German Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Last week marked the end of my school year, and the official start of summer vacation.  First stop: the Delaware shore.

My BFF Shannon has a lovely beach house, and I have a long tradition of being a semi-permanent house guest (aka mooch) in this lovely abode.   I try to pull my weight by base-camping in the kitchen and churning out beachie foodstuffs whenever I’m there. I like to say that it’s because I am angling to get invited back, but the truth of the matter is that I usually invite myself.  There’s no shaking me (or my family of five, it seems.)

Closer to the truth = I love to cook in her beach house kitchen.   It’s smack in the center of the action and there is an ever-evolving crew of people wandering through to sample my culinary experiments.  Some of the 20-somethings actually enjoy cooking with me, and I’ve discovered a few amateur sous-chefs are handy when feeding crowds. I tinkered with a few salads, we roasted some lamb, made dozens of empanadas, and I baked for the first time in a while.   

For Mother’s Day, I received a copy of Bravetart by Stella Parks (My family doesn’t mind feeding my cookbook obsession.)  It’s a fabulous celebration of iconic American desserts - with a huge dollop of history to accompany each recipe.  For a food-obsessed human such as myself, it’s fascinating. Beyond Apple Pie and Toll House cookies, you’ll find recipes for Nutter Butters and Pop-Tarts and Twinkies.  A celebration indeed. It’s been collecting dust during the recent House Morell vegan phase. Thank God the kids have come home from college and need some butter in their lives.

I had almost immediately bookmarked a German Chocolate variation of Stella’s take on classic Oatmeal Cookies.  German Chocolate?! Anything involving pecans and coconut and chocolate is a win for me. This is the kind of hearty cookie recipe I adore - a ton of flavor and texture in every bite.  The oatmeal and cocoa powder add a rustic, earthy feel to the cookies, and they’re loaded to the breaking point with the add-ins.

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So along with the memories of a weekend filled with walking and biking and kayaking and lounging on the beach and playing an uber-competitive game of Scattergories (which I won, just sayin’),  let’s add the memory of these cookies.

I thought I’d share the recipe, so you might add them to your summer memories as well.

Things I’m crushing on lately:

Our beach movies included Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Coco and Love, Simon.  All delightful choices.  We also watched The Gift, a psychological thriller which stressed me out so much I had to leave the room for a bit.  It’s terrifying, and I'm a wimp.

I’m driving everyone I know nuts with my reading of  The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.  I’ve been quoting passages on soil quality and sustainable farming and the history of mass-produced chickens to everyone within earshot.  I suspect they’re ready for me to finish up and turn to a fluffy beach read.  

Now that school’s out for the summer, I’m back to watching my favorite morning crew on CBS This Morning. Gayle King’s reporting from the border had me in tears yesterday.  There seems to be a lot of heartbreak going around (thank you Laura Bush).   We are better than this, America.  Here are a few ways to help.

Bake some cookies, hug your kids, call your Congressional representatives.

xo

mb

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German Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from a recipe found in Bravetart by Stella Parks

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼  cup steel-cut Irish oats
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups pecan pieces
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chunks, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, oats, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy.

  4. Add the egg to the butter/brown sugar mixture.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Stir until just combined.

  6. Add the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chunks to the batter, and fold in until combined.

  7. For best results, refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and ideally overnight.  This will allow the flavors to deepen, and you’ll have a deeper brown sugar/caramel/cocoa impact.

  8. Scoop the cookie dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.  These cookies need to be big - like a generous 2 tablespoons of dough.

  9. Flatten the dough into ½ inch discs.

  10. Bake about 12 minutes, until puffed and not quite set.

  11. Cool on the baking sheet until set, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.