Happiness Project #29: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Surprise Cookies!

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Wow! What a crazy, beautiful, wondrous whirlwind these past 7 months have been. After two major surgeries, countless hospital stays and unexpected visits to the ER, there’s one thing I’ve found most prevalent: my baby girl makes it all worth it. With every little smile, every big giggle, every tiny reaching hand, this little girl is my everything. She is the meaning of everything good and heroic in this world. She is the meaning of love. My love. And even though being a new Mom means temporarily sacrificing some of my own favorite things, like baking and blogging, I wouldn’t have it any other way. She makes it all so very, very worth it.

So to celebrate returning to the midnight land of baking and blogging, I’m thrilled to be posting this newish cookie recipe. Chocked full of all the yummy things a heart could most desire. You want Peanut Butter? Check! And Oatmeal? You got it! What about some Chocolate? Yes. Please. Then this, my friends, is the cookie for you! A cookie, that in all likelihood, may be the mother of all party cookies. Especially for all of the kids in your life (or those who are big kids at heart). Now some might say that having a cookie studded so liberally with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips AND chocolate M&M’s might be just a tad overkill. I, however, think not. This is one of THOSE cookies that will have everyone around you begging for more. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 granulated sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour *substitute with gluten free flour if preferred*

3/4 cup quick (cooking) oats *substitute with gluten free quick oats if preferred*

1/2 cup M&M’s

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Firstly & most importantly, preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. If you haven’t yet experienced the wonder of a Silpat baking mat, then get yourself over to your neighborhood baking supply store (Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sur La Table etc..) and get one! They are a bakers godsend! Trust me!

In a large bowl, by hand or stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and both sugars until light & fluffy. Mix in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract until well mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary (to prevent lumps from forming in the batter). Slowly add in the baking soda and flour, for a minute or two at your mixers lowest setting, until just incorporated. Using a wooden or plastic spatula, fold in the quick oats, M&M’s, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Roll the dough, either by hand or cookie scoop, into 2 to 3  inch balls and line them up on each cookie sheet. Pop them into the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes: around 9 minutes for a softer cookie or 10 minutes for a slightly firmer cookie. I like a little bit of both so I tend to bake mine for 9-1/2 minutes.

After retrieving them from the oven, let them set up a bit more on the cookie sheet for another 5 minutes before gently transferring them to a cooling rack. Store in a airtight container for up to 5 days for maximum freshness. Or you can do what I always do, and eat them all, then and there. That’s the whole fun of baking after all, right? *wink*

Happy Baking, my friends! Hopefully, I’ll be back very soon with another stealthy recipe to share!

*Recipe adapted from sally’s baking addiction

Happiness Project Recipe #16: Honey-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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The funny thing about near constant nausea & ones inability to get any real sleep at night because of it, is how it makes you yearn for things you don’t usually have cravings for. Point in case, I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal. Be it bars, cereal or cookies, oatmeal is just NOT my thing. I like my classic peanut butter. Or chunky chocolate chip. Case closed. Until now. Thanks to Martha Stewart, the cookie monster (within me) has awoken! And is hungry. Very, very hungry. Fortunately, for a few short hours, my roller coaster of a body decided to slow down enough for me to take a well earned breather. So, as usual, where was the first place I headed to? The kitchen. I wanted my cookies & I wanted them now! Got it? Good!

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup honey crunch wheat germ (I found a glass jar of this at Target)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 cup raisins (for oatmeal raisin cookies)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Stir together the oats, honey wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

Mix your butter and sugars (granulated & brown) in a bowl on your electric mixer until pale & fluffy (about 4-5 minutes).  Mix in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated. After reducing your mixing speed to low, gradually add in the oat mixture until just combined. Stir in your chocolate chips or raisins by hand.

Using either a small ice cream scoop or gently rolling by hand, drop dough balls onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, placing them a good 2 inches apart (for expansion).

Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden & just set. Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. You can store your cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days (so eat them now!)

Moral of the story? If I can get my cookies this easily, then you can too! Happy baking, my friends!

* Recipe adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Cookies.”

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