Back-to-School Toffee-Apricot Oat Cookies
While kids might not actually be leaving the house for school and coming home ravenous at 3:30 (or noon, depending on the ages of the kiddos), they’re still working, and they’re still going to want a snack to fuel homework (although I guess all the work is homework at this point).
It’s time to up our cookie game with something a little different. Let’s make some cookies to serve warm and make our houses smell great, and then let’s freeze the rest so that we will have after-homeschool snacks for days.
Recently I was reading the August 2020 Food & Wine, and there was a story that grabbed my attention about chefs hosting bake sales for charity. The idea started with Natasha Pickowicz, a chef in New York City who organized a massive bake sale to benefit Planned Parenthood. Had the pandemic not interfered, this would have been her third year corralling her chef pals, who contribute amazing desserts to the sale. Attendees, who queue up to wait some 90 minutes for entry, snag highbrow confections that normally would end a meal costing hundreds of dollars, but here cost $5.
Toffee-Apricot Oat Cookies were created for another chef-driven bake sale, one in San Francisco benefiting the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Chefs Nicole Krasinski and Kathleen Kwuan of State Bird Provisions came up with these, and if there was a bake sale prize, I’m betting these cookies were in the running.
We love the texture of the oats and the chewy bits of dried apricot mixed up with buttery toffee and chocolate. Two of us decided that next time we might try this with white chocolate (purists close your ears).
Either way, we’d give these cookies a blue ribbon – or, in 2020, an A+.
Toffee-Apricot Oat Cookies
From Nicole Krasinski and Kathleen Kwuan, State Bird Provisions, for a bake sale benefiting the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture in San Francisco
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup chopped milk chocolate
1/3 cup finely chopped toffee (I used Heath bits)
1/3 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with oven racks in top third and lower third of the oven. Combine the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until light and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, vanilla, baking soda and salt, beating until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in the oats, chocolate, toffee and apricots until just combined.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1 3/4 -inch scoop, drop mounds of dough (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 1 ½ inches apart. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom after 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely, about 30 minutes.
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