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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cranberry Maple Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Maple Oatmeal Cookies
 I am almost always guilty of waiting 'til the last minute to think up holiday baking and treats.  I have the best intentions...really, I do...but time? Time has other plans.  And they don't necessarily include me.  It's my choice whether or not to hop that train as it's blowing by me.

So when the car that read Twelve Weeks of Christmas Treats started rolling, I made that decision.  Oh sure, it took me a while to catch up.  I ran and I ran until I was near exhaustion.  And just as it looked as if I'd have to call it another "next year" goal, I gave it one last push and my fingers reached out and curled around that metal guard rail on the back.  And I hoisted myself up.  I did it!
Cranberry Maple Oatmeal Cookies
So while those first two weeks were spent running behind the train in hopes of catching up, I still have a good ten weeks to go.  And the goodies that myself and others will be stocking the holiday car with are for more than just Christmas.  I'm betting you'll find a fair deal of treats to last you throughout the entire holiday season.  Treats and sweets fit for the Thanksgiving table to the Christmas table and all way through the Hanukkah Feast.

Cranberry, Maple, and Oatmeal Cookies
Chewy oatmeal cookies sweetened with maple syrup and studded with toasted pecans and fresh cranberries.
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Cranberry Maple Oatmeal Cookies
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (per baking cycle)
Keywords: bake dessert cranberries nuts oats Christmas Thanksgiving cookie American fall winter

Ingredients (3½ - 4 dozen)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries
  • 1 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 325° F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. If your oven has two racks, place them in the top third and center positions.

Whisk together oats, flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, cream brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup on high speed. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Turn the mixer down to low and at the dry mixture until just combined. Gently stir in the pecans and cranberries.
cookie dough
Using 1 ounce (~2 tablespoon) scoops, drop dough onto prepared sheets leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Refrigerate remaining dough while first batch is baking.

Slide into preheated oven and bake until edges are lightly browned and cookies are still slightly soft, ~20 minutes. If baking on two racks at once, rotate sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling. Repeat until all dough is used up.

You can use 1 cup dried cranberries in place of the whole cranberries, if you wish, but this will make for a sweeter cookie.

For an extra kick of maple, try adding 1 teaspoon of maple extract to the batter when you add the egg and vanilla.

These cookies are not overly sweet and have great dimension from the chunks of toasty pecans and soft, slightly tart cranberries.

slightly adapted from Baking for Friends
Cranberry Maple Oatmeal Cookies