Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Oatmeal Cookies
DARK CHOCOLATE & SEA SALT OATMEAL COOKIES
I love oatmeal cookies. It’s all about the soft centre texture and the crunchy outside for me, which is why I like to make them extra large, with extra opportunity for a soft but not too doughy centre.
In this recipe the dark chocolate is of course a delicious addition that adds a little bitterness. However it’s really about the combination of flavours – the hints of sweet caramel notes from the brown sugar combined with the always welcome sizzle of sea salt flakes which along with the chocolate come together to tick all the boxes for my favourite flavour combos – chocolaty, bitter, sweet and salty.
I’m very often inspired by travel experiences from new places I visit and food I discover, and this cookie recipe is a nod to what were, for me, the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever tasted …. 'Kayak Cookies'. I discovered these cookies beautifully packaged and ribboned with raffia, displayed atop mismatched pedestal stands in the cutest gourmet food store, in the sleepy country town of Hudson, a couple of hours (train ride for me) up the Hudson river from New York city. I bought a pack of 5, planning to taste one, and bring the others back to Australia to share, along with all the other culinary souvenirs I’d collected.
They didn’t make it home with me. Actually they didn’t even make it back to New York city. I contemplated buying another pack, but I knew the odds were firmly stacked in favour of me eating them all myself again, so I decided to make the sensible health-wise decision to not revisit the store, and simply remember how good they were, and geez louise, they were good.
Kayak describe their cookies as ‘subtly sweet. curiously salty’. And they’re especially thick and enormous! . I tasted their original oatmeal with raisin version, the classic chewy raisin and oat combination which I’ve tried plenty of times before … but these were different. Supercharged with salt, they were exciting to the senses right away, but it was more than just the salt, the texture in these cookies was so dense and soft without being overly doughy, they were inspiring, and I’m at a loss to know how they do it. I salute you Kayak Cookies.
Kayak cookies in a food store in Hudson above ... and Hudson main street below.
So here I give you my version of a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, pretty tasty I dare say, but not quite yet a Kayak cookie.
DARK CHOCOLATE & SEA SALT OATMEAL COOKIES
For the recipe in a printable format .... click here!
115g unsalted butter (softened … room temperature)
125g (½ cup) caster sugar
90g (½ cup) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (free range always) at room temperature
90g (1 cup) rolled oats
190g plain flour (sieved with baking powder & bi-carb)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carb soda
½ tsp sea salt flakes crushed (plus extra to sprinkle on top)
300g( (1½ cups) dark chocolate buttons
Combine all dry ingredients (rolled oats, flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, salt & dark chocolate buttons) together in a large bowl, set aside.
Cream butter and sugars in kitchen aid, or with hand blender until combined and is light and fluffy.
Add vanilla, mix.
Add egg, mix. (don’t worry if it goes a bit ‘curdly’ – this will resolve with the addition of the flour mix.
On slowest beating speed, or by hand, fold in bowl of dry ingredients until the mixture just comes together. Squeeze dough together with hands if necessary to completely combine.
Scoop or roll balls of dough onto lightly greased or lined baking tray, size of choice. Bigger cookies will be softer in the centre and take longer to cook, smaller cookies will cook more quickly
** mixture can benefit from being in the fridge overnight, but this isn’t essential, the cookies will still cook well right after making.
Flatten the cookies slightly with a fork for baking.
Sprinkle flattened cookies with sea salt flakes, ground between your fingers to make the flakes smaller, as you drop them onto the top of the cookies.
Bake in 200deg C oven until lightly golden and crunchy on the outside but a bit gooey on the inside … or to your liking! Around 15-20 mins for a very large ¼ cup sized ball of cookie dough, 12 mins for a more ‘normal’ sized cookie …. but all ovens are different … watch them after 10mins!
Let the cookies cool on the tray for a few minutes, then when you can handle them without breaking, transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.
Store in an airtight container.
Note: the mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking, and can be frozen for up to a month, tightly sealed to avoid icicles forming.
SWITCH IT UP
This is such an easy recipe to adapt to your flavour preferences. Add any inclusions you fancy, or revert to the class addition of raisin instead of chocolate if you must (not recommended by a chocolatier though!). Just keep the additions (including chocolate) to 1 ½ cups in total – in whatever ratio floats your boat.
Here are are some of my favourites.
Raisin' the craisin: Dark chocolate and craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries) … a winning combo if there ever was one. Craisins add such a great hint of sweet and sour, and can even tolerate the sweetness of white chocolate as an addition (an especially festive combo for edible Christmas gifts).
Powdered ginger, pecan and chocolate: Pecans go great with anything that has brown sugar involved, they’re very good friends. Add ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger to the flour mix (or more if you love it … or candied ginger).
Diced candied orange peel or dried apricot and chopped almonds: classic combo
Milk chocolate and chopped dates: sweet and chewy
… you get the picture! Let your imagination take over.