and mixed in other ingredients. This one is my favorite, so this is the one I'm posting.
One of the reasons I like this recipe is that the cookies are soooo soft, and they remain soft and fresh for days. Now, I'm a cookie snob, and I normally don't eat most cookies after day 2, but I will eat these on day 3 or 4. They stay THAT fresh. I think the secret is the pureed raisins. I didn't think these toffee cookies had a rasiny flavor at all; the pureed raisins just added the soft chewiness to them.
Now, these cookies are almost like a decadent chewy granola bar. You can definitely taste the coconut and toffee, and if you leave the toffee bits on the large side, you'll get a nice crunch from them. Mmmm...I'll definitely be making this cookie again.
If you decide to make these, and you're not afraid of boiling sugar, and you have a candy thermometer, I really recommend making your own toffee bits. The store-bought ones are teeny tiny, and you might not get the fantastic toffee crunch in your final cookie. They'll still taste good, I'm sure. They just won't be at their best. Enough said. Give them a try.
Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Toffee, Coconut, and Walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
2. Combine ½ cup raisins with hot water in a food processor and blend on high speed for about 1 minute or until very smooth.
3. Combine raisin puree with the vegetable shortening, butter, egg, brown sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pour dry mixture into the wet and mix just until combined. Stir in the toffee bits/chunks, coconut, and walnuts.
5. Roll 3-tablespoon-sized portions of dough in your hands and press to 1/2 –inch flat on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Leave about 1 ½ inches between dough discs.
6. Bake at 275°F for 18-20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
1. Line a square Pyrex pan (8X8) with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Set pan on a cooling rack or stovetop. (You will be pouring the lava hot sugar into this later, so you want to make sure it's on a heat-proof surface.)
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Stir in the chopped almonds, and immediately pour into the prepared pan. Allow to cool completely. If you're in a hurry, pull the parchment paper/foil out and place directly on a cooling rack. The glass pan retains heat and causes the toffee to cool more slowly.
3. When completely cool, break apart into about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.
You will probably end up with more than 1 cup of toffee in the end. Store the remaining bits in an air-tight container and use in another recipe or for ice cream topping, or just as it is.
|Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Craisins|
If you like the idea of the white chocolate & Craisin version, omit the toffee, coconut, and walnuts; and add 1 cup white chocolate chunks and 1/2 to 3/4 cup dried cranberries (aka Craisins).