I think I’ve written this many times before on my blog but whenever people ask me what I most enjoy baking, my answer is always cookies.

I love all baking, but cookies are my favourite because to me they offer a certain freedom that other baked goods don’t. You have to commit to a cake or a pie. A cookie, in my humble opinion, is innately free.

You can make them big or small.

You can sandwich them or not.

You can dip them in milk.

Last year, I had the chance to review Carole Walter’s Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More. Later in the year, I had the chance the review another Carole Walter’s book, Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets.

I’m a huge fan of Carole Walter‘s because to me, she is a baker’s baker. By that I mean that her books are perfect for helping the home baker produce truly worthy baked goods. While there are a lot of great baking books out there, some of them that claim to be geared to the home baker miss the mark.

Great Cookies won an IACP award in 2004 and rightly so. It’s a hardcore cookie book with recipes that cover every category from drop cookies to cut-out cookies.

Even though it was published in 2003, the recipes feature classics, some new cookies I’ve never seen before and lots of other cookies that are bound to please no matter how much time goes by.

While I was busy baking Christmas cookies, I was craving something old-fashioned and I found myself craving a good ol’ oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. In the days between Christmas and New Year’s, I cracked open Carole’s book and decided to try her recipe for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies only to discover that I had exhausted my supply of chocolate chips. In fact, I had no chocolate whatsoever in the house.

Scary times.

Anyway, I did have a bag of butterscotch chips hiding in a cupboard corner so I improvised and threw those in. Next to the bag of butterscotch chips was a half empty bag of toffee bits so I threw those in as well. And I also had some praline left from the December Daring Bakers’ challenge so I figured, what the heck, why not throw that into the batter too!

The end result was surprisingly good. I was worried the cookies might be too sweet but they weren’t. And after the heavier and more complex foods and desserts that we enjoyed during the holidays, it was really nice to settle down with these cookies and a glass of milk!

Hope you get a chance to check out Carole’s book!


Everything-in-the-Cupboard Oatmeal Cookies
Based on Carole Walter’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets.

Note: You can of course use chocolate chips or whatever add-ins you like. I made about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies with this recipe.

3/4 cup brown sugar
2-1/2 cups rolled oats (large flake)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup toffee bits
1/4 cup ground praline (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, process the brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of the oatmeal and the granulated sugar until it’s very fine; set aside.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, the salt and the baking soda. Add in the remaining oats and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and the corn syrup. Mix with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

With the mixture on low speed, add the processed oatmeal mixture and mix until combined.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.

With the mixture on low speed, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t overmix).

With a wooden spoon, mix in the chips, toffee bits and praline (if you’re using it).

Spoon dollops of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. You can make these as large or small as you like.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn if you’ve made small cookies). When they’re done they should be slightly golden around the edges.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let rest on a rack for 10 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let your cookie sheets cool and then repeat with the remaining batter.