Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clear-the-Cupboard Oatmeal Cookies...Featuring Tropical Traditions Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Winter paid Texas one more visit this March weekend...temperatures have been in the 40s since yesterday, and it's been gray and rainy. It's perfect weather to stay inside and bake some that's exactly what I did this afternoon! Last week, I received a 32-ounce jar of organic virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions to try out in my kitchen. I've never cooked with coconut oil before, so I did some online research. I found out that coconut oil is a great substitute for butter when baking cookies, so I decided to jump in with both feet and give it a try. 

These cookies are my spin on an oatmeal cookie recipe that I found in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I recently bought. The cookie has peanut butter, raisins, and a double shot of oatmeal: rolled oats and Cheerios. I subbed crunchy peanut butter for smooth for texture, added a bit of pumpkin pie spice and shredded coconut, subbed some of the sugar for brown sugar, and used a combo of dried cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of raisins. Michael loves oatmeal cookies...and these are oatmeal cookies on steroids! They're full of flavors and textures...and they bake up perfectly: crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle.

Clear-the-Cupboard Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 2009 Annual Recipes

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/2 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter, 1/2 cup Tropical Traditions virgin organic coconut oil, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Mix on low speed until the mixture is combined. As you can see, coconut oil is semi-solid at room temperature, much like softened butter. NOTE: If you can't get your hands on coconut oil, use one stick of softened butter per the original recipe instead. 

Step 2:  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 1 large egg, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1 tbs. vanilla to the mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Then, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup rolled oats, and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated.

Step 3:  Add the following ingredients to the cookie dough: 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios, 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2/3 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the cookie dough. I found that clean hands are the best tool to do this job quickly!

Step 4:  Using a cookie scoop, place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the tops slightly before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are golden-brown. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through to ensure even cooking. This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies. Let each pan of cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to five days...if they last that long!

As you can see from the picture above, these cookies are fantastic with an ice-cold glass of milk! These cookies are crispy on the outside, but slightly chewy thanks to the brown sugar and oatmeal. I was very pleased with how nicely they baked up using the coconut oil! I wasn't sure if it would give the cookies a slight coconut flavor, so that's why I added a bit of coconut to the cookies. 

The coconut flavor is subtle, but it's a nice background flavor. These cookies actually have a lot going on: peanuts from the crunchy peanut butter, melted chocolate, chewy tart dried cranberries, and crunchy Cheerios...all held together by the oatmeal. Every bite is a different flavor and texture...and every bite is delicious! I hope you'll try these cookies for yourself...and to make it easier, I'm partnering with Tropical Traditions to give one of you a 32-ounce jar of organic virgin coconut oil. I'm doing this giveaway a little bit differently than usual, pay attention!

I started a new, improved Facebook page for The Weekend Gourmet last week, so this giveaway is my virtual housewarming party! To enter, please go to The Weekend Gourmet's official Facebook page. You will see a post from me announcing the giveaway. To enter, you will need to Like my Facebook page and leave a comment on that post telling me how you would use the coconut oil in your kitchen. I will accept entries until Tuesday at 1159 p.m., and the winner will be announce on my Facebook page on Wednesday morning. Good luck!

Disclosure: Tropical Traditions sent me a jar of their Organic Virgin Coconut Oil to sample. The opinions expressed in this post are all mine.

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