Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies with Blackstrap Molasses and Bourbon. Sweet cookies for complex palates.
I’ve said this a million times on this blog, but I don’t have the most attuned sweet tooth. Oftentimes sweet treats are just too one note for me, and they’re almost always too sweet. There are of course exceptions. I’ll devour anything with caramel or burnt sugar. Same with cherry or lemon desserts and anything with a savory shot of booze. In fact liquor is the best way (in my opinion) to keep just about any sweet treat from becoming too cloying. Oh, and pie. I never met a pie I couldn’t look straight in the eye.
Still there are plenty of desserts I just won’t touch. Marshmallows make my teeth hurt. Cupcakes are way too cute, Chocolate Chip Cookies usually make me yawn, and Angel Food Cake is always just too dry to bother choking down. Always. Well, almost always. Angel Food Cake can be saved by a big dollop of boozed up fruit– as long you don’t eat the cake.
Oatmeal cookies however fall into a different category altogether. Whether they are crisp-edged and barely flecked with nubby oats, or densely packed, fist-sized pillows of contrasting tastes and textures. Oatmeal cookies transcend dessert. They make great sandwiches when stuffed with mascarpone-cream or homemade chocolate gelato. They shine with simple ingredients like raisins and nuts, but have enough panache to balance bold flavors like toasted coconut, or even the most exotic spices. My mom made a buttery, toasted toffee version doused with enough cinnamon to make your tongue burn. So when I make cookies just to enjoy at home (ie not for the blog) I usually choose some variation of oatmeal cookie, and I don’t use a recipe. It’s hard to screw up an oatmeal cookie.
Actually, truth be told, it’s hard to screw up cookies– period. The key to cookie success is memorizing their essential proportion: one stick of butter to one cup of flour with one (optional) egg and about a teaspoon of leavening. Add to that some sugar. Any kind is fine. Use powdered, brown, granulated, maple, turbinado or palm sugar. You can even use fake sugar. Add as much or as little as you like, but my experience tells me 1/3 to 2/3 cup is about right. Salt is also variable, add it to taste, but don’t skip it. Once you’ve built this base you can let your creativity go wild.
I started with Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies and then turned to my pantry for further inspiration. The results are these Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies with Blackstrap Molasses and Bourbon that I’ll be guaranteed to eat. GREG
Hint: When I make Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies (or any cookie with additional dry ingredients like oatmeal) I’ll often add a splash of milk or other liquid to adjust the consistency, for a cakier texture an extra egg works too. This is not always necessary with other types of cookies.