Open any given food cupboard and you’re bound to find random recipe orphans, those singular items you just had to have to make that dish you just had to make. And of course it was probably ten bucks and then you only needed a tablespoon, or if you were lucky, maybe half the package, leaving you with extra provisions without extra options. These orphans are the impetus for so many of my recipes, the basket fillers for my home version of Chopped, as I can’t stand to see anything go to waste, no matter how little is left or how specific the ingredient might seem.
Case in point? These cookies. The idea came to me from half a bag of cinnamon chips, which I’m fairly certain were left over from some over-the-top scone adventure, baking date unknown. Those, and three barely there bags of pecan pieces I found in the back of the freezer were all I needed to jazz up a favorite basic oatmeal cookie recipe with tons of extra flavor and texture. And now there is room in my pantry for new random recipe orphans, probably from a Barefoot Contessa recipe, not mine…just sayin, Ina. Perhaps you have a few recipe orphans of your own around that you think would be good here, a handful of dried cranberries or maybe some leftover walnuts, go ahead and give it a try, worse case scenario is you still wind up with cookies. And really, how bad can that be?
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3 cups rolled or quick oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
- Prepare the pecan pieces on your cooktop in a small pan over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and toasty. Keep an eye on them during this process, as they can burn quickly if unattended. Once ready, remove from heat and let cool…I put them in the fridge to cool faster.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes. A stand mixer or electric mixer is a big help, but a wooden spoon or similar works just as well.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure the first is well incorporated before adding the second.
- Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
- Next mix in the flour. Then, stir in the oatmeal. If you are doing this by hand you will be able to skip your arm workout at the gym later. #SilverLining
- Finally, mix in the cinnamon chips and pecans.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto your baking sheet. I use a small ice cream scooper for this task, but any spoon works. The result will be around the size of a large walnut. I do 12 per pan so that they are not overcrowded. Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper is nice, but not necessary if you don’t have some.
- Bake 11-13 minutes. I prefer to bake one sheet at a time, as it always seems when you do 2 sheets each are ready at different times and that just gets annoying. If you have a convection oven you might have better luck with 2 sheets, but I’ll leave that to you to determine. The cookies are ready when they are lightly golden on top.
- Let them cool on the pan for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Pour a glass of milk, serve and nosh!
Makes about 4 dozen. Store in an airtight container.