I have a few food rules. For example, Food Rule No. 4,375 is that sweets should not contain nuts. Nuts are for snacking and salads and savory main dishes. Unless nuts are appearing in a noncrunchy butter form, they have no place in brownies, cookies, cake, or ice cream. Am I right or am I right?
I am wrong. When the lovely Elisa offered me one of her oatmeal cookies over Labor Day weekend in the Adirondacks, I took one to be polite. I took another because I felt sorry for her, and I ate a third and fourth because I didn't want her to beat me up. I e-mailed her later and asked for the recipe because I was doing some no-nuts-in-cookies-related research and needed the recipe for data-collection purposes.
This past week when I decided a good fall cookie might be the perfect antidote to the chill in the air and 4:30 p.m. sunset, I though of Elisa's C3OWs, as they were named by a fellow researcher over Labor Day weekend. They're heartier than your run-of-the-mill Tollhouse but still deliciously chocolaty and not too nutty, and the dried cranberries give them a nice tang.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
¾ cup of sweetened, dried cranberries
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Then stir into the creamed mixture until just blended.
5. Mix in the quick oats, cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
6. Put heaping spoonfuls of cookie dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
7. Bake for 12-17 minutes (depending on the oven). Cool on a baking rack until ready to eat.
Food Rule No. 789: Follow directions when baking. The baking time and temperature here seemed off to me—after 17 minutes at 325 the cookies didn't appear browned enough, so I left them in the oven, and they ended up being too crispy. Next I tried baking them at 350; these browned, but were a little dry. Finally I followed the directions: The cookies were not brown on the bottom and seemed a little undercooked when I took them out after ~17 minutes at 325 but were perfect—delicious warm and still soft when they cooled.
Happy fall to me.