When I was in college I went through a fairly lengthy and torrid love affair with chocolate chip cookies of all sorts. I experimented with varying levels of softness in the butter and how that would affect the texture of the final cookie. I added cocoa powder to make super-dark, super-rich double chocolate cookies. I made cookies that melted together on the pan and had to be cut apart. No one complained. Funny thing, people are always willing to eat chocolate chip cookies.
The cookies that I remember the most, though, are the Neiman Marcus cookies. No doubt you have heard the story of the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, which urban legend purported to have been sold to a lady at the Neiman Marcus cafè for $250 (her server told her “two fifty” as the price) so she circulated the recipe in a chain letter to get back at the company. Well, in 1997 email was still a fairly new thing and we were all into chain emails (well, my group of friends anyway…we were always forwarding each other weird lists) and I got that one. And decided cookies needed to be made.
Well, the story isn’t true. Actually, Neiman Marcus didn’t have a chocolate chip cookie recipe until after the story circulated…but they released a recipe in a cookbook (you can also find the real Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe on their website) and it in no way resembles the one in the email, which includes grated milk chocolate and oat flour in addition to the “usual” chocolate chip cookie ingredients. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, though. Those cookies are good. And they have stuck with me because I remember making them with Philip in my dorm apartment kitchen very early in our relationship, basically floating around with my head in the clouds. That recipe is special to me.
So, when I decided that I needed to make trail mix cookies using the ingredients that Philip and I like to use in our homemade trail mix, I decided that it needed oatmeal…but I didn’t want it to be an oatmeal cookie per say (I’m not really a fan). Leite’s Culinaria posted the “Neiman Marcus Cookie” recipe a couple of weeks ago and it dawned on me…I should modify that recipe. I didn’t want to “flour-ize” all the oats, so I left some of them whole. I used dried coconut (which we don’t usually include in our trail mix), which I promise does not contribute the coconutty texture of sweetened shredded coconut-it’s much finer and you really can’t detect it at all-but you can leave it out if you want. The result of combining salted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, nuts, and chocolate chips?
Serendipitous trail mix cookies. All you need is a glass of milk.
Yield: 48 cookies
20 minPrep Time:
25 minCook Time:
45 minTotal Time:
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup cashews, pecans, or a combination of the two (toasted and chopped)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (chopped)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup dried coconut (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal in a food processor or blender and pulse until fine, about the texture of whole wheat flour. Combine in a bowl with the unprocessed oats, the flour, the baking powder and baking soda, and the salt.
- Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light or fluffy, about five minutes. Cream the eggs in, one at a time, until well incorporated, then add in the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture one-third at a time and blend completely before adding the next installment.
- Use a spatula to stir in the sunflower seeds, coconut, nuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through (I fit 12 comfortably onto each baking sheet). Repeat with remaining batter.
- Carefully remove the cookies to cooling racks-they are very fragile when hot. Cool completely before serving.