Sink your teeth into these “everything but the kitchen sink” cookies. They’re packed full of goodness, yet deliciously simple.
Waste not, want not.
In this season of excess, it’s easy to get swept up in overdoing…shopping, eating, baking, partying. I start off the holiday season making grand proclamations: “fewer gifts!”, “plan ahead and don’t impulse buy!, “no cookies for breakfast!” but right around now the wheels come off the wagon. I start second-guessing those well thought out decisions and instead start worrying about half-filled stockings and disappointed faces come Christmas morning.
It’s a similar scene when I plan for a party. I meticulously craft a menu, shopping list and timeline, and oh, just about a day or two before the party, panic sets in. There won’t be enough! What if I have a gluten-free, nut-free, vegan guest that hates mushrooms?? I always end up adding another dish or two and throw some extra bags of nuts and chocolate chunks into my shopping cart to whip up a quick cookie or candied nut on the fly.
But not surprisingly, I’ve never run out of food at a party. I’ve never seen a disappointed face come Christmas morning and I could (and should) just stick to the gameplan that I created when I had my wits about me and resist the urge to overcompensate. The kids don’t need three extra pairs of silly socks and my guests certainly weren’t going to miss one more cookie platter.
So when it’s time to take stock of my pantry during this time of year, there’s always an excess of ingredients, specifically for baking. I’ve got bags and bars of chocolate in every percentage imaginable, coconut flakes and shreds, unsweetened and sweet, and nuts galore. These are not inexpensive ingredients and they don’t stay fresh forever.
As I study the results of my panic-induced impulse buys, I hear my mom’s voice echoing in my head. “Waste not, want not.”, an age old proverb that she repeated many times to us when we were kids. My parents were terrific user-uppers and fantastic leftover-eaters. Sunday’s leftover sauce became Tuesday’s lasagna. Extra roasted chicken got shredded and tossed with a little mayo and celery and turned into a chicken salad sandwich, and of course those brown bananas became banana bread.
So when I assessed my packed pantry, I pulled out the half-used bags of chocolate chips and chunks, nuts and dried fruit, and folded them into a cookie dough with brown sugar and oats. These kitchen sink cookies are a great way to use up all those tasty bits that might otherwise get tossed. Use this recipe as a guide, not the bible. Don’t have white chocolate? Use peanut butter or butterscotch morsels. Prefer almonds or walnuts? Swap them in for the pecans. Can’t stand coconut? Leave it out. Salt lover? Crumble up some pretzels or add a sprinkle of salt before baking. You with me? Customize these cookies to your taste and your pantry.
Oh, and if you’re on holiday cookie overload like me right now, you can make this dough and save it for later. Wrap it up tightly in portioned cookies, pop them into your freezer and forget it. You can pull them out after the holiday dust settles and you’ve scrapped your new year’s dieting resolutions. You can bake off the whole batch or just a couple at a time when the mood strikes. Maybe one day I’ll learn to heed my own advice and stick to a plan, but if uncommon sense prevails, at least there will be cookies.
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 oz white chocolate chunks or chips
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Whisk the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars with a paddle attachment of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and until just combined.
Using an ice cream scooper or 1/4 measuring cup, portion out each cookie and place on a parchment lined sheet tray. You will have 20 cookies.
Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an additional sheet tray with parchment. Divide the cookies evenly between the trays leaving room for the cookies to spread.
Bake for 13-15 mins or until the cookies are set, golden around the edges, and still a little soft. They should be a little under-done, the cookies will continue to set as they cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
The cookies will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.