My friend Hallie just moved into my building, which has been wonderful in so many ways. While I was on vacation last week, she kindly offered to pick up my mail and newspapers and hold them for me. Going above and beyond the call of duty, she even retrieved her mother's Dining Section for me when my Wednesday paper disappeared!
To thank her, I decided to show off my newly acquired baking skills (not that they are fantastic or anything, but I do think I'm getting the hang of it). Since it was much chillier on my walk home than expected, I skipped the grocery store and decided to use what I had in the pantry to bake. I ended up with Ina Garten's Pecan Oatmean Raisin Cookies, from her book Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.
Using Ina's own mantra, I decided to "turn up the volume" on her recipe by adding extra spices, almond extract, and replacing the raisins and pecans with chopped dates and walnuts. They turned out very tasty, if I do say so myself, and made the perfect thank you gift.
Walnut Date Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Ina Garten
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped dates
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Toast the walnuts by placing them in a dry pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until you can really smell their flavor. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
4. Slowly beat in the egg and extracts.
5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and spices, then slowly beat into the butter mixture.
6. Stir in the oats, dates, and walnuts until just combined.
7. Scoop tablespoon sized balls of the dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack or wax paper.