Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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Does it seem like every event/occasion in life revolves around food? We recently got off the roller coaster ride that is Thanksgiving and Christmas only to find ourselves enthralled with football snacks and appetizers, and now face to face with Valentines Day treats. By the way, where did the month of January go? I must have been in a fog because I’m amazed that it’s February already (which pretty much means Spring is around the corner in my world). Nevertheless, I am trying to embrace each and every opportunity to share food with my loved ones and friends because the days, months, and years fly by too fast, I’m telling ya. 2015…WHAT?!

I have a few Valentines inspired treats up my sleeve, but absolutely must begin with these cookies. They are TO DIE FOR! I love, love, love the combination of dark chocolate chips and dried cherries. These cookies remind me of a granola bar in a cookie costume. I consider them “somewhat” healthy thanks to fiber-filled oats and antioxidant rich dried cherries, but there is plenty of decadence to go around. Like two sticks of butter and plenty of sugar to make them straddle the line between afternoon snack and dessert. I brought a batch of these cookies to work last week to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday then immediately went home and baked a second batch; they spoke to me.

Cookies are great for passing out to friends, neighbors, and co-workers during Valentines festivities. They would be super cute in little cellophane bags with decorative heart labels. I’m sure Pinterest has free printable labels to your heart’s content. I always wish to be more creative and actually pull these things off. My style tends toward throwing a bunch of cookies in a tupperware container and calling it good; one of these days I will step up my game. Until then, another cookie (or two) please!

Ingredients (makes roughly 4 dozen cookies)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • 3 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer) beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. My husband put a stand mixer beater/scraper in my stocking for Christmas and I absolutely love it! You can find them at places like HomeGoods and T.J.Maxx.

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Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add to the mixer, one at a time, on low speed; mix until well incorporated.

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Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

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In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, if using.

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Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing until almost incorporated.

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Add the oats, chocolate chips, and cherries and mix one final time; this will allow the mix-ins to distribute and the final bit of flour to blend into the dough.

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Use a small scoop to portion the cookies onto a non-stick baking sheet. Cookie scoops are awesome because they make sure all the cookies are the same size and will bake evenly.

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Bake for 12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

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Originally I baked the cookies for 10 minutes but found the middles too gooey; I like an under-baked soft cookie as much as the next girl but the texture just wasn’t right. I increased the baking time to 12 minutes and got the crisp-edge-soft-center-chewy cookie texture I was looking for. If  you like a crunchy oatmeal cookie you may leave your them in the oven a minute or so longer. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy! :)

 

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