February 6, 2007
Eat Your Heart Out Mrs. Fields: Cherry & Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

oatmealcookies.jpgWhen people ask me what pregnancy cravings I have, I'm always a bit perplexed. In the early days of being pregnant, when morning sickness is at its worst, there are certainly a few foods that I tend to eat regularly. But it's not so much that I crave these few foods as I am unable to face eating other foods. When I asked the Critic to bring Vlassic pickles back from the US during my last pregnancy, he interpreted it as a Craving (and not so much a request as a Royal Command). But even at the time, I would have only classified it as your usual from time to time feeling of "gosh I have a taste for X". When you live in a foreign country, you get used to these occasional urges because you don't have easy access to all the comfort foods of home. You don't have to be pregnant.

One change I have noticed in my diet, though I hesitate again to call it a craving, is an advanced case of the Sweet Tooth. I think this is for two main reasons: 1) I feel like I deserve a treat for all the wine I'm not consuming and 2) I don't have to worry much about putting on weight because of the sudden lack of alcohol calories. So I eat a fair amount of chocolate and have a pain aux raisins on my way to work in the morning and I am happy. Yesterday, though, I had something of a real craving. I suddenly realised I'm tired of chocolates after dinner. I wanted something more substantial and chewy. I wanted home-made cookies.

When I first started playing around in the kitchen, cookies were naturally one of the first areas I explored. I was only eight or so, after all. Also, my sister had made clear to me that licking the bowl after making the cookies was strictly the cook's perogative. Talk about incentive. I mostly stuck to a few tried and true recipes though: chocolate chip (of course) and the family favorites, chocolate oatmeal cookies. It's only now some thirty years later that I've started to play with my own cookie ideas.

And this one is a winner. Tart dried cherries, not-too-sweet chocolate chips and excruciatingly sweet dough combined in a chewy mouthful. When I offered the tin to the Critic last night, he fully intended to politely eat one cookie and give his opinion. (He still drinks wine and worries - unnecessarily - about his weight.) He had two before I could ask what he thought and I'm pretty sure at least one or two more over the course of the evening. That said, the Critics were not unanimous: the Boy is suspicious still of chocolate chips and spat out the one bite that had sour cherry in it. He'll learn; he has time to develop his palate and in the meantime I don't mind if there is more left over to feed my one genuine craving.

Cherry and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (makes around 32 cookies)

Note: one of the things that annoyed me when I followed the Fannie Farmer recipes for cookies is that I rarely ended up with more than 60% of the number of cookies the book claimed I would have. I remember being teased by my family about dipping into the raw dough, but even when I religiously abstained from a single spoonful and made carefully small cookies I never got more than 75% of the supposed output. Me, you can trust. I made normal sized cookies (about 2 1/2 inches or 6 cm across) and had about 36 at the end. I've rounded down in case you want to taste the dough. (Though the fear of being jumped on by lawyers or other vigilantes does force me to point out that in the interest of safety you should never eat raw cookie dough. Yeah, right.)

1/2 cup (115 g) butter
1 cup (220 g) sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbs water
1 cup (140 g) flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate)
1/2 cup almond slivers

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, water and vanilla. Beat in the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and salt. Carefully (by hand or by slowing down your mixer) mix in the remaining ingredients. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on a piece of baking parchment on a cookie sheet, about 2 inches/5 cm apart. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until just barely browned on the top. Allow them to set for a moment on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an air-tight container. Consume with abandon.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at February 6, 2007 12:45 PM Print-friendly version

Last summer my brother went through a week-long obsession with cherry and chocolate oatmeal cookies - except he threw in white chocolate chips also. Every day when I came home from work I'd have a new, slightly altered batch waiting. He never quite got it right. I will send him your recipe immediately because it sounds perfect!

Posted by Max on February 7, 2007 at 4:02 PM

I knooooooow what you mean ! As a french woman in Toronto I have to confess my parents send me (well kids are the official excuse...) a box of frenchy treats each two months and that I sometimes need a little madeleine or a cannelé. Even if I still drink wine. And beer. And... should worry a little more about my weight.

Posted by Framboiz on February 7, 2007 at 4:04 PM

I made these yesterday and the finished product was as delicious as the dough. Could be an all-time favorite. Marianne

Posted by Marianne Kehoe on February 12, 2007 at 10:13 AM

Chocolate and cherries has to be the perfect combination...

Posted by Tim @take3eggs.com on February 18, 2007 at 7:26 PM

Hi, I couldn't stop laughing while reading your blog entry. You are so right about the calorie balence between wine and chocolate. I love it.

Posted by Monika Korngut on February 20, 2007 at 8:23 AM


I just moved into London, with my family and i want to hire a new chef, since my former chef died of Heart attack late last year. I was duly advised to get a personal chef that would be devoted to prepare for me and my kid a great tasting, healthy, nourishing meal and who can monitor my kids nutritional level. so i got online and i registered with my credit card to find out your e-mail as a personal chef.

I am willing to pay as much as 4,870 pounds every two weeks as your salary(negotiable) along with medical insurance and a 401k benefit. Also you get the benefit of living in a furnished apartment inside my Duplex,a personal computer and a day off every friday cause we eat out on fridays. All i want is your time and dedication to my dietary needs as well as my family's too. I am a very busy lawyer and my spouse an asthmatic woman who cannot go into the kitchen for any reason whatsoever and for this reason we both have little or no time for ourselves and the children in terms of cooking. I often travel alot around europe and the united states so for this i am ready to pay alot for the health and nutirition of I and my children.

I can make arrangement for a travel agent immediately. If you are interested in getting this job and you want to know more you can contact me via my e-mail
address: Greg_wooding@yahoo.co.uk , so i can see what can be done to get you over here within the shortest possible time. Please i'll want you to make available to me your personal data which should include the following

Your name and address

Telephone number and best time to contact

Email address

Date of birth, marital status, education and qualifications

NB: Please i want to notify all would be applicants to be well aware

that i'll only be financing the following bills.

Flight Ticket


Insurance Cover (Stated above)

but please be well aware that i'll not be funding of your work-permit and your personal chef registration fee which you'll have to get yourself, the only help i can render is that you can easily get it through the travel agency that will take care of your other travel plans, and you can relocate with your family if you have one. Note that only those willing to fulfill my terms and conditions should email me cause i won't allow for time wasters and unserious people cause i've been a victim of some petty pranks before and i won't be a victim again so any interested person should please bear with me.

Please also note that the purchasing of the Work-permit will cost about 960 pounds and 40pence,that's including your registration fee with the association. I've already spoken with the MD of the travel agency and he has already given me the bill of how much it'll cost to get a UK certified work-permit and to sign up with the association which will allow you work anywhere in the whole of Great Britain. Any interested person should be contact me via my email address: greg_wooding@yahoo.co.uk and i'll be glad to read from you, i want to inform any applicant that i really don't entertain time wasting and for that reason i've said all i'll have to say all i want from anyone: all i want is your urgency and dedication to your job as my Personal Chef.

Mr Greg Wooding

Posted by GREG WOODING on July 4, 2007 at 5:58 AM
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