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Monday, July 18, 2016

Recipe 8: Zucchini Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Today. Oh, what a day was today.

It poured out. And when I say poured, I mean it rained and rained and rained heavily for a long time. My mom told me she heard on the news that our area got three inches of rain in an hour. Our pool is filled to the tippy-top!

So what could I do but stay inside and bake? (And, regrettably, take some dark-ass photos...but such is life.)

One of my older daughter's friends came over to play, and he's a big fan of my baking. He actually polished off the last of my zucchini brownies from the other day, and he LOVED them. My daughter was still under the impression they were zucchini-free, and struggled with the news she'd been happily scarfing down zucchinis for days. "But...I don't like zucchini!" "And yet you like these brownies. Shocking, huh?" Her friend was way less fazed. He simply shrugged and said, "Who cares? They're great!" I love that kid. He's welcome anytime! haha.

I decided cookies were in order today, so I pulled up a recipe from a blog I've turned to many times in the past for solid, tasty recipes, both savory and sweet: Cooking Classy. I followed her recipe pretty closely--only really swapping out chocolate chunks for chocolate chips, and using just a little less batter in each cookie than her 2 Tablespoon suggestion--because baking is more of a science than cooking (due to the chemical reactions that go on in baking) and I wanted my cookies to turn out properly.

Here's how I made them.

Zucchini Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: about 36 cookies (using OXO medium sized cookie scoop)


1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature (Tip: set it on the counter for 30-60 minutes, or stick it in a cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes; the room temperature egg makes it disperse better into the mixture. Rule of thumb: if you're using room temp butter, you want room temp eggs)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 1 - 1 1/2 medium)
1 cup quick oats (not Old-Fashioned oats. Tip: if all you have is Old-Fashioned, you can turn them into quick oats by pulsing them in a food processor a few times to break them down)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (the original recipe notes you could also use walnuts)
1 bag (just under 2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chunks (the original calls for 1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt for 20 seconds. (Not sure why 20 seconds, but I did it. haha.) Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy.

4. With machine on low, add in egg and vanilla extract until combined.

5. Add zucchini. Then, with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture until dough forms.

6. With your machine still on low (or feel free to do it by hand) stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate chunks.

7. Use medium cookie scoop to scoop 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough onto sheet, approximately 2-inches apart. I fit 9 cookies on each pan. I made  (Note: On my first two sheet pans, I scooped the cookie dough and left it alone-- i.e. didn't press down the cookie ball at all. When those trays came out of the oven, they hadn't spread at all. They were still mounds on the pans. Because the dough seemed a little wet to me, I put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator while the first batch baked, thinking maybe the dough would firm up a little in that time. It didn't change much in the time between batches. When I scooped my second batch onto the trays, I decided to lightly flatten the mounds so the cookies would bake up flatter. However, the second batch spread quite a lot, especially certain cookies. Probably since the trays were still warm from the first batch--technically, you're supposed to let the trays cool between batches, but I don't have that kind of time--the cookies spread more since they were sitting on residual heat. In any event, I wanted to point it out in case you encounter it, too.)
Raw scoops
8. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 14 minutes until edges are lightly golden. (Mine took 11 minutes only.) Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 You can get a sense in these pictures of how some stayed mounded and others flattened out.

These remind me of a super chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookie (which is essentially what they are, but I'm trying to emphasize the chewy aspect.)  Jaclyn, the author of Cooking Classy, described them as being like zucchini bread in cookie form. I'd agree with that. They aren't overly sweet (just sweet enough, I'd say), but they're plenty moist and thick and chewy. I'm glad I went with the chocolate chunks because I love biting into the bigger mounds of chocolate (both because of the flavor and because of the textural difference.) I made them in the afternoon and they're only getting tastier the longer they sit. (Some cookies are good still warm and gooey from the oven. These are not those cookies.) I will say that, from a texture standpoint, they aren't my personal favorite, but the flavor delivers. Better still? Both my kids liked them (despite the zucchini! despite the nuts!), as did my husband and mom. As for my daughter's friend? He wanted to know how I do it--*it* being all the great treats. (That kid! What a guy!)

Now, I'm hoping all that rain fed my garden enough to produce more squash, since--gasp!--I used up the last of the stuff I already harvested AND picked the final acceptably-sized zucchini in there today. It better give me more because I have at least 5 more recipes I wanted to try during this series...

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