It all started with a new pair of shoes.
Digress with me, if you will, a few weeks back. As you may recall, morning is not my forte, but it was Friday morning and I was feeling confident and sturdy in my new, shiny kicks. I was feeling so confident, in fact, that I decided to risk a dash to the cafeteria between patients for a caffeine refill. Mistake #1. It was just your run of the mill caffeine inspired stroll until I rounded the corner, the flooring landscape changed from tile to what I can only assume was an oil slick and my heel connected with newly finished flooring. And just like that, with a move that may soon be featured by the 2016 Olympic gymnastic team, I found myself sprawled on the floor. This, of course, was perfect timing for a co-worker to turn the corner and, upon finding me lying in a stunned heap, ask me not if I was OK, but if I’d been drinking. As I pondered the extent of my injuries and wondered if antibiotic prophylaxis would be prudent after sharing such an intimate moment with the hospital floor, I began to wish that that had been the case.
In addition to inspiring a reconsideration of my sway from my tried and true Danskos for hospital footwear, my accidental, failed triple axle got me thinking about texture. Who knew that texture had the potential to be such a deal breaker? And not just in being the difference between allowing a person to remain up-right versus belly flopping onto tile: texture is universally critical in function (sandpaper would be much less effective as just paper), aesthetics (is frizzy hair in yet? I keep hoping.) and, least we forget, food. A freshman year suite-mate refused to eat bananas because she hated the texture. I found that odd (as I did her stories of being the self-proclaimed president of the Perfect Club in middle school, for which members had laminated ID cards) – I mean, it’s a banana for heaven’s sake. But then, a few years later, someone tried to get me to eat an oyster and I realized that I would rather lose an arm to a shark with only molars than swallow a raw oyster. And then I understood. At least about the texture aversion. I’m still a no-go on the Perfect Club, though it helps explain why I don’t have the fondest memories of middle school.
True to theme, in these cookies, texture is everything. The cookie itself is soft and chewy, but then you snag a piece of toasted pecan and everything changes. They’re spiced like fall, balanced by chocolate and with a little oatmeal to make you think maybe – just maybe – they’re healthy. With their chunky, wholesome landscape, they are perfectly, wonderfully textured. I first made these to satiate a late night cookie craving and I will be making them again and again, assuming I don’t kill myself walking down the hall.
Toasted Pecan, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Only slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
- 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking pan with parchment or baking mat.
- Mix butter and sugars, 1/2 cup of sugar at a time.
- Add vanilla and eggs, 1 egg at a time.
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time and mix.
- Stir in oats, pecans and chocolate.
- Spoon onto baking pan.
- Bake 11-3 minutes, until tops are lightly golden.
- Cool on wire rack.
- In a pinch you can skip toasting the pecans and use raw, but you will be missing out in a big way. Toasting the pecans takes these cookies from a oatmeal chocolate chip montage to a flavor masterpiece.