Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Two Saturdays ago, A and I were feeling under the weather and had canceled our afternoon plans in favor of lying limply around the house. But first, I managed to drag myself to the kitchen and bake these easy cookies, and they made us supremely happy. I don’t care for white chocolate, and I usually prefer my oatmeal cookies on the soft side, but there’s something irresistible about these. The recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen, where Deb sums it up perfectly: “They’re crispy, but not because they’re hard or because they’re thin but because they practically hollow out when they bake, leaving you with this… shell of an oatmeal cookie with rich bits of white chocolate scattered about and the tiniest flaking of sea salt on top.” And oh, that salt is so so good, providing an excellent counterbalance to the sweetness of the white chocolate, as well as an excellent opportunity for me to use the fleur de sel I got for Christmas (thank you!). I won’t be throwing dark chocolate over for white chocolate anytime soon, but these cookies are well worth trying and are a unique addition to my repertoire.

I’m sure hand-chopped chunks of great-quality white chocolate would rock these cookies even harder, but I’ll admit I took the shortcut and used Trader Joe’s white chocolate chips. They contain cocoa butter, so they’re “real” white chocolate, and they taste good to me.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate bar, chopped (or non-artificial white chocolate chips)
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add the oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

3. Divide the dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between your palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2½ inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about a ¾-inch thickness.

4. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on each cookie.

5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Yield: 2 dozen
Time: 45 minutes

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