Great Granola Comes From Home


There’s nothing to compare to homemade granola. On a recent trip, we were treated to such in Leavenworth, which inspired me to take a swing at it when we got home. Here’s what I came up with.

The backbone of most granola is oats, which, let’s face it, aren’t super exciting. As such, it pays to make sure you use fresh stuff. Everything in this mix will impact the intensity and range of flavor for the finished product – tweaking a thing or two can yield quite different results – change honey to maple syrup,  pecans to walnuts, almonds to pepitas, cinnamon to allspice, lemon rind to dried cranberries or raisins, and so on – it’s your canvas, so paint a starry night, man…

In parentheses below, I show what I used – you tweak from there.

Urban’s Best Granola

4 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 ½ Cups Raw Nuts &/or Seeds (pecans and almonds)

¾ Cup Dried Fruit (dried orange and lemon peel)

½ Cup Canola or Avocado Oil

½ Cup Raw Honey (or maple syrup, or agave nectar – you could use as little as 1/4 cup – the granola will turn out fine)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ teaspoon Sea Salt (Fine Grain)

½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Set an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 350° F.

Line a heavy, rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

if you wish, now is the time to heat a skillet over medium and toast the nuts – not critical, but if you like the flavor note, go for it.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt and cinnamon – stir with a mixing spoon to fully incorporate.

In a smaller mixing bowl, combine oil, honey, and vanilla. Whisk briskly with a fork to thoroughly incorporate, then pour over the dry mix.

Use your mixing spoon to thoroughly coat the dry mix with the wet blend – take your time and make sure it’s a thorough job, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour granola unto the lined baking sheet and spread evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir granola and spread back out evenly. If you prefer your granola chunky, don’t stir, just use the back of the spoon to press it down tighter.

Bake for another 10-20 minutes, depending on how dark you like your granola – it should, at the least, be golden brown and fragrant, (your kitchen is gonna smell A-Mazing!)

Pull granola from oven and set the pan on the stove top to cool, undisturbed, for 45-60 minutes, and leave it undisturbed.

Pour the cooled granola back into a large mixing bowl, add the dried fruit, (and/or anything else you dig to make it yours – chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc), stir with a big spoon to thoroughly incorporate.

Store in airtight glass, (preferably), or a zip lock bag. Best practice is to freeze it – it’ll stay much fresher, and you need only pull some out and let it rest at room temp for 5-10 minutes before chowing down.

You can munch on it plain, turn it into trail mix, enjoy it with milk, or for the Full Monty, add Greek yogurt and a dollop of fruit curd or preserves – that’s heaven in a bowl!

Nutrition:

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Fat: 13.9 g

Calories: 292

Saturated Fat: 1.5g

Sodium: 60mg

Fiber: 8.7g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Carbohydrate: 40.3g

Sugar: 10.7g

Trans Fat: 0g

Protein: 5.2g

Calcium 27mg

Iron 2mg

Potassium 19mg

Source: urbanmonique.com

Clafoutis, or Flaugnarde, or whatever


Heres another fave of ours that’s perfect for this time of year, when berries and stone fruit are at their prime. Clafoutis, (clah foo tee), hails from the Limousin region of central France – they’re delicious and incredibly easy to make. Clafoutis are one of the most versatile desserts I know of, and super easy to make.

This is a very old creation, around in some form since fire and flour found each other. A big deal dessert in the 1800s, they spread across Europe, taking advantage of whatever favorite fruit was ripe locally. The classic Limousin version is made with unpitted cherries, but frankly, that’s a tradition I can do without – if, as claimed, the stones add a certain je ne sais quoi to the dish, I say just bake the thing in clay and keep your dental work intact.

The basic ingredients are pretty much what you’d use to make pancakes, and not too far off from custard or Yorkshire pudding, yet clafoutis is unique. Cherries are just the starting point – berries, plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches are all stellar, and in the fall, apples and pears are too, (how about an apple and extra sharp cheddar version?). Nuts go great with many of those fruit options – The traditional version uses almonds, but hazelnuts, cashews and walnuts are all solid bets.

Since this is a famous regional French dish, I do have to point out that calling anything made with fruit other than cherries a clafoutis is pas correct, because, well – it’s not – That would be a flaugnarde, (Flûn-yard). Yes, it’s exactly the same thing with different fruit – and yes, it’s nitpicky, but hey – now you have two cool French words to flash while making a delicious dessert.

I’ve done the recipe we’ll share with a bunch of different things, and varied the fruit content from 2 to almost 3 cups – while the latter versions were obviously, well, fruitier, they all were delicious and baked up just fine. If you pump up the fruit ratio, add baking time, and you’ll be fine. That’s another lovely aspect of the dish – you can eyeball things after making a few of these, which makes it a perfect last minute dessert.

You’ll note that there are no leavening agents in the dish. Just as with a pancake or a Yorkshire pudding, you want to get some air into the batter – small bubbles get trapped in the lattice of flour, sugar, and egg and expand as the dish bakes, giving you an admirable rise – from maybe an inch deep as batter, you’ll easily top a 2.5” baking dish when it’s done. Julia Child used a blender to do this, and advocated spreading a little batter over the bottom of the baking pan and cooking that a bit before adding fruit, nuts, etc. I love Julia with all my heart, but this is in essence a peasant dish, and you needn’t go to all that trouble – an immersion blender does a fabulous job and is much easier to clean. I tried the thin layer pre-cook, and frankly found zero appreciable difference from skipping that step.

NOTES:

1. All purpose flour is your best choice – it’s got the right amount of protein/gluten to make a nice stretchy batter happen.

2. If you live where you can get Rainier cherries in season, there is no finer dessert on this earth.

Urban Clafoutis / Flaugnarde

2 – 2 1/2 Cups fresh Fruit

3 large Eggs

1 Cup Whole Milk

2/3 Cup Bakers Sugar

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Tablespoon Honey

3 Tablespoons Nuts

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract (or liqueur)

Pinch of Salt.

2 Tablespoons Turbinado Sugar

Measure out milk and leave out at room temp – same with the eggs.

Preheat oven to 350° F and set a rack in the middle slot.

Lightly butter a baking dish, (anything around 10” x 7” or 11” x 8” works great).

Add a tablespoon of flour to the dish and tap it around to lightly coat the butter. Turn the pan over the sink and tap out any excess flour.

Pit any stone fruit. Cherries can stay whole, as can berries – rough chop larger fruit.

Rough chop nuts – if you have raw, a quick toast in a hot skillet until they turn golden brown and fragrant is a nice touch.

Combine sugar and honey with the eggs, and whisk to a smooth blend.

Add flour and salt to the wet mix and whisk to thoroughly incorporate.

Add the milk, vanilla and almond extract, and whisk smooth.

Process the batter with a stick blender for about a minute, until lots of small bubbles form.

Scatter fruit and toasted nuts over the bottom of the baking pan.

Pour the batter over the fruit and nuts.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° and sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the top of the dish.

Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the top of the clafoutis or flaugnarde, or whatever you wanna call it is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.

It beats the heck outa granola bars for breakfast the next day, if any of it survives that long.

A Paean to the Galette


Summer is here, and with it comes the glory of fresh berries. Strawberries are in full swing, blueberries too. Blackberries are flowering, raspberries are coming on fast. When they’re done, apples and grapes and pears will arrive. It’s time, then, for a paean to the galette, not only the easiest, but arguably the most delicious vehicle for all that bounty. And as fate would have it, galettes are stupid simple to make. 

Berry Galette

Galette is an old northern French word, specifically Breton, and while it literally means wafer, it’s come to mean a flat cake or pastry for a long time now – Since the 1300s or so. The Breton version, (one of the oldest), is a buckwheat crepe filled with Emmental cheese, ham, and a fried egg, and it’s freakin’ delicious. Nowadays, both sweet and savory galettes are gaining popularity, which is wonderful news – Given the bounty of garden season, it’s the perfect time to look into these little beasties. 

Breton Galette

Galettes are still expressed as crepes in France, but elsewhere they’re more often goodies wrapped in a pastry crust of some kind. Therein lies the key to the beauty and simplicity of the thing – Stupid simple, as I noted above – All we’re doing here is plopping a bunch of good things in the middle of a sheet of dough, and then folding the edges up so that everything stays put. It looks great, it works, it’s delicious, and you can easily create one as a last minute afterthought – What more could a cook ask for? A galette can be anything from a couple of ingredients to a complex dance of flavors, so they’re not only versatile, they’re great for cleaning out pantry and fridge. Damn near anything goes well baked into a good crust, from berries and stone fruit to cheeses and root veggies.

Alright, so let’s address the stupid simple concept – My real baker friends are gonna cringe at this one, so – sorry, but… Fact is, I keep store bought pie crust, puff pastry, and filo in house at all times. Why? First and foremost, because they’re not all bad – Check labels, and you’ll find plenty of options that are clean. Consumer concern over artificial ingredients has hit this market, and there are plenty of products out there made with good stuff, and they taste pretty good too. Is this option your first choice? Depends – if you’re short on time and want to build something quickly and simply, it may be. If you have a little time and prefer scratch made, (and you always should if you have a little time), then maybe not. Options equal flexibility, and that’s always good. If my Sister, a seriously good cook and cookbook author, has the same in her kitchen, then I’m 100% comfortable with this option. For the record, one of the galette images you see here is store bought dough, and one isn’t – Can you pick out which is which?

On the other hand, making a pie crust from scratch will take about an hour for most of us, and at least half of that is resting time – It’s not a lot of work, ingredients, or trouble, and you’ll get wonderful results. I’ll offer my two favorite variants on method and ingredients, one made with butter and one with lard.

Simple as they are, there’s a few thing to keep in mind when building galettes. Neither your dough nor your filling should be wet. As such, what you use needs to be moist enough to end up tender and flaky, but not too much so, lest it end up a sodden mess. If your dough looks and feels a bit crumbly when you’re rolling it out, that’s fine – Much better that than dough sticking to the pin. Thickness is important too – a galette should be on the thin side of things, but not too thin – 1/8” is just right, so go for that and you’ll be a happy camper. Just keep in mind that 1/8” isn’t very thick in the big picture view, and don’t allow your galette to get overdone – golden brown is what you’re after – not well done toast.

Likewise, your fillings simply cannot be soupy, or even close – If they are, than any caution you applied to your doughs consistency will be for naught. The arrowroot (or cornstarch if that’s what you’ve got) in the recipes will help with this to a good degree nonetheless, avoid overripe, mushy fruit or veggies. If your fruit is lovely, but just bursting with juice, dust the top of your crust with a thin, additional layer of Wondra flour – It’s great stuff for sucking up excess juice. And keep an eye on the ratio of filling to crust – What you’ve got inside can’t be so voluminous that it wants to sneak out over your crust folds. Ratios are considered in the recipes, but every batch of this and that is different, so be vigilant.

Alright, so crust first. Here are the two options I really like and really use.

Vodka Pie Crust – This is brilliant really. The substitution of alcohol for water isn’t there to be sexy, it’s done because the vodka adds moisture to the dough – when it’s baked, booze evaporates faster than water, which leads to a tender, flaky crust pretty much every time. The booze is all cooked off, FYI, so there’s no proof to your galette. You can use other alcohols if you do want a subtle flavor note – Bourbon, rum, gin, and tequila all are great options. 

Vodka Butter Pie Crust

2 1/2 Cups Pastry flour

8 Ounces Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)

1/4 Cup Ice Cold Vodka

1/4 Cup Ice Cold Water

1 teaspoon Salt

Pre-measure vodka and water (together, of course), and let them chill in the freezer for about 15 – 20 minutes prior to processing.

Cut butter into roughly 1/4” cubes, then shove the cut butter into the freezer with your vodka and water to chill again.

Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Toss the butter cubes into the flour mix and work quickly and smoothly by hand, reducing each chunk of butter to roughly pea size, making sure they’re all well coated with flour.

Add half the water and vodka to the dry mix and blend it in by hand.

Add half the remaining vodka and water and work that into the dough.

Now grab a golf ball size hunk of dough and give it a good squish. If it’s not holding together well, add a couple of tablespoons more vodka and water and work that in, then give it another test. 

Remember, you don’t want galette dough too wet, so lean a bit to the dry side. One thing I can tell you from years working in a bakery is that dough is different every day – This is why I like working it by hand.

Once you’ve got a dough that’s holding together well but isn’t sticky, divide it into two equal balls, wrap it in parchment or waxed paper, and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When the rest is done, pull out a dough ball and set it between sheets of waxed paper or parchment. Squish the dough down to a flattish disk about 6” across.

Roll the dough out to close to an even 1/8”.

Send the dough back to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to go, transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment and load up your galette.

Your other dough ball can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. Any longer than that and you should freeze it, wrapped tightly into parchment or waxed paper, and then a layer of metal foil – It’ll be good for 3-4 weeks done up like that.

Some folks swear by lard, and I’m one of them. There is a distinct caveat here though, and that’s that we’re talking about really good lard – Not the block of shit that comes from most grocery stores – A hydrogenated abomination that tastes like… well never mind. What you want is fresh leaf lard, and with the resurgence of butcher shops and carnicerias throughout the land, it can indeed be had. Check around you, see if you have such a place, call them and see if they make and sell leaf lard. If you have that, you’ve got gold. You can also use shortening for this version if you wish – Some folks like that too.

Lard or Shortening Pie Crust

2 1/2 Cups Pastry flour

1 Cup Leaf Lard

5+ Tablespoons Water

1 teaspoon Salt

Cut lard into roughly 1/4” cubes and then chill it, along with your water.

Sift flour and salt in to a large mixing bowl.

Toss the lard cubes into the flour mix and work quickly and smoothly by hand, reducing each chunk of butter to roughly one size and making sure they’re all well coated with flour.

When you’re there, add 4 tablespoons of ice cold water and blend it in.

Now grab a golf ball size hunk of dough and give it a good squish. If it’s not holding together well, add another tablespoon of water and work that in, then give it another test. Keep that going until you hit a consistency that holds together well and isn’t sticky.

Remember, you don’t want galette dough too wet, so lean a bit to the dry side. One thing I can tell you from years working in a bakery is that dough is different every day – This is why I like working it by hand.

Divide your dough into two equal balls, wrap it in parchment or waxed paper, and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When the rest is done, pull out a dough ball and set it between sheets of waxed paper or parchment. Squish the dough down to a flattish disk about 6” across.

Roll the dough out to close as you can to an even 1/8”.

Send the dough back to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to go, transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment and load up your galette.

Your other dough ball can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. Any longer than that and you should freeze it, wrapped tightly into parchment or waxed paper, and then a layer of metal foil – It’ll be good for 3-4 weeks done up like that.

Berry Galette

Berry Galette

I’ve found this recipe to work with damn near any berry – Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, Marion – They all do really nicely with this blend and ratios.

1 Pound fresh Berries

1/4 Cup local Honey (or Agave nectar)

2 Tablespoons Arrowroot

1 small Lemon

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Purée (or good quality extract)

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Turbinado Sugar

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

Pinch Salt

Zest lemon and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice.

In a non-reactive mixing bowl, combine berries, honey, lemon juice, arrowroot, vanilla, and salt, mix gently but well to fully incorporate.

Crack your egg into a small bowl, add a tablespoon of cold water and whisk to mix thoroughly. You’ll need a pastry brush to apply this, or finger tips if you don’t have one.

Roll a crust out to about 1/8” thickness per above directions. You want a circle about 8” to 9” across.

Lay the rolled dough out on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Spoon the berry mixture onto the middle of the dough, no more than an inch or so thick, leaving 1 1/2” to 2” of dough clear around the edges.

Grab a dough edge and fold it up over the filling a bit. Move left or right as you please and grab another edge of dough. You’re going to fold that slightly over the last one – Dab a little egg wash into that fold to help things stick.

Berry Galettes

Keep going in this manner – Fold a little dough edge up, stick it to its neighbor, and move on. You’ll end up with a galette roughly 6” to 7” around.

Brush the egg was onto all the exposed dough, then sprinkle the turbinado sugar on the dough.

Cut butter into roughly 1/8” dots and sprinkle those over the exposed berries.

Sprinkle the lemon zest over the berries.

Bake on a middle rack, at 375° F for 25 to 35 minutes, until the galette dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling nicely.

Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

Berry Galettes

Devour.

Savory Galette

Here’s a fave savory version for you to try as well. Filling and baking process is the same as for sweet galettes.

Roasted Potato & Cheddar Galette

2 Medium Yellow Potatoes

1/2 Cup Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

2 large Eggs

3-4 sprigs fresh Cilantro

2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon Lemon Thyme

1 teaspoon granulated Garlic

1 teaspoon granulated Onion

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

Salt

Fresh ground Pepper

Set a rack to a middle position and preheat oven to 375° F.

Pour a little oil on a paper towel and lightly grease a baking pan.

Cut potatoes into roughly 1/4” thick disks.

Toss the potato rounds into a large mixing bowl, then add the oil, garlic, onion, and a couple pinches of salt, with a few twists of pepper. Toss everything by hand to get the potato rounds well coated with oil and seasoning.

Arrange potato rounds on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake potatoes until they’re almost fork tender, (kinda al dente) – About 12 to 15 minutes.

Chifonade cut cilantro.

Remove spuds from the oven and sprinkle them with the lemon thyme, then let them cool enough to handle.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk to scramble.

Grate cheddar.

Line a baking pan with parchment.

Roll out a roughly 8” to 9” circle of pie dough (see above for recipes), and transfer to the parchment lined baking pan.

Brush egg wash onto the exposed side of the dough.

Add a layer of spud disks to the dough, leaving 1 1/2” to 2” of dough bare.

Brush the spuds generously with the egg wash.

Add a layer of grated cheese, and about half the cilantro.

Add remaining spuds and cheese and cilantro in a second layer.

Brush egg was onto the second layer.

Grab a dough edge and fold it up over the filling a bit. Move left or right as you please and grab another edge of dough. You’re going to fold that slightly over the last one – Dab a little egg wash into that fold to help things stick.

Keep going in this manner – Fold a little dough edge up, stick it to its neighbor, and move on. You’ll end up with a galette roughly 6” to 7” around.

Brush the egg wash onto all the exposed dough.

Bake until the dough is golden brown and the filling is bubbling nicely, about 15 – 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

If it were me, I’d throw an over easy egg on top of my slice…

Le Quiche Lorraine Authentique


On the morning after Christmas, with the temperature in single digits, 8” of snow on the ground, and a north wind howling away at 40 knots, I got a hankering for quiche. I’ve written about and done up hundreds of recipes over the years, so I was indeed surprised to find only my legendary Potato Crusted Quiche in my recipe files.

How could I have gone this long without writing about the first iteration of this dish to storm America, the Quiche Lorraine?

Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine

First, a bit of history is in order for quiche in general and the Lorraine version in particular. Bien sur, even though France broadly claims the dish, what we know as quiche came from Germany back in the sixteenth century, from the region that was called Lothringen and is now Lorraine. In all fairness, this region has changed sides more than a few times, so the French must be forgiven this most reasonable appropriation.

Lorraine Region of France

What is a quiche Lorraine, then? Go there, (and truth be told across much of France), and what you’ll get is a one short-crust pie filled with a rich, savory custard and smoky, local bacon or ham. The seasoning will be salt, pepper, and a hint of freshly grated nutmeg.

So where did the version that stormed America come from – the one with the bacon or ham, plus Gruyère cheese, sautéed onions, and the same seasonings? The short answer is, right there, over time.

See, the region in question has also been called Alsace-Lorraine, even if France wants to call them Lorraine and Alsace-Moselle nowadays. Add onions to a quiche Lorraine, you get a quiche Alsacienne, me comprenez-vous?

The cheese came later, but also from the same region. Even though we’re told that Gruyère or Swiss are the proper cheese options for a Lorraine, right there they make Comté, also known as Gruyère de Comté. What this means is, you’ve got options.

Gruyère de Compté

For this and any quiche, there are steps you need to take to consistently produce a non-watery pie with a perfect, custardy filling – they’re outlined below, in detail. Also, just between us? You can also just buy a damn pre-made crust – truth be told, it ain’t like anybody’s gonna know, right?

Quiche Lorraine

For the Crust –

2 Cups Pastry Flour

1/2 Cup cold Butter, diced

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

6 – 8 Tablespoons Ice Cold Water

Crust Prep

Remember; great pie dough is simple and minimally handled.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients by hand or with a pastry knife until it resembles rough corn meal in texture.

Add the water a tablespoon at a time and stir the dough with a fork.

When the dough holds together as a ball, but isn’t wet or sticky, stop messing with it, cover it in a mixing bowl refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Pull your dough and hand form it into a disk about 3/4″ thick, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface, into a 12” circle roughly 1/8″ thick.

Lift an edge and carefully peel the dough free, then drape it onto a dry 9″ pie pan.

Trim the dough with a paring knife, leaving it about 1″ over the edge, then tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge on the pan, and treat it as you see fit, (I like the classic thumb print myself).

Preheat your oven to 400° F, and position racks in the center position.
Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie dough and fill with dried beans or pie weights.

Blind bake the crust on the center rack for 15 minutes, then remove to the stove top.

Remove pie weights and parchment from crust and set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temp to 350° F.

For the Filling –

1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk

1/2 Cup Crème Fraîche, Mexican Crema, Buttermilk, or Sour Cream

4 fresh Eggs

4 Ounces Smoked Bacon or Ham, (European style is best)

1 Cup Gruyère, Comté, or Swiss Cheese

1/2 Cup Onion

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg

6-8 twists freshly ground Black Pepper

5-6 shakes Tabasco sauce

Prepare your mise en place.

Portion milk and whatever sour cream variant you use and bring eggs out of the fridge as well – let them sit at room temp while you work on everything else.

Dice bacon or ham and cheese into roughly 1/4” squares.

Fine dice or thinly slice onion, as you prefer.

In a heavy sauté pan over medium heat, add the ham or bacon and fry until you have nice, crispy lardons, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer meat back to mixing bowl.

Reserve about a tablespoon of fat from the fried pork and add the onions to the sauté pan – cook until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Scatter cheese, bacon or ham, and onions evenly across the par baked crust.

In a mixing bowl, combine milk, sour cream, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Tabasco. Pulse with a stick blender until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.

Pour the custard carefully over the cheese, meat, and onions.

Carefully slide the quiche into a middle rack spot and bake at 350° F until the top has puffed up and is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove quiche from oven and allow a 5 to 10 minute rest before devouring.

It’s great for dinner with a nice green salad and glass of wine, too, by the way.

Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate & Peanut Cookies


For some reason, I’ve been making desserts lately, and baking a fair percentage of those. Maybe it’s winter, maybe it’s SAD, maybe it’s the holidays – who cares?
Anyway, I came up with these, because I like the ingredients – they come out thin, with crunchy edges, a little sweet, a little salty, a little bitter note from the dark chocolate, and chewy from oatmeal. Maybe I should call them a breakfast cookie – coffee, anyone?

Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate & Peanut Cookies

Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate & Peanut Cookies
1 Cup Pastry Flour
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
3/4 Cup Cocktail Peanuts
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Mexican Cane Sugar
1/4 Cup Half & Half
6 Ounces Unsalted Butter
1 Large Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Purée
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
Have butter and egg at room temperature prior to starting prep.
Heat oven to 350° F, and position a rack in the middle slot.
Line two heavy baking sheets with silicone mats (or parchment)
Combine flour, baking soda and powder, and salt, and sift into a small mixing bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars and butter.
Add the egg to the butter and sugar mix, and whisk to thoroughly incorporate.
Add cream and vanilla to the wet mix and whisk to thoroughly incorporate.
Add the dry mix and gently stir to thoroughly incorporate.
Add rolled oats, chocolate chips, and peanuts, and use a spatula to thoroughly incorporate.
Use a small soup spoon to spoon a roughly 2 tablespoon ball of dough and drop onto the baking sheet.
Repeat, maintaining about 2” of spacing between cookies.
Bake a single sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Pull cookies from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, and of course, sample some before then, to make sure they don’t suck.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days, like any will survive that long…

Brown Butter, Oatmeal, Cranberry & Pecan Cookies


We don’t eat a ton of sweets, but when we do, we lean toward cookies more often than not. Building these always begins with a discussion of a main theme, and then branches out into what we’ve got that would go well with such. Last nights foray lead to an exquisite bite, a Brown Butter Oatmeal Cranberry Pecan Cookie.

Ya gotta make sure they’re good right after they come out, right?

Oatmeal is always a winner, far as I’m concerned – it makes a cookie chewier and a bit more wholesome than flour alone – That was our opening bid for this creation.

Next came dried cranberries hiding in the pantry, and finally, some incredible Texas pecans gifted to us by dear friends Bob and Margot Wieneke.

The finishing touches included browned butter, which goes so well in my go-to cornbread, and Mexican cane sugar – that stuff retains a delightful hint of the stuff it’s made of – something plain old white sugar can’t do.

There’s a bit more egg than usual, to stand up to the oatmeal and bind everything nicely. Good quality vanilla bean paste makes a nice touch as well.

We used pastry flour, which is lower in gluten than All Purpose, and yields a chewier cookie – you could sure use AP if you prefer that.

You can and should tweak this thing to your liking, based on a favorite nut and/or dried fruit – and when you do, show us your work!

This recipe will make about 36 cookies, because if you’re gonna do something, do it right, (awww you can halve it if you want to).

Urban’s Brown Butter Oatmeal, Cranberry & Pecan Cookies

2 2/3 Cups Pastry Flour

1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter

1 1/2 Cups Mexican Cane Sugar

1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup dried Cranberries

1 Cup Pecans

4 Eggs

2 teaspoon Vanilla Paste

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Bring all ingredients to room temperature before starting construction.

If your dried fruit and nuts are whole, chop them into a rough dice.

Measure and sift flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

In a second bowl, combine the Mexican and brown sugars and whisk to incorporate.

In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter, and allow to melt and heat through.

The butter will foam – that’s the excess water boiling off – whisk gently and steadily until the butter is light golden in color and smells nutty.

Remove butter from heat and allow to cool for a minute or two.

Add butter to the sugar blend and whisk briskly – even melted butter will cream when mixed with sugar, adding tiny air bubbles to the blend which helps make a lighter cookie.

Crack two whole eggs and two egg yolks into the butter and sugar blend – (freeze extra egg whites in an airtight container for future projects).

Add the vanilla paste to the wet mix and whisk to incorporate thoroughly.

Add the flour mix and oatmeal to the wet mix and stir well with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

Add cranberries and pecans and stir well to incorporate.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, (up to overnight if you can wait that long).

Preheat oven to 350° F and set a rack in the middle slot.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

We use a 2 tablespoon measure for the size you see herein. Scoop a ball of dough and plop them down a couple of inches apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the centers have risen notably.

Remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.