Monday, July 14, 2014

Whole Grain Oatmeal Cinnamon & Fruit Cookies

When the Wegmans bakery first introduced their fresh-baked whole grain cookies, I have to admit I was very skeptical. The cookies claimed to be made with Whole Wheat, oats, and flaxseed meal - and they looked super ugly and dry. Paul and I scoffed at their appearance and declared that if we are going to eat cookies, we want them made with white flour and NO flaxseed. We are dessert snobs.

Then one day Wegmans had a bunch of samples out as we were picking up groceries one Saturday morning. One of the sample stations was giving out tastes of the new whole grain cookies. Even though we had both sworn never to eat one of those sad-looking health cookies, neither Paul nor I could really turn down free food. Plus, I was actually really curious to try one.

And I am so glad I did. They were a revelation! Chewy, buttery, and sweet with a nice complex flavor from the flax and whole wheat - I was hooked. I probably would have bought a whole bunch of them except for the fact that they were priced at $10.99 per pound. I'm a little too cheap for that. I began chatting with the baker about the cookies and she ended up pointing me to the recipe. Apparently, Wegmans had published it in the most recent issue of their store magazine. I grabbed a copy and jotted down the recipe, vowing to make it as soon as possible.

The following week, I did just that. The cookies turned out amazing and tasted just like the ones we had sampled at the store. Matthew, who is normally not the biggest cookie eater, ended up gobbling down five of them. And don't get me started on baby Emma. She would have eaten the entire batch if I didn't cut her off.

Trust me, these are fantastic. Paul claims that they are his new favorite cookie. That's pretty big. While definitely not the prettiest cookies out there, they are quite tasty. And chock-full of whole grains, meaning they are healthy and that it's totally permissible to eat an entire batch as part of a healthy diet. Right?

Whole Grain Oatmeal Cinnamon and Fruit Cookies
adapted from Wegmans Menu Magazine, Summer 2014

1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup whole ground flaxseed meal (Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set a baking rack in the middle position.

Whisk together the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and beat on medium-high until the batter begins to pale and appear a bit fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Switch the mixture to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture. When combined, stir in the dried fruit.

Drop the batter by tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. The center should still be soft. Be careful not to overbake these cookies - it's better for them to be a bit underdone. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest for 1-2 minutes before using a wide spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.

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