Showing posts with label oatmeal cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oatmeal cookies. Show all posts

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Debut Author Maya Corrigan Offers #Oatmeal Cran Pecan #Cookies #Recipe #Giveaway

Thank you to Lucy/Roberta for inviting me to write a guest post on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I feel like I know all of you through your books and recipes, as well as from panels at mystery conventions. On November 4th my first mystery comes out, By Cook or by Crook, the debut title in the Five-Ingredient Mystery series. The series features Val Deniston, a former cookbook publicist.

Val left New York City after a car accident nearly killed her celebrity chef passenger and doomed her career. Now living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in a tourist town near the Chesapeake Bay, she runs the Cool Down Café at an athletic club and tests recipes for her long-planned cookbook. When a club patron is found dead, Val cooks up a scheme to expose the murderer who framed her cousin.

While Val investigates five suspects and uncovers five key clues, Granddad takes up cooking, creating havoc in the kitchen even when trying recipes that have only five ingredients. In a reaction against the elaborate gourmet dishes of celebrity chefs, Val prefers recipes “the average person could make in less time than it took to watch a TV cooking show.” By Cook or by Crook includes 8 five-ingredient recipes.

Having boxed myself in with the five-ingredient blueprint, I relish the chance to share a recipe on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen with more ingredients than that . . . but not a lot more. Oatmeal cookies are comfort food perfect for all seasons, but this version with dried cranberries, cider spices, and pecans suits the autumn and winter holidays particularly well.

Oatmeal Cran Pecan Cookies
Yield: approximately 50 cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

½ cup butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large or extra large unbeaten egg
1 cup uncooked rolled oats (or quick oats)
¾ cup unsifted flour
1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp double-acting baking powder

½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans


Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the oatmeal and flour. Mix well.
Combine the spices and baking powder in a separate bowl and add them to the butter mixture.
Fold in the cranberries and chopped pecans.
Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, spacing them two inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool them on a rack.

Note: The cookies shown in the photo are only a fraction of the ones this recipe yields. Certain members of my family got to the batch before I had a chance to take a picture of them. You gotta expect that with oatmeal cookies.
Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland's Eastern Shore, the setting for her series. When not reading and writing, she enjoys travel, tennis, trivia, cooking, and crosswords. Her website features food trivia and quizzes on mysteries.

NOTE FROM LUCY: Doesn't this all sound delicious? And Maya is offering a galley copy to one lucky commenter for her brand new mystery, BY COOK OR BY CROOK. JUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN THE COMMENT TO BE ENTERED!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cleo Coyle’s Oatmeal Cookie Brittle (No Flour or Butter) + Win $25 in Penzeys Spices

We're celebrating cooking with Penzeys spices! One lucky commenter on this post has won a $25.00 shopping spree of Penzeys spices (in stores, by phone, or online). The runner-up has won a large bottle of apple pie spice, which is featured in this recipe. Winners will be announced here in my new blog post on Tuesday, December 13th!

Cleo Coyle, who thinks
spice is the spice of life,
 is author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries.
The holidays in my big, Italian family were always gastronomically glorious. Several of my relatives were in the food or restaurant business and my aunts, great aunts, and cousins were all excellent cooks, most of whom took pride in giving trays of homemade Italian cookies as holiday gifts.

I learned much growing up at the knees of these folks, and (no surprise) I was a chunky monkey through much of my girlhood. Over the years, the bathroom scale has gone up and down, but I’ve never let it kill my joy of cooking and eating. The older I become, the more I channel my foodie passion into experimenting with recipes, challenging myself to make them lighter and healthier—without giving up the pleasure of flavor. 

Of course, I still enjoy baking up decadent treats. To see the many (mainly chocolate) recipes featured in my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha, like these ganache-dipped chocolate chip cookie dough bites, click here. :)

For today, however, I’m sharing a somewhat healthier cookie option for your holiday trays: Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle. There 
is no flour in my recipe yet the cookie is delightfully crispy and chewy. There is no butter yet the caramelization in the baking makes the cookie taste buttery. It’s also packed with the heart-healthy whole grain of oatmeal, the wonderful Omega-3 nutrition of walnuts and the antioxidants of raisins.

(I know, I know!) So the cookies have a great personality. How do they taste? My husband, Marc, who often cooks with me, declared this one of the best oatmeal treats he’s ever eaten. Certainly, if you prefer your oatmeal cookies thick and soft, you won't agree—and might be happier using the “drop cookie” instructions I provide instead. But if you’re game for a thin, crisp yet chewy cookie that’s full of flavor, the brittle may work for you.

This recipe is also pretty versatile. You can keep it healthy and simple or you can tart it up for holiday or dessert trays, adding toffee bits, Craisins, butterscotch and/or white chocolate chips.

You’ll notice I’m using Penzeys apple pie spice in this recipe. Like my fellow bloggers, I find Penzeys herbs and spices to be of the highest quality and potency. You can certainly make your own apple pie spice by blending spices in your own kitchen (and I give you a quick recipe for it today), but I find buying the blend pre-mixed is a time saver.

(Read more about today’s Penzeys giveaways after my recipe below.)


Finally, this recipe calls for “quick cooking oats,” and in case any of you are wondering…

QUESTION: What’s the difference between Quick Cooking Oats, Rolled Oats, and Steel Cut Oats? Is one “healthier” than the other? Can I substitute one for another in a recipe? 

ANSWER: (1) Steel cut oats (left) are whole oats that have been chopped up a bit. (2) Rolled oats (center) are whole oats that have been steamed and rolled flat. (3) Quick cooking oats (which is what this recipe calls for) are rolled oats that have been chopped up even further so they'll cook faster. 

All three of these oats carry nearly the same amount of fiber and nutrition. The primary difference among them is in how they’re cut. Read more hereAs for recipes, do not substitute. Any recipe the specifies a certain kind of oats is attempting to create a specific texture in the end product, so substituting one type for another will produce less than optimum results. 

Cleo Coyle’s
Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle
(Or drop cookies)

As readers of this blog know, whole grained oats and I are old friends. For today’s recipe, I’m employing the same technique I used in my Oatmeal Cookie Muffins. (For a PDF of that recipe, click here.)

The technique is simply this: I soak the oats overnight. This hydrates the oats, allowing the mixture to develop great flavor and the proper texture for the recipe. The next day, I simply stir in a few more ingredients and then bake the whole thing as a large, flat pan cookie. It hardens as it cools. Then I’ll either break it up like brittle or cut it into shapes with a pizza cutter. You can also create drop cookies from this recipe, just be sure to flatten them out with the crisscross of fork tongs before cooking. 

To download a PDF copy of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here

My highly sophisticated method for finely
chopping nuts: Seal whole walnuts in a
plastic bag and bang away. Whole
walnuts are less expensive than
pre-chopped and can't we all use a
little primal pounding therapy before
the holidays?
Makes about 24 pieces of brittle or 2 dozen drop cookies 


For the overnight mix:

2 cups “quick cooking” oatmeal (not instant, not rolled)

1 cup light brown sugar 
1/3 cup apple sauce (natural, 
no-sugar added) 
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil 
1-1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice (I use Penzeys; you can also mix your own, see how below**) 

For the next day additions: 

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (chop first, and then measure)
1/4 cup raisins

Tasty variations: Replace raisins with Craisins or dried cranberries; replace walnuts with finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts.

Holiday add-ins: 1/4 cup toffee bits (such as Heath brand Bits ’O Brickle). In addition, try adding 1/2 cup butterscotch chips; OR 1/2 cup white chocolate chips; OR split the amount, adding 1/4 cup of butterscotch and 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips.

**Make Your own Apple Pie Spice (from For every 1 teaspoon mix the following spices: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (some cooks replace cardamom with ginger)


Step 1 – Overnight soak: Into a plastic container, stir together the quick-cooking oats, light brown sugar, apple sauce, oil, and apple pie spice. Mix until well combined. Seal the plastic container and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Do not skip this step. You must allow the oats to hydrate and the flavors to develop. (Do not soak longer than 48 hours.) 

Step 2 – Create the dough: Add in the egg, salt, vanilla, finely chopped walnuts, and raisins. Mix well. (If you are adding any other optional extras, fold them in at this time.) 

Step 3 – Line your pan: Preheat oven to 350º F. Very important: You must line a baking sheet or half-sheet pan with parchment paper. If you do not line the pan, you will not be able to lift the brittle off the hot pan and cool it properly. 

Step 4 – Flatten the dough: The secret to this cookie is spreading it very thin. So dump the dough onto the lined pan and use a fork (yes a fork, it works best) to flatten the dough into an extremely thin layer (around 1/8 inch). 

Step 5 – Bake and cool: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cookie is done when it turns a light brown, feels fairly firm to the touch in the center, and is crisp around its edges. (See my photos.) Remove pan from oven and see below for options on cutting. 

Option A - Break like brittle: Slide the parchment paper off the hot pan and onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. You can speed up this process by sliding the rack into the refrigerator. Once the cookie is hard, break it into pieces with your hands, as you would peanut brittle. To keep the brittle from become too dry or stale, store it sealed in a plastic container. 

Option B - Slice into shapes: For this option, you'll want to under-bake the brittle slightly, leaning more toward 25 minutes rather than 30. When the pan cookie is finished baking, slide it, parchment paper and all, onto a cutting board. Quickly, while the pan cookie is still warm, use a pizza cutter to slice off the rough ends off the cookie, creating a straight edge on all four sides. Now slice up the warm cookie. Cut first into large squares. Then slice the squares into diagonals to create triangles. Once it's completely cool, store it sealed in a plastic container. 

(Option B - Sliced into Triangles)

Option C - Drop Cookies: Instead of making one big pan cookie, you can simply drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto a lined baking sheet. With the prongs of a fork, crisscross each mound to flatten, much as you would a traditional peanut butter cookie. Bake for about 15 minutes. 

The drop cookies in my photos are all dressed up for the holidays and include my optional add-ins: butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and toffee bits. 

Apple Pie Spice

Penzeys makes its Apple Pie Spice from a mix of China and Korintje cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. Frankly, I didn’t know the difference between China and Korintje cinnamon, but Penzeys catalog educated me. China Cinnamon (Tung Hing) is extra sweet, spicy and strong. Indonesia Cinnamon (Korintje) is as strong as China cinnamon but smoother, more mellow, and not as nippy. I love the two cinnamons working together to give the best flavor possible to my cookies.

As is obvious, simply reading the Penzeys catalog (which includes info and recipes) is a joy. It’s free and you can subscribe to it here via their online site. If you win the $25.00 Penzeys gift card, you can order your herbs and spices through their website, drop by their stores, or order by phone via their catalog. Then you can cook and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hope Street Mysteries

We are thrilled that Jennifer Stanley is joining us today! Jennifer is known for her delightful Supper Club Mysteries, and this month, she's launching a new series called Hope Street Mysteries. Check out her website at for more information on this series …where good folks study The Good Book, but everyone loves a good mystery!

Publisher's Weekly says "Stanley's faith-based crime detection has plenty of charming appeal.”

Even better, Jennifer is giving away a signed copy of her new book, Stirring Up Strife, to one lucky person who leaves a comment today!


When I joined my first Bible Study two years ago I expected to read a lot of Scripture and do a great deal of soul-searching. I had no idea I would also encounter the most amazing baked goods on heaven or earth!

No one can bake like a church lady. Sorry, but Emeril and Rachael Ray have nothin’ on a bunch of women who’ve been baking cookies, breads, coffee cakes, sausage spirals, casseroles, and pastries since I was in diapers.

That’s why baked goods feature so prominently in Stirring Up Strife, the first of the Hope Street Church Mysteries. The main character, Cooper Lee, lives with her parents. Her mother, Magnolia Lee, bakes gourmet cookies for a living so I spent weeks baking and testing recipes. (No worries - I only gained five pounds)! The three best are featured at the end of the book.

In fact, each of the Hope Street Books will contain three recipes, but I plan to post more on my website throughout the year. (See HYPERLINK "" for recipes from the Hope Street Books and the Supper Club mysteries).

Publisher’s Weekly can do a better job telling you about Stirring Up Strife, so I’ll leave it to them:
“The lighthearted first Hope Street Church mystery introduces 32-year-old Cooper Lee as she grapples with the end of a five-year romance. Despite the best efforts of her loving sister and grandmother, the Richmond, Va., office machine technician can't muster the enthusiasm to move on. When a client, Brooke Hughes, invites Cooper to attend a service at her church, Cooper decides it's a good opportunity to mingle with a new crowd. On her first visit to the imposing church, Cooper is welcomed into the Sunday morning Sunrise Bible Study group and learns that Brooke has been murdered and the police are holding her husband as the prime suspect. The Sunrise members believe him innocent and sweep up Cooper in pursuit of the real killer. Stanley's faith-based crime detection has plenty of charming appeal.”
Now I’d love to ask you a question: What is your absolute favorite baked good? Anyone who posts a comment will be entered to win a signed copy of Stirring Up Strife!

Good luck and thank you for letting me stop by today! Here’s a cookie recipe to cure the winter blues:

Magnolia’s Marvels: Comfort Cookies

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup sweet & tart dried cherries (Maggie uses Sunsweet)
3 cups oatmeal, quick cook or old fashioned

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In large bowl, cream sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Gently stir in flour mixture and then stir in dried fruit. When well mixed, stir in oatmeal.
Drop by the tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet before placing on racks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Healthier Oatmeal Cookie

First a shout-out of thanks to Rene Lynch, the Assistant Food Editor of the Los Angeles Times! Thank you, Rene, for the nice mention in the column this week! Woot! To see the LA Times column where Mystery Lovers' Kitchen was mentioned, click here.
And now here is...

A “good for you” cookie
that’s still a good cookie!

Who doesn’t love cookies? I certainly do, and so does my amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi. In Espresso Shot, Clare describes the deliciously decadent Italian cookies she plans to serve with some of the world’s rarest coffees at her ex-husband’s wedding. (And, yes, I include two of those Italian wedding cookie recipes at the back of that book.) In the recipe section of Holiday Grind, you’ll find many more cookie recipes courtesy of Clare and her baristas. But let’s be real...

Now that the New Year is here, most of us are resolving to choose lower calorie options to fattening snacks. My “healthier” oatmeal cookie recipe attempts to do just that. Sure, you can find oatmeal cookie recipes everywhere—even on the underside of a Quaker Oats box lid. But beware: most traditional recipes are full of butter, sugar, and white flour.

*My recipe reduces the sugar and cuts the butter in half. It also cuts down on the white flour, replacing it with more healthy whole grain oats. So what’s the big deal about whole grains? For one thing, fiber-rich whole grains take longer to break down in your body, which means your glucose levels will remain more constant instead of shooting up and crashing down (so you won’t be craving another snack an hour later). With a warm cuppa joe, one or two of these cookies are very filling, curbing the appetite between meals. But what I really love about this healthier cookie is its versatility.

For friends or family who crave more decadence, just dress up some of them with my maple glaze. Now a single batch of cookies can satisfy the weight-watcher and the sweet-lover. For more recipe ideas, or to find out more about my Coffeehouse Mysteries, visit my Web site:

Cleo Coyle’s Healthier*
Oatmeal Cookies

To get a printable version
of these recipes,

Servings: 3 to 4 dozen, depending on size


1-1/2 cup raisins (+ water to soak)
3-1/2 cups Oats (I use Quaker old fashioned)
½ cup butter*
½ cup white sugar*
½ cup light brown sugar*
3/4 cup all-purpose white flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1-½ teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs (beaten with a fork)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup applesauce (I use the no-sugar added kind)
1 cup chopped walnuts

*My recipe uses half the butter & white flour and less sugar than traditional recipes.

(1) Soak your raisins: Measure out your raisins, place them in a bowl, and cover with plain water. Let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes then drain. You’ll now have a plumper, moister raisin for your cookie.

(2) Create your oat flour: Measure out oats, run through a blender or food processor until the rough oats have the consistency of all-purpose flour.

(3) Melt butter and sugars: In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Do not let brown or burn! Add white and light brown sugars, stirring frequently to keep mixture from burning. When ingredients are melted into a smooth liquid, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.

(4) Marry dry and wet ingredients: Into a mixing bowl, measure out white flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add oat flour that you made in Step 2. Add the butter & sugar mixture that you melted together in Step 3. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Stir into a smooth batter. Finally, fold in your drained raisins and the chopped walnuts. Do not over mix, but make sure all of the dry ingredients are fully blended into the wet.

(5) Chill, drop & bake: Chill loose dough for 30 minutes to firm up. If you make the cookies right away without chilling the dough, they will bake flatter, which you may prefer anyway. Experiment with what appeals to you. Bake on a lined or greased baking sheet, in an oven pre-heated to 350° Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. Cookies are done when tops have firmed up. If cookie is still wet and spongy when touched, keep baking.

(6) Optional Maple Glaze: For a dressy, slightly more decadent touch, frost some or all of your cooled little heart-healthy oat cakes with an easy maple glaze. See next page for recipe.

Cleo Coyle’sMaple Glaze
This glaze is delicious on oatmeal cookies. It’s also great on muffins and quick breads. Try it on banana, pumpkin, carrot, or spice varieties.

Ingredients:2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons butter

(1) Heat liquids: In a non-stick saucepan, warm water and maple syrup over medium heat.

(2) Melt sugar: Add powdered sugar to the warm liquid. Using a rubber spatula, stir constantly as the sugar melts to create a smooth, loose glaze

(3) Thicken with butter**: Add in the butter, continuing to stir until the butter is completely melted. As the butter melts, you’ll see the glaze thicken. Remove from heat and work quickly with a spoon or pastry brush to glaze your cooled cookies or muffins.

CLEO’S TIP: WORK QUICKLY! The glaze will harden as it cools. If the glaze hardens up on you as you work, reheat again over medium heat, stirring until you regain a smooth consistency.

**NOTE: If you think you can cut calories by omitting the butter in this recipe, think again. Without the butter, what you’ll get is a sticky mess of clear syrup on your cookies and not true glaze that dries properly. Believe me, I’ve tried to reduce fat and calories by leaving out the butter, but it just does not work without it!

A Note for Waistline Watchers: My last batch of oatmeal cookies produced 43 cookies. Here’s what the glaze added per cookie: about 1/8 teaspoon of butter per cookie (less than what you’d use on a slice of toast); a little less than 2 teaspoons of sugar per cookie (about as much as many people put in a single cup of coffee); and a trace amount of maple syrup. Not bad for an afternoon coffee break snack!

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Mystery Scene Magazine: "Coyle's greatest strength is writing characters that feel real. Clare and company are some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read...Coyle also is a master of misdirection and red herrings. I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all."

Kirkus:“Coyle’s coffeehouse mysteries (Espresso Shot, etc.) are packed with believable characters and topped with serious coffee lore and holiday recipes. This one will keep your cup piping hot.”