Saturday, September 27, 2014

Everything but the Kitchen "Curtain" Cookies & The Lost Art of Gift Giving

It seems with the all of the advancements made in technology these days, we've lost some of the personal touches that make us human. 

I was discussing with a friend this past week how the younger generation prefers texting and gift cards over handwritten letters, cards and taking the time to actually hand select a gift for someone. 

Personally, I prefer to give something I've made from the heart and for me that usually involves baking! 

Friday was my friend Colleen's birthday and these "Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies" are one of her favorite cookies. I can easily see why! They are chock full of goodness - rolled oats, dark chocolate chunks, toasted walnuts, coconut, Special K cereal and dried cherries (which are my own personal touch to the original recipe). 

Colleen loves these cookies so much she even offered to make curtains for my kitchen in exchange for a batch. So I've renamed the cookies "Everything but the Kitchen Curtain" Cookies in her honor.

Happy birthday Colleen! I wish you many more! I promise one of these days I'll pick out the fabric for those curtains...

Kitchen "Curtain" Cookies
Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'connor
Makes approx 2 dozen large size cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar (be sure to use dark brown)
2 large eggs room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups walnut halves, toasted & cooled (be sure to use halves, not chopped or pieces)
2 cups Special K Cereal
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups ghiradelli dark chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups good quality dried cherries


Preheat oven to 350f and line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, toasted walnut halves, Special K Cereal, oa ts,dark chocolate chips and cherries, Toss to combine. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using your hand mixer), mix the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy (approx 2 minutes).

Beat in the eggs one at a time at low speed mixing well after each addition.

Mix in the vanilla extract at low speed until combined.

Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed just until combined.

Pour in the chocolate/oatmeal/coconut mixture and fold in the ingredients using a rubber spatula or large spoon until combined.

Using a large cookie scoop, place balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Since these are big cookies, I only put 6 balls of dough onto each sheet to prevent overcrowding. Flatten slightly with your fingertips.

Bake approximately 12-15 minutes until the edges are browned and the centers look just set (rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time). Don't overbake. Remember, the cookies will continue to bake on the baking sheet while they are cooling.

Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet on a wire cooling rack for approx 3 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and place on wire cooling rack to cool completely. Or enjoy warm!

Store leftovers at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 2 days.

There are several ingredients in the recipe that are essential to the flavor and texture of these cookies. Please don't skip them!
1. Be sure to use walnut halves and to toast them before baking. The large chunks of walnuts add a lot of crunch to these cookies and toasting them beforehand really enhances the flavor. You will notice the difference!
2. The coconut and Special K cereal are essential to the chewy texture of these cookies. Even if you're not a fan of coconut, you don't even notice it's in there.
3. Definitely use Dark Brown sugar. Again, important to the flavor and texture of the cookie.

Of course, you're welcome to make your own changes, but the outcome of your cookies will be different. Just sayin....

One last tip - I always bake my cookies on insulated baking sheets. I highly recommend them! They ensure your cookies bake evenly and help to prevent over baking. No more burnt cookie bottoms!

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