Chewy Cherry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

All I wanted today was an oatmeal raisin cookie. Not just any kind, though. A big, fat oatmeal raisin cookie from Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side in New York City. But living 2000 miles away put a damper on that dream awfully quick. Unless I feel like ordering some, it looks like I’ll be waiting until the next time I’m in town.

Sadly, no other oatmeal raisin cookie will ever compare after the one I had last time I was there. So to satisfy my craving, I steered away from raisins, and tried another fruit. I bought a big bag of dried cherries the other day, so I used those, and added almond flour and almond extract since the flavors of almonds and cherries go together as well as peas and carrots—well, probably better. Almonds and cherries are much tastier than peas and carrots.

Oh, by the way, these are really . . . really . . . good. Next time I need a Levain fix, and I’m not in the city, these are what I’ll make.

Chewy Cherry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal (or substitute all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 cups oats (rolled or quick oats)*
2 cups dried tart cherries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and molasses until lighter in color and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Mix in extracts.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add in the oats, and mix until combined. Finally, mix in the dried cherries. Drop by big heaping tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Press down each cookie slightly with your hand or the bottom of a cup measure. Bake until slightly golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Let rest in the cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Enjoy slightly warm.

* I pulsed my rolled oats in a food processor for about 20 seconds to get a finer texture. But you don’t have to do that.

For more cherry ideas, take a look at this article about eating cherries in winter, and this slideshow —full of cherry recipes for winter.

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