“Healthier” Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

About midweek I had a baking craving. I’d been dreaming about Momofuko milkbar compost cookies for days. I love the idea of having a cookie base and then throwing in whatever you have in the pantry, or making up new combinations. Sort of like the baker’s Sunday evening casserole.
But when I’m just baking for myself, especially mid-week, I had to maintain some modicum of healthiness. Fortunately there are about a billion women out there with the exact same dilemma as me and at least as many recipes trying to put a healthy spin on a guilty classic. I poured over several recipes, but I picked this one to start from for a few reasons: they had chocolate and dried cherries in them, they didn’t use too many health-nut ingredients I had to go out in search of an (yes, this played a large part in the decision making since I was most likely going to ignore half the recipe anyway) they looked the most guilt-inducing, classic cookie gorgeous. We had a winner.
I had some coconut in the cupboard, so I added that in leiu of some of the brown sugar. I also cut half the almonds in with hazelnuts. Skipped the AP flour for all whole wheat and just put a tiny pinch more baking soda in. The cookies were knobbly, chewy, super flavorful and bore that guilt-free “healthy” tag that eliminates any excuse you tried to give yourself not to eat 10.

adapted from Let Them Eat Cake and Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
6 Tbsp butter
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut (if not sweetened add a bit more sugar or replace with an additional ¼ cup brown sugar)
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (I used almonds and hazelnuts)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350. In a the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl melt the butter, add the sugar and coconut (if using) and mix until well combined. Add the sugar mixture to the flour and oats and beat on medium speed. Add the vanilla and egg and continue to blend.
At this point your dough may look very crumbly, it should be ok. Make sure to beat well between each addition and keep at it. The baking soda will help the cookies rise and become more cohesive in the oven.
Pour in the cherries, nuts and chocolate chips, stir on low until each is just combined. Spoon out tablespoon-ish sized dollops of dough and place about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges start to turn golden. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving to wire racks (since there is so much stuff in each cookie it helps to leave them on the baking sheet until they solidify a bit more).

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