Improvising Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last Thursday Mr. Mountain Man enlisted my assistance in baking cookies for his backpacking trip this past weekend.  Alton Brown is possibly his favorite cook and for the cookies he selected Mr. Brown’s “Oatiest Oatmeal Cookie” recipe.  These cookies have no wheat flour, just rolled oats, half of which are ground into a flour-like substance.  They were delicious: they came out as big, somewhat chewy but mostly crispy, thin rounds of buttery, sugary goodness.

However, I thought they could be improved upon with some chocolate and maybe some fiber in the form of ground flax.  I like to add flax meal anywhere I can!  So, on Saturday afternoon I decided to experiment with the recipe.

The original recipe:

1 lb rolled oats, toasted in oven at 375 for 20 minutes or so, one half the oats pulverized in food processor

10 oz unsalted butter (2 and 1/2 sticks)

6 oz (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar

3.5 oz (1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp) white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt (we increased this to about 1/2 tsp)

The directions are pretty simple.  After toasting the oats and then pulverizing half to a flour-like powder in the food processor, add the salt, cinnamon and baking powder to the oat “flour” and pulse a few times.

In mixing bowl, cream the sugars and butter together. Then beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the “flour” in batches and then gently fold in the oats.

Bake in a 375 degree oven.  Baking times vary based on cookie size and number, but Mr. Mountain Man’s and mine were both averaging 10-12 minutes.

That recipe, as I mentioned, made a yummy cookie.  But I wanted my chocolate!  So here’s what I added:

1.  At the time of adding the oat “flour” I also threw in about 1/4-1/3 cup each of wheat germ and ground flax seed.

2. At the time of adding the oats, I also added about 3/4 a bag of Ghiradelli 60% Cocoa chocolate chips

The cookies came out somewhat thinner, much lacier, and unfortunately, a little more fragile than I would like. The taste was really good too.  Yet, it was not the cookie I had envisioned.  I need to figure out how to make them a little sturdier and not quite as rich.  I was going to “quasi-healthy” and this was not that.

After baking a few batches, I decided to try adding some cake flour to the remaining dough to see if I could make the cookie less fragile.  So, in the spirit of exploration I haphazardly tossed in an unknown amount of cake flour, mixed it up and baked the rest.  The result was definitely sturdier and thicker.  But somehow the buttery richness seemed even more noticeable in these.

Next time I might try more oats, maybe some whole wheat flour, an extra egg white, and maybe a little less butter and sugar. Suggestions?

Also, if you have any good oatmeal-chocolate chip-high fiber cookie recipes, please let me know!

In the meantime, I cannot complain about the crispy thin, buttery, chocolate-dotted goodness of this batch.

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