Monday 5 November 2012

Beauty Comes from Within: Sexy-Ugly Hedgehog Cookies

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One of the BF's favorite kind of cookies is oatmeal chocolate chip, for which he'll hardly get a raised eyebrow from me: the toothsomeness of an oatmeal cookies with the sweetness of chocolate?  Obviously.  I myself am a fan of the good old oatmeal raisin as well, but the more people I poll, the more I feel like this cookie has unfairly fallen out of favor.  Alas, poor oatmeal raisin... well, more for me!

Anyway, when I went to visit the BF in Boston a few weekends ago, I planned on bringing him some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but for some reason (I guess because, really, I wanted to eat them), I went with my gram's chocolate chip shortbread cookies instead.  He was never any the wiser, and those cookies are the bomb, so I didn't feel too guilty.  I did, however, find myself craving them the following week (I suppose the idea had planted and refused to let go!), and as I was going to have some girlfriends over for dinner – and needed to make some cookies to mail to a friend for his birthday – I had an excuse to make them.

I started out just planning to make the average oatmeal cookie recipe, minus the spices and with chocolate chips instead of raisins, but then I decided I really wanted some nuttiness in there, so I added pecans.  I'd also used dark brown sugar, because I love the molassesy flavor, so the dough was really dark.  When they came out of the oven, I lamented their unprettiness for about one second before biting into one and deciding that beauty really is on the inside – I ate three that night (thank goodness the BF came back a week ago and I'm no longer left to my own devices where self-control is concerned; I clearly need an audience)!

I served these to the girls with the explanation that they were 'sexy-ugly' – they tasted better than they looked.  The girls all agreed, and then my friend M, who is a total genius and often comes out with vocabulary gems that she brushes off as no big deal, said they kind of looked like hedgehogs.  They totally did!  Dark brown, pokey and bumpy, and kind of round (this was the first batch, where I'd just plopped them on the baking sheet without concern for shaping) – I could definitely see it.

So for the next batch (I kept the dough in the fridge for a day and made a few batches, to spare myself the cookie overload), I tweaked one edge of each cookie before baking, just to tease out the hedgehog resemblance a bit, and when they came out I must admit I was well chuffed.  To the point that I went a little overboard and tried (relatively unsuccessfully) to create a little woodland scene for the photoshoot:

It was a silly endeavor, but a fun one, and the most important take-away from this experiment was the recipe: pecans, dark brown sugar, oats, and chocolate make for a really tasty cookie.  It'll certainly be one of my favorites from now on (and the cute name doesn't hurt one bit)!

Hedgehog Cookies
     adapted from The Joy of Cooking's oatmeal raisin cookie recipe
NB: I halved this recipe but the measurements looked too weird in writing so I'm transcribing the original measurements here (which makes about 4 dozen cookies)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C and line two baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
     1 3/4 c flour
     3/4 teaspoon baking soda
     3/4 teaspoon baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat until well blended:
     1 c (225g) butter, rm temp
     1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
     1/4 c white sugar
     2 eggs
     2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir in the flour mixture, then stir in:
     2 c chocolate chips
     1 c pecans
     3 c rolled whole oats

Shape Tbsp-sized drops of dough into hedgehogs (basically just blobs that are pointy at one end) on the baking sheets, then bake one sheet at a time for 10-14 minutes, until the cookies are no longer shiny (they're already brown when raw, because of the dark brown sugar).  Let them rest on the baking sheets for a minute or two before removing them to cool on a rack.

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