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Recipes / Holly Haines’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies

Holly Haines’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies

By Kerri Conan

Published December 11, 2023

I’ve made this cookie no less than 10 times in last two weeks, and let me tell you how it’s the oatmeal cookie of my dreams — crispy edges; chewy centers; a nice hint of spice from the cinnamon and a surprise hit of cardamom that makes you say “oh, what’s that?”; lots of dried cherries because why choose raisins when cherries are right there; and candied pecans for crunchy moments.

Photo: Holly Haines
Photo: Holly Haines
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A lot going on here, and this isn’t the usual “mix it all in one bowl” recipe — Holly has steps — but THE RESULTS.

Some important notes:

Browning the butter. A slightly different technique here from my other cookie recipes: instead of browning half the butter and melting in the other half, brown half of the butter, then pour it in a bowl with the remaining un-melted butter and let sit for 10 minutes. This gives the browned butter enough time to cool and brings the remaining cold butter down to room temperature. The softened butter helps it whip up with some volume. I think this helps give the cookie shatteringly crisp edges once they cool, and I’m kind of obsessed.

Chill the dough. Don’t skip this step or it’ll be a hot flat mess. There’s a lot of butter in here, and it needs to be solid before baking. Form the dough into balls before chilling. Have you ever tried to form chilled dough into balls? Annoying!

Round ‘em off. While I usually say rounding off the cookies (see the video) is an optional step, it’s essential for the texture of this cookie. It enhances the crispy edginess and the chewy centerness of the whole thing and makes them nice and thick. Please don’t skip.

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Make The Recipe!

Holly Haines’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies

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Makes 12 cookies 1x

Time About 45 minutes, plus chill time

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (227g) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup (160g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp (15g) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp (5g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups (135g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not steel-cut)
  • 1 cup (135g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (140g) dried, pitted cherries
  • 1 cup (120g) chopped candied pecans
  • flaky sea salt (like Maldon), for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Brown the butter: In a small saucepan over medium heat, place half (1/2 cup) the butter. Swirl the pan as it cooks; the solids will turn golden brown (very quickly — watch it the whole time) and it’ll smell nice and nutty, about 3-5 minutes. Put the browned butter in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, scraping in brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 1/2 cup butter to the bowl and let sit 10 minutes to let the browned butter cool. While the butter cools, measure out the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Make the dough: Add 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar into the butter and beat in using a stand mixer or hand mixer — low speed at first so butter doesn’t fly everywhere, then increase to medium high — until creamy and increased in volume by 50% or so, about 6 minutes. Add 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat together for about a minute.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats and 1 cup flour. Add to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix at low speed until just combined. Stir in 1 cup cherries and 1 cup chopped pecans.
  4. Divide dough into 12 balls, about 100 grams or 1/2 cup each. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours, or freeze 30 minutes, until the dough is solid and chilled throughout.
  5. Bake the cookies: Toward the end of the chilling time, preheat oven to 350°F. Place cookies on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart, no more than 4 cookies staggered on a baking sheet, as they spread quite a bit. Bake 17 to 19 minutes, until the edges are browned, there are some browned spots on the top of the cookies, and the center is slightly puffed but still quite soft.
  6. Remove from the oven. Immediately out of the oven, use a round container with 4- to 5-inches diameter, like a deli container or a mason jar lid or a ring mold, and use the edge of the container to gently push the edges of the cookie toward its center. Once the cookie is “squished” up enough to fit inside the container, swirl the cookies around the inside of the container to get them perfectly round. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and let rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then place on a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. (Note: Don’t place cookie dough on a hot baking sheet, use a different one from the one just out of the oven or cookies will bake unevenly). Keep leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. The unbaked dough also freezes quite well, kept in an airtight container.

— Recipe developed by Holly Haines