Lunch box cookies needn’t be ho-hum

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)March 5, 2014 

Consider the pleasure of a lower-profile cookie. Sure, it might not necessarily possess the flashy individuality required to make a favorable impression on a crowded holiday tray, yet it still manages to cover all the cookie bases without resorting to Toll House familiarity.

This paper offers three recipes that go above and beyond the description. Along with their own specific levels of deliciousness, each cookie proves that there’s always more to discover in the world of chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal, coconut and pecans. Oh, and because all three recipes are prepared using the drop formula, they’re relatively easy to make.

Go ahead, add a new cookie to your lunch box repertoire.

And thanks to bakers Theresa Neely of Maplewood, Minn. Linda Faust of Minneapolis and Mary Ellen Wingen of Owatonna, Minn., for giving all of us more reasons to bake.

COOKIE recipes from C3

Paradise Crunch  •  11/4 cups flour

 •  1 teaspoon baking powder

 •  1 teaspoon baking soda

 •  1/4 teaspoon salt

 •  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

 •  1/2 cup granulated sugar

 •  1/2 cup brown sugar

 •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 •  1 egg

 •  2 cups Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds cereal

 •  1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 •  31/2 ounces shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter for 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and egg, and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in cereal, chocolate chips and coconut.

Using a teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Oatmeal Toffee Discs  •  21/2 cups oatmeal, divided

 •  11/4 cups whole wheat flour

 •  11/2 cups brown sugar

 •  1 teaspoon baking soda

 •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder

 •  1 teaspoon salt

 •  1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (21/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

 •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 •  2 tablespoons light corn syrup

 •  1 egg

 •  12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 •  1 cup chopped pecans

 •  8 ounces toffee bits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine 1/2 cup oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt, process for 15 seconds and reserve.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter for 1 minute. Add vanilla extract, corn syrup and egg, and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, a third at a time, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in remaining 2 cups oatmeal, chocolate chips, pecans and toffee bits.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart (cookies will spread). Bake until cookies flatten and become brown and crisp, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies completely on baking sheets.

Yield: About 3 dozen From Theresa Neely of Maplewood, Minn. Yield: About 4 dozen From Linda Faust of Minneapolis.

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