Chocolate and Mysteries: The Perfect Combination
Writing the Cookie House mystery series lets me indulge in two of my very favorite things: chocolate and mysteries. In the latest book, Sugar and Vice, pastry chef (and amateur sleuth) Kate McGuire bakes up several batches of delectable oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. This is the recipe that she (and I) use -- courtesy of Mark Bittman's cookbook classic How to Cook Everything The Basics.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Time: About 30 minutes
Makes: 3 to 4 dozen
About 1/2 pound chocolate -- preferably dark chocolate (or whatever kind you like to eat)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon pinch salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Chop the chocolate: Use a chef's knife with a rocking motion to cut the bars into pea-sized pieces. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
2. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs on a flat, hard surface, add them one at a time, and beat until well blended. (If you prefer stirring by hand, you can also start with a whisk for the butter, sugar and eggs — then switch to a rubber spatula to add the dry ingredients.)
3. Mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time, mixing on low. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla.
4. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds of dough about 3 inches apart in rows and columns on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before using a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks to finish cooling. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or two.
Recognizing doneness: Cookies are usually soft when they're ready to come out of the oven. The best way to check is to peek underneath and see if they're golden brown.
***Eve Calder is the author of the South Florida-based Cookie House mysteries from St. Martin's Press. Her new book, Sugar and Vice, mixes lost pirate treasure, missing relatives, and a diabolical murder plot -- plus a bakery full of delicious cookies. Visit her website at: https://cookiehousemysteries.com/