Oatmeal – Dark Chocolate – Cherry Cookies

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This is one of my two favorite discoveries from pastry school. The original formula, as it is called in the industry, is for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and makes a little over 13 pounds of cookie dough — professional yields, yo. I typically make just an 1/8th of that amount — about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

I treat this cookie formula as a starting point and seldom just use raisins, as written. Usually I play with the ingredients and do some combination any or all of the following: chocolate (white, milk, dark), fruit (often dried cranberries but occasionally dried blueberries or cherries or raisins), and/or nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.). Dark chocolate and cherries is a combination I’ve never done before but seems pretty obvious (and classic) in hindsight!

I originally bought dried bing cherries from Trader Joe’s to incorporate into my morning oatmeal — the appeal was that it was one of the few dried fruits I could find that did not contain any added sugar. But I found the flavor when eaten straight to be a little too Robitussin-like (perhaps cough medicine more naturally flavored than I had originally thought!) so I started looking for other ways to use them. The bittersweet chocolate chips are my go-to, Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. I like how they are flatter than the traditional Nestlé semi-sweet morsels, thus ensuring that every little bite is likely to end up with maximum chocolate flavor. The marriage of the bitter dark chocolate and brightly flavored cherries is wonderful. And thankfully, I no longer think of cough medicine when I taste the dried cherries.

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(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Muffins

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I was toying with making Carrot Cake a few weeks ago for Easter but ultimately shied away from it because I have been cutting down on refined sugar. But it got me thinking about carroty baked goods, like these Morning Glory Muffins from the King Arthur Flour site (the recipe can be found here). The author presents quite a few possible adaptations — for mine, I opted for golden raisins, white whole wheat flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, and wheat germ. Side note: I only soaked the raisins very briefly, for about 3 minutes.

Here are changes I made to the printed recipe after reading reviewers’ comments: I reduced the brown sugar to 1/3 cup and substituted 1/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce for 1/3 cup of the oil. I checked the baked muffins at 22 minutes (3 minutes early) and they were done. And finally, I got an additional 4 muffins out of the batter for a total yield of 16.

I love these muffins! The overall flavor is only lightly sweet but the little bursts of potent sweetness from the golden raisins really pack a punch. They are not light but are not doorstop-like either. And I can taste all the layers of flavor and the different textures– carrots, apple, raisins, walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, ginger. And I am especially gratified to not be eating something that’s cloyingly sweet or excessively oily.

Lastly, credit goes to my lovely husband (who’s perpetually mad fer it) for rechristening these (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? Muffins. 😍