Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kristin Takes Over: Chocolate Chip Chai Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

So for those of you who haven't heard yet, Alex and I are getting married. (That's right, the fiancee is taking over today!) We've set the date, picked the venue, we even have a pretty good idea of who the photographer and DJ will be. One kinda sorta big-ish thing that hasn't been picked yet is my dress. Do I have 621 days to find the perfect dress? Yes. Does that mean I won't worry about it? Absolutely not. I've been on a major wedding dress kick, and spent all morning looking at beautiful wedding dresses that are completely out of my price range. I need to snap out of it and there's only one way to get me to stop. Baking! Specifically, baking cookies.

Alex understand this. Thus the ridiculously awesome cupcake tin/measuring spoons necklace that can be found at this cute site.

Alex cooks almost 100% of the meals we eat (I am so incredibly lucky to have this man in my life) but I am the prominent baker in the relationship. Watching Alex cook has started to influence how I bake though. I used to be one of those bakers who stuck to the recipe perfectly and never tried to add any extras or improvise. Alex is a notorious recipe-breaker, and one day I decided to take a page from his book and try to make my own cookie recipe. And oh, what a delicious page it turned into.

Ladies and gentlemen, today I'd like to share with you my Chocolate Chip Chai Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

These cookies start out pretty innocuously. What you see here is enough for one batch, but as I started baking I remembered that I have some coworkers I need to bribe tomorrow, so I ended up making a double batch.

I grew up helping my mother bake cookies. She is why I always bake cookies with shortening instead of butter. Shortening keeps the cookies nice and thick, which leaves them soft and chewy.

Cream the shortening and the sugars.

In another bowl, mix your eggs and vanilla.

Carefully mix the egg mix in with the creamed sugars. I say carefully because unless you have a stand mixer, this part can get messy. (PS If anyone has an extra stand mixer they're not using, I could really use one...)

I don't like having too many dirty bowls lying around, so I wash out my egg bowl, dry it out, and mix up the dry ingredients.

Who doesn't love pictures of dry ingredients in a bowl? If your local stores don't sell chai mixes, I've bought some on Amazon. I'm sure vanilla chai would also be wonderful, but I happen to have chocolate on hand.

When I mix my dry ingredients into my wet, I tend to break up my dry ingredients into thirds. That way it doesn't spray everywhere, and it doesn't overwhelm my mixer. Mix until smooth, but don't eat it yet! The best is yet to come. (Not that we eat raw cookie dough...)

It is so important to add enough oats. Without them, the dough is still delicious, but really wet. I actually prefer to mix with my (extremely clean) hands at this point just so I can tell whether or not I've added enough.

Could you make these cookies without the raisins? Sure, but why would you? They add a wonderful extra chewy texture, and a nice natural sweetness. Also, you can say you're eating fruit, and justify an extra cookie.

Finally, add the chocolate chips. There should be no bite of cookie without at least one chocolate chip or one raisin. And don't feel like you have to go for gourmet chocolate chips. A bag of Hershey's semi-sweet chips is all anyone needs. In life, and in cookies.

This is not dough for small cookies. Don't be afraid to put big messy hunks of cookie dough on the sheets, just be sure to space them out a bit. Trust me, they'll spread out as they bake.

Make sure you clean your hands thoroughly.

PS, see those earrings? Alex got those for me from this cute site. Isn't he so great?

After 10-15 minutes, these beautiful cookies should be done. If they still seem a little wet, don't worry. Once they cool they'll firm right up.

They might be a little crunchy on the outside, but they should still be wonderfully moist and chewy on the inside.

While I think these cookies could be fantastic in any season, there's something so warm and soothing about the chai flavor in these cookies that just makes me want to cuddle up under a blanket and watch the leaves change color. With a couple of these cookies, of course. Make yourself a big ol' batch and share them as you see fit. I hope you enjoy them as much as Alex and I do!

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Chai Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 2-dozen Cookies

  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Chai Mix
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 cups Oats
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together shortening and sugars in a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Carefully add to sugar mixture. Mix well.

In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, chai mixture, and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Mix in oats, raisins, and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees 10-15 minutes until cookies are golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks as soon as cookies are set.

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