05 November 2014

Recipe: Giant Oatmeal Cookies with Red Chile

A week and a half ago, I had the pleasure of attending the SCBWI Handsprings Writers' Conference here in New Mexico. Writing conferences are one of my favorite things ever, because what could possibly be better than hanging out with a room full of people who all totally get your special brand of crazy? But this conference was extra-special, because I got to help out as part of the planning committee. Specifically, I got to be in charge of the FOOD!

So, you know me. I can't just go to Costco and buy a big tray of cookies. If I'm in charge of the food for an event, I'm going to do my best to find the perfect food for that event. So, since this was a New Mexico writers' conference, of course we had to have something with chiles in it, right? And what goes better with chiles than cookies??

Giant Oatmeal Cookies with Red Chile
For approximately 36 giant cookies, you will need:
2 c. butter or margarine*
2 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. oats
4 c. whole wheat flour (you can also use all-purpose, but whole wheat tastes better)
1/2 - 2/3 c. diced dried red chiles (these can be as mild or as spicy as you like)
1 pkg. chocolate chips (opt.)
2 c. raisins (opt.)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, baking soda, salt and vanilla, and beat until creamy. Stir in oats. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.Mix in chiles, chocolate chips and raisins, if desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an ice cream scoop**, portion the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches of space around each cookie, so they don't run together when they expand. (I fit 8 cookies on my large half-sheet pan. A normal cookie sheet would probably fit 6 cookies.) Bake for 12-13 minutes, until bottom edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

*note: You want the butter to be slightly softened to make it cream together with the sugars well, but if butter is too soft, the cookies will end up being super-flat when you bake them. I recommend taking the butter out of the fridge approximately 10-15 minutes before assembling the cookie dough, so it will soften slightly but not too much. If your cookies are coming out flat, consider chilling your dough for an hour or two in the fridge before baking.

**note: You can make regular-sized cookies instead of giant cookies, if so desired. Simply use a regular cookie scoop (or tablespoon) to dish cookie dough and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 9 minutes instead.

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