Oat-y Apricot Maple Cookies

The beginning of the school year, whether you are in school or not, typically signifies a rapidly waning summer and the beginning of all that we love about autumn: brightly colored, crispy leaves, slowly cooling temperatures, apple orchards abundant with produce and football Sundays.  At least that’s what Illinois had to offer every year growing up.  However, the separation of seasons here in Northern California seems to exist in name only.  Just last week we experienced record-setting temperatures in the 100s and we’re due to hit the mid-90s again by this weekend!  How is this possible?  When Starbucks is advertising their Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’m still craving my iced coffee.

So, in an effort to kick off the fall season, I’ve adapted my vegan chocolate chip cookie to reflect its flavors.  I was inspired by a recipe in my “flourless.” cookbook which called for oats, walnuts, dried apricots and ginger.  After two failed attempts making them gluten-free, this third attempt gets it right, but uses whole wheat flour.  No big deal.  I’m extremely happy with this final batch as these cookies turned out hearty yet chewy, warmed with spices and punctuated with the subtle spice of crystallized ginger.  Oat Maple Cookies

(Inspired by Vogue)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ cup rolled oats {gluten-free, if needed}
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar
  • ½ cup (packed) muscovado sugar
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2-3 small pieces of crystalized ginger per cookie, for topping

RECIPE

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the oats, chopped apricots and walnuts to the flour mixture and toss to coat.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the canola oil, maple syrup and water until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes.  If there are clumps, break them up with the back of a spoon or your hand before whisking.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and then stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.

Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Do not skip this step!

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion dough into 2-inch mounds.  For perfectly round cookies, I take the extra step and roll them between my hands until they’re smooth dough balls.  I recommend freezing the balls of dough for 5 minutes before baking so the cookies will retain their shape better in the oven.

Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse-grained sea salt (if freezing, remove balls of dough from the freezer first), and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake.

Let cool completely before serving.

**Note: If you find the dough to be a bit dry or crumbly after being refrigerated (which I did), don’t worry!  Just add a bit of water or oil, ~1 tbs at a time,  to the dough and mix with your hands until incorporated and moistened.**

Maple Oat Cookies 3

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