The kids stayed home on Thursday because the powers that be in this school district decided it was too cold out for the schools to be open. The day was supposed to be super cold, windy, and somewhat snowy.
I saw a few flakes meander by the window in the morning, but that was about it.
Since we were home, I decided lots of baking was in order. I figured I'd bake some bread (which I did) and some cookies.
Alex asked for chocolate chip.
I started looking through cookbooks, just to find a cookie recipe I hadn't tried yet. And I found my launching pad in the pages of The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree. Published by Wiley, this was a free copy I'd received within the last month or so, and I hadn't done much with it other than to look through the pages and drool occasionally.
Amy's Bread began in a former fish market in Hell's Kitchen in 1992 and has grown now to include two other retail locations besides the original location. Famous for both savory and sweet items, this book focuses on the cookies and cakes and pastries.
I found a recipe for "Kitchen Sink Cookies" which, as the name suggests, produces cookies packed to the gills with all sorts of chunks and chewy bites. I took the basic recipe and asked Alex what he might like in his cookies besides the chocolate chips. I told him his options and he chose pecans and dried cranberries. I used chocolate chunks instead of chips, and, ta-da! Alex's Cookies. I also chose not to make the enormous cookies Amy's recipes call for. Each recipe bakes a dozen large cookies or, in the case of the Kitchen Sink, two dozen. Large.
I have small children, with medium-sized mouths. Big eyes, but not as big bellies. I didn't want a mess of partially eaten cookies on my countertops. So I made small cookies.
If you'd like to follow the original recipe, you can find it on page 127 of The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread. Or you can email me if you'd like and I'll email it to you.
Here's the recipe for my variation on the Kitchen Sink cookies.
(The boy cracks me up.)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
And here's what you do...
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In one bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the chocolate, nuts and cranberries.
(It's nice when you have a helper.)
3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. (And if, like me, you're using brown sugar that's become semi rock-hard, you might want to use a food processor first.)
4. Combine the eggs and vanilla and add that to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Add in the flour mixture in stages, and be careful not to overmix. Stir together until the flour and other dry ingredients are just barely combined with the wet ingredients.
6. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate, pecans and cranberries.
7. Scoop out balls the size of a 2 tablespoon measure (If you don't have one of those, a very heaping tablespoon works fine.) and place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
8. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
They go well with milk.
Just ask Alex.