As a general rule, when it comes to cookies, I’m not interested if they don’t contain chocolate. And if they do contain chocolate, they must not contain nuts. (Whose idea was it to stick all those nuts in my cookies anyway? It ruins everything!) And there are plenty of other rules, too, rules that I don’t even know exist until I bite into a cookie and think, “Gosh, there’s something not quite right.” So clearly nut-free chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, but one day I decided to go out on a limb and whip up these babies.
These cookies break 90% of my cookie rules. There is no chocolate. There are nuts, and worst of all they contain almonds, which are my least favorite nut. And yet I love them. I think it’s the orange zest. Or the oatmeal. Or just the fact that they are so different than my other cookies. Either way, as we enter into fall, this is a cookie to serve to your friends and family if you want to treat them to a little something special. To make them extra special, try topping them with a bit of this frosting, using all butter instead of the shortening. Or make them festive by throwing in 1/2 a cup of chopped cranberries!
By the way, this recipe is from Cooks’ Illustrated. As always, they have perfected it. No changes needed! They note that if you do not have parchment paper, let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
orange & oatmeal almond cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened, but still firm)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp grated orange zest
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes
Adjust oven racks to low and middle positions; heat oven to 350.
First, prep your ingredients! (I’m using 3 eggs because they’re smaller than most store-bought eggs.)
In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together. Then stir them into the butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats, orange zest, and almonds.
Form dough into 16 to 20 two-inch balls, placing each dough round onto one of two parchment paper-covered large cookie sheets.
Place pans on separate racks in your oven. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Half way through cooking, turn cookie sheets from front to back and switch from top to bottom. Slide cookies on parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Decorate with icing if desired.