Cranberry-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies - Ann Mah | Ann Mah

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Cranberry-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

By Ann | March 26, 2013


I felt sure spring was coming because when I went to the Farmer’s Market this weekend I noticed the carrots had disappeared. True, there were Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, and other winter vegetables that don’t hail from Europe. True, I saw nary a flutter of asparagus, or strawberries, or — that American peculiarity — ramps. But the bright piles of my favorite snacking vegetable were gone. “It’s a sign!” I told my husband.

It was not a sign.

Yesterday it snowed in Washington — snow! — and it’s the last week of March. This weather-seasonal disconnect calls to mind another post from my first weeks in this town, which documented 86 degrees in October. Though I’m more settled here now — an official cell phone owner with a full cabinet of Indian spices — this place still doesn’t really feel like home. Perhaps that’s because I know we’ll be moving again, sooner rather than later (my husband’s career as a diplomat transfers us often) — or maybe I just need to accept that DC is not my soulmate, as much as I appreciate its locavore salad bars, earnest plastic bag fees and independent bookstores.

So, there. I’ve finally got it off my chest: I have not yet fallen in love with my new town. (That’s okay, right?) I have, however, fallen in love with the health food store down the street. It has a funny patchouli smell, and packages of earnest-looking food, and bulk bins of nuts, grains and dried fruit. I know you’re probably thinking: she loves the bulk bins? But I do, I really do. I love how you can scoop out the exact quantity you need — a half cup of pine nuts, a cup of quinoa — no waste, no leftovers. This weekend, I eyeballed out a cup of walnuts and a half cup of dried cranberries. Then I went home and unearthed the bag of wheat germ leftover from this salad, and set about making my favorite cookies.

cookie dough cooling cookies

The recipe comes from Once Upon A Tart… (ellipses not my own), a Soho café I once frequented as an impoverished New York editorial assistant. Back then, splurging on a lunchtime sandwich or slice of quiche from Once Upon a Fart… (as I like to call it) felt like a celebration. And the giant cookies, oh, the cookies — those were reserved for very special occasions, like Saturday afternoons after my husband (at the time my, um, boyfriend?) got his hair cut and we would meet at the café to share one. I loved almost everything about those cookies — the bits of tart cranberry and chunks of chocolate, the marvelous airy, chewy-crunchy, oat-y texture. But I didn’t love the size. They were too big. I like having my own cookie.

When I left New York, a friend gave me a wonderful present: Once Upon A Tart…’s cookbook. Over the years, I’ve adapted the carrot-chick pea salad and ginger peanut sauce into kitchen staples, but for some reason I’ve only made My Favorite Cookie once before (mainly because it calls for dried cranberries and wheat germ, both rather particular ingredients). But this weekend, when I saw the array of dried fruit in the bulk bin and remembered the nearly-full bag of wheat germ in my cupboard, I knew what to do. The cookies turned out just the way I remembered, satisfyingly chewy and crunchy at the same time, thanks to the wheat germ. (They burn in a flash, however, so be careful not to singe a batch like I did.) Best of all, I made them in my favorite size — small enough so you can eat them two at a time.

Cranberry-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Adapted from Once Upon a Tart…’s Cookbook
Makes 5 dozen cookies

“A great way to tell if cookies are done is to lift one up with a metal spatula,” the book says. “If it’s brown underneath, it’s done.” I wish I’d followed this advice.

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

To the wet ingredients, add the flour, wheat germ, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing them in a bit at a time. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, cranberries and nuts.

Drop 2-inch scoops of cookie dough onto a baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. (The dough spreads quite a bit.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown all over, and on the bottom. Don’t undercook, as they’re better crunchy. Don’t overcook, as we’ve discussed. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

cookie cache

Topics: Recettes, Washington DC | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Cranberry-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies”

  1. Camille Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Delicious! I really, really love a good oatmeal cookie. But this is the part where I admit I’ve never baked with wheat germ. What does it bring to the cookie – is it more for flavor or texture?

  2. CK Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Once Upon a Dot-Dot-Dot is great, even if the staff bustles you out after exactly 17 minutes at your table. Not very Parisian. But I guess that’s the way the cookie dot-dot-dot …

  3. Katy Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I have this book too, although I’ve made only the lentil soup from it; sometimes it’s revelatory to see what recipes another person will choose from a cookbook that you yourself carefully perused (somehow, it’s always one that you missed). These definitely sound tasty and soothing–a good reason to turn the oven on as winter lingers (no snow here, but lots of fog)…

  4. Voie de Vie Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Ok, I absolutely love cranberry and chocolate together, so if the vehicle is an oatmeal cookie, bring it on!

    Don’t feel too bad about not warming up to your new city – it’s difficult to find a soul in DC, if you know what I mean. I know I didn’t. Coming from Paris (in which you find the soul in about five minutes), this must truly be soul-culture shock. I liked DC well enough … but was thrilled to leave as well.

    C’est la vie. :) Keep buying from the bulk bins and just let life and cooking and writing happen.

  5. Anne Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Loving DC is not a requirement for living here; seeing the good parts, as you do, is a healthy strategy. And eating cookies never hurts.

  6. Jeanne Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 3:07 am

    It is perfectly okay not to love DC and it’s even better to be able to be honest. Considering the places you have lived it is not really a surprise. I think you are on the right track; finding things you do like, making delicious food and sharing the recipes.
    These cookies look delicious!

  7. Lindsey Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I feel like you were writing this just for me :) LOVE this cookie recipe, can’t wait to try it ! Next time you come through Paris, give me a heads up and I’ll make you some! And even if DC hasn’t won your heart, it sounds like you’re able to make the most of the little things in your surroundings that DO make you happy and that’s important. xx

  8. Ann Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Camille — The wheat germ adds a marvelous, airy texture. You can’t taste it, though!

    CK — Ah, yes, I forgot to mention the time they tried to kick us out after only 10 of our alloted 30 minutes!

    Katy — I’ve never even thought of trying the lentil soup! It is really fascinating to discover the recipes I’ve overlooked, which other people love. I’ll have to give yours a try while there’s still a chill in the air.

  9. Ann Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Voie de Vie — This cookie seems made for you! I’ll keep hitting the bulk bins. Thanks for the encouragement :)

    Anne — I like so many things, but we’re not a match made in heaven, alas. Then again, maybe cherry blossom season will change my mind. If it ever gets here!

    Jeanne — Thank you! I feel greatly absolved by this post and everyone’s kind words. Cookies will heal sins.

    Lindsey — I think you’ll love this recipe, since you’re a fan of wheat germ! Let me know if you try it — they’re special and different. And of course I’d NEVER say no to homemade cookies!

  10. thyme (sarah) Says:
    April 1st, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I completely understand your sentiments about D.C. I have the same love/hate relationship with Houston. And moving seems to require a 2 yr stay for me before anything feels like it fits or is settled. Houston has been a tough one for me. I have developed soft spots for ‘this’ and ‘that’ but overall…it’s a bit of a struggle. But, as many might agree, nothing those cookies won’t solve!

  11. Pat Says:
    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I love to experiment with new ingredints so bulk bins are a Godsend–I love them! For spices, flours, rices, etc. etc… DC does have it charms, it just takes awhile to discover them. You’ll soon find your “just-perfect-for-me” places … and then it’ll be time to go. Happens to me all the time :(. We’ll be back there at the end of April!

  12. Ann Says:
    April 3rd, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Thyme (Sarah) — It’s such a relief to find people who empathize with (and even share) my situation! Thank you for your message — and thank goodness for cookies!

    Pat — Ahhh, another bulk bin devotée! I think cherry blossom season will soften me to DC. I look forward to seeing you here soon!

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