Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Father’s Day reminds me of the weekly Sunday drives I used to take with my Dad to visit my grandparents, NPR always filling the car. Upon arrival: a freshly baked tray of cookies.

But peanut butter also always reminds me of my father–it seems to be a mainstay in the kitchen, whether for sandwiches or a simple dollop straight from the spoon.

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And so, I tested out these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a recipe thanks to Tasty Kitchen and Two Peas and Their Pod. With no butter, these seemingly healthier cookies maintain a great chew thanks to the peanut butter and oatmeal. I used high-quality chocolate for extra oomph–a worthwhile decision. With few ingredients and batter that is hard to resist eating out of the bowl, I was pleased with their simplicity. To say the least, I am a fan.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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These remind me of the oatmeal raisin cookies I used to eat in my elementary school’s cafeteria. Except that these White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are so much better. There is still the spice and chew that was so familiar in the grade school version, but now there’s a hint of maple, tang from the dried cherries, and a healthy amount of sweet white chocolate. A childhood favorite, totally revamped.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

3/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a separate, larger bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and maple syrup. Beat until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just mixed. Fold in oatmeal, cherries, and white chocolate. 

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto lined sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges look golden. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to cookie rack. Image

Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I distinctly remember carving pumpkins as a child: the smell of the wet newspaper protecting the kitchen table, the rawness of your skin after hours digging around the orange goop, the sweet yet mild odor, the anticipation of putting a candle in the finished product, and the saltiness of baked pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin, like banana and applesauce, is moist and acts as a healthier binding agent in baked goods than butter or oil. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies use only a quarter cup of butter mixed with a quarter cup of pumpkin, making this recipe a great way to use up the rest of an opened can of pumpkin. Of course, with the sugar and the chocolate, these are still “treats.” But hey, everything in moderation, right? The oatmeal insures a true cookie dough texture, and the spices help bring out the autumn flavors.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Baking Bites

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, mix flour, powder, soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars until fluffy. Then add in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Slowly add in flour mix to wet mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes until edges turn golden. Allow to cool on sheet and then transfer to wire rack.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

One morning when I was little, I awoke with hives from an allergic reaction. This occurred right before a trip to the dentist to get several molars pulled. I desperately wanted to jump out of the chair in the dental office in order to scratch my skin, but instead I got injected with novocaine, temporarily blind-siding me from my intense itch. My binge drink the day before of ten boxes of Minute Maid Very Berry juice, which contained raspberry juice, was the only potential culprit of my allergy. To this day, I enjoy raspberries but in moderation.

Now, let’s focus in on these babies: Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. They remind me of Nutri-Grain bars, which subsequently reminds me of recess in elementary school. These are twenty times more delicious than the processed bars. Use the best raspberry (or apricot, strawberry, etc.) preserves you can find. The seedless type is the best, but ultimately you can use any preserves, so long as it tastes good when you swipe a spoonful out of the jar. The only change I would make to these bars would be to prepare more dry, oatmeal mixture to crumble on top. But, I can’t complain: these were out-of-this-world amazing.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tbs water

1 10oz. jar raspberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman”brand which worked out tremendously)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x12″ pan.

Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in large bowl until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Pour oil and water over oats and mix with fingers or spatula until evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture for topping. Press remainder in pan. Spread preserves on top. Sprinkle remaining oats on top. 

Bake until golden 30-40 minutes. 

Oatmeal-Appreciation Timeline

When I was little, I enjoyed the taste of raw instant oatmeal, without water. I also enjoyed cooked instant oatmeal, so long as it didn’t have any additional flavors or sugar. For some reason, I liked the slightly salty, considerably bland taste of plain old oatmeal.

I still eat oatmeal today, and I consider it to be a favorite breakfast of mine. I still like it plain, made with water instead of milk, though I have enjoyed the addition of brown sugar or cinnamon.

And now comes the next progression in my Oatmeal-Appreciation Timeline: Steel cut oatmeal. To some, this is the holy grail of oatmeal because it is more wholesome and less processed than regular oatmeal. Some find it too nutty or chewy. I find it somewhere right in between, both satisfying and textured. The only downside? Steel cut oatmeal can take a long time to properly cook. Usually preparations involve soaking the oats overnight.

But then, thanks to my aunt’s recommendation, the lengthy preparation problem was solved. Trader Joe’s sells frozen servings of brown sugar and maple syrup steel cut oatmeal. The only cooking you need to do is pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. It’s surprisingly delicious, not too sweet and not too nutty. The oats are nutritious, and even more so than regular oatmeal, they fill you up. That’s my kind of steel cut oats.