Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This week I burned half the cookies.  They were black.  Oh so black.  I’m not sure what happened.  Was it that they were on the bottom oven shelf right below the bread stone?  Did I make them too big?  Was the parchment paper on the dark non-stick cookie sheet surface unsuitable? After baking weekly cookies for what feels like forever (but would probably only turn out to be a few months if I were actually keeping track), it was inevitable that something would go wrong eventually.  Here I am, baking new cookie recipes nearly every week, and yet somehow they always come out well.  More than well, absolutely-positively delicious!  Or at least this is what I tell myself as I stare at the pile of blackened cookies in the compost.

In case you were worried that chocolate oatmeal cookies are particularly difficult, they are not.  The second tray of cookies turned out just fine.  Better than fine.  They were of the absolutely-positively delicious category, the perfect blend of crunchy and gooey that I often find lacking in drop cookies.  I’m not sure what else I should have expected, given that the recipe came from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, my baking bible for all things chocolate.  Burning cookies does make one appreciate the art of recipe writing though.  If one is off by even a few minutes, what could have been a tempting chocolate morsel is nothing more than a nugget of bitter carbon.  A fine line between unbaked and burnt.  Maybe this is why I prefer my baked goods moist to the point of almost under-baked: they are simply safer that way.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts)
(Makes about 2 dozen cookies)
2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 2/3 ounces (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream the butter and sugar and then add the vanilla and egg.  Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder) in a separate bowl and add them to the wet ingredients.  Next add the milk and mix the rather soupy “dough” until smooth.  Finally, add the rolled oats.  Spoon the cookie dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Make the cookie dough balls small, slightly larger than the diameter of a quarter.  Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, but keep your eye on them, since the exact baking time will depend on the size of the cookies.

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