A package of dried Bing cherries caught my eye at Trader Joe's over the weekend. Clipped neatly to a hanger that ran the length of the shelf, the ruby spheres looked, well, interesting. Desirable. Promising. Surely they'd add something special to a grain salad or batch of brownies (those marketing people know what they're doing). Into my cart they went.
I began leafing through Cindy Mushet's cookbook The Art & Soul of Baking when I got home. Buoyed by my recent success with her cream scone recipe, I was eager to try more of her creations. Is it merely coincidence that the book included a recipe for Cherry Oatmeal Cookies? Divine intervention? I don't know, but in less than an hour I had a batch of homemade goodness a coworker described as "the best cookie ever." I've already received a request to make them again for Halloween. Is there a Halloween party at work I don't know about?
The only change I made to the original recipe was to increase the amount of dried cherries and oatmeal in the dough — in my opinion, more cherries and more oatmeal make for a better cookie. If you want to follow the recipe as written, decrease the amounts listed below by 1/4 cup. According to the cookbook, this recipe makes about 50 cookies, but I ended up with 36. Okay, so I ate a few spoonfuls of raw dough (I couldn't help myself), but not 14 cookies worth. I swear.
Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking
Makes about 36 cookies
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to be certain the ingredients are evenly combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend well.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer at a low speed, combine the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oatmeal and dried cherries and mix until evenly combined.
Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to portion the dough, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once to ensure even cooking. The cookies should be cooled on a rack and may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.