Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Gooey, sweet and amazingly satisfying

In middle and high school one of my best friends and I had this joke that she made fun of me for liking raisins and I made fun of her for not liking raisins. Last Christmas part of my present was a mini box of raisins, just to poke fun at our old joke. Funny thing is I really don't even like raisins anymore. The only time I'd really eat them is in an oatmeal cookie, and cranberries just do the trick a lot better.

And I know this blog is how we should be fat because we eat unhealthy things, and that these recipes are for the most part healthy (Rich and I even argued once that nachos would be perfectly healthy if there weren't chips because it's all vegetable, bean and cheese...), and now we're talking about somewhat healthy cookies. But I'm going to argue that in this case the healthy substitution actually makes the cookies taste better.

This is what two and a half pounds of dried cranberries looks like.

When we went to the store for ingredients I loaded up on the cranberries and Rich made fun of me. But we devour them between these cookies, my morning oatmeal and Rich helping himself while cooking. I admit going through the checkout line with almost six dollars worth of cranberries was a little much, but I do not regret having enough for two batches of cookies, weeks of breakfast and letting Rich dig in without worrying about running out.

3 cups Oatmeal
1 cup Cranberries (or, you know, a pound)
1/2 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Apple sauce (or butter, if you want a fat cookie)
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla

 I throw in a little extra of the brown sugar instead of the full white sugar amount.

Mix the apple sauce and sugars (real recipes call for a mixer, but I'm too lazy to clean one so I use a spoon). I get unsweetened apple sauce, but even with that and the cranberries you really don't have to put in the whole amount of sugar. In fact, getting sweetened apple sauce might just be too much.


Apple sauce is used as a direct butter replacement. Whatever the recipe calls for in butter, use apple sauce instead and you'll probably never know the difference. I use apple sauce in these and in banana cake and it makes them moister and more flavorful and not at all apple sauce-y. I do this all the time and no one has ever been able to tell and you practically eliminate the fat.

 Super awesome picture!

Egg drop! Eggs and vanilla go in together. Again, I always at least double the vanilla cause I love it. Spring for real vanilla. The good stuff is always worth it.

 This is only half the flour.

Next is the rest of the dry stuff: flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. If you're using a mixer you might want to do the flour in batches so as not to become clouded in white dust... mixers tend to spread this stuff around like mad, even on low settings. (Or maybe I'm just not that good with a mixer.)

 Nice 'n thick

Mix everything together really well until there are no lumps or uneven areas. Make sure the baking soda and salt were blended through the whole thing.

 Half and half

Add your oatmeal and cranberries!

Stir it up. 

Every now and then I'll get a cranberryless cookie and that's sad, so make sure you stir real well. This is also why we add extra cranberries: makes it impossible to not get a cranberry.

 Almost there...

This is what your dough should look like. Loaded with those juicy little suckers. Grab a couple of spoons and make little cookies!

Make evenly sized cookies

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. The real recipe says 8-10 minutes but the apple sauce makes them take a little longer to cook. However, they do get this beautiful golden almost-crisp on the outside and stay super moist inside.

This recipe makes 3 cookie sheets of medium cookies.

I use these guys as a pre-run fuel because the sugar and cranberries will give me that immediate burst of energy I need while the oats keep me going for a surprisingly long time. Two little cookies is all it takes to hold me over, and they aren't so much that I feel them in my stomach. And sometimes they're a post-run hold over when my real meal is delayed. That (and Rich) is why 3 dozen cookies don't last a week. 

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