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Spiced Chocolate Oat Cookies

I’ve been going on about spring now for a couple weeks. While I could do without the watery eyes and runny nose, I think these months are my favorite of the whole year. The earth is waking up from its nap; everything’s in bloom, the produce is killer, and the markets are (my oh my!) very, very crowded.

It only makes sense, given my nonstop chatter about the end of winter, that I’d get a sudden and powerful molasses craving in the middle of April. It was undeniable: peas and asparagus be damned, this lady wanted ginger snaps.

Well, I couldn’t really go that far. The cold season has officially passed, and with it, the time for molasses chews and gingerbread and all those lovely things. But my molasses craving left me wondering if I couldn’t find some creative way to spike a non-wintry dessert with the stuff.

Enter these cookies, the love-child of molasses chew and chocolate-chocolate-chip, with some oats thrown in to acknowledge that other craving I have. These are no flabby cookies; they’re thick, they’re dense, and their innards are not unlike brownies. As you’re taking them out of the oven, you’ll give them a second look, your brow furrowed; they look underdone. Worry not: they firm up as they cool.

The result is a cookie that is at once comfortingly chocolatey and appealingly unfamiliar. The molasses and chocolate and oats combine into an almost gooey mix, and spices like cinnamon and ginger boost the molasses’ flavor without nudging the cookies into winter territory.

One of the times I made these cookies, I used Equal Exchange’s Spicy Cocoa in place of regular cocoa — I loved the spiciness it added. Spicy cocoa is highly recommended: it really amps up the spice factor in these cookies.

I never thought I’d need a dose of winter in springtime, but these non-wintry cookies are the perfect cheat when the craving hits.

Spiced Chocolate Oat Cookies
inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup turbinado or demerarra sugar (regular white will do in a pinch)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups oats

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In the bowl of a double boiler, melt butter and water together. When butter has mostly melted, add sugar, brown sugar, molasses and chopped chocolate. Stir just until everything is melted; you don’t want the butter to separate or the chocolate to get chunky, so remove the bowl from the heat when everything has melted, even if the sugar granules haven’t fully dissolved.

Off the heat, whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking each time to incorporate. The mixture will start to look shiny. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until they disappear. Add oats and mix just to incorporate. Scoop your cookies (by the tablespoon) onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to several days. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until just done (they’ll still look quite soft when you pull them out). Use a wide spatula to transfer cookies onto a rack, and cool to room temperature.

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  • Trinity April 16, 2010,

    How funny, I just made a rather winter-y meal last night… my one last hurrah with the oven before Texas goes sweltering! Those cookies look ace… I need to get my hands on some molasses.

  • Kyle Wright April 21, 2010,

    These look delicious!

    Do you have a specific type of cocoa powder you like to use?


  • rivka April 21, 2010,

    Kyle, I use ghiradelli cocoa, which is dutch processed (partially neutralized acidity), but any good cocoa powder will work. In one batch of these cookies, I used a spicy cocoa from Equal Exchange, which was delicious — highly recommended!

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