I was a happy little butterball when I was a kid. Sweets were my thing, desserts in particular. And chocolate desserts most of all.
The one exception to the rule? My grandmother’s oatmeal cookies.
They were sweet, but also lacy and crispy. Back then, I didn’t know or care that oatmeal cookies were a healthier choice than most other treats (thanks to the oats, which are a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients). But healthfulness alone never has done it for me.
This is an embellished rendition of Grandma Ruth’s cookies. We start with a pure base: oatmeal, butter, white sugar, a whole egg and vanilla extract. No low-fat ingredients.
I firmly believe that a modest serving of a full-fat, full-sugar dessert is more enjoyable than a larger serving of something with no fat or fake sugar.
I’ve spruced up the basic recipe with chocolate and orange, a combination that plays beautifully together. Bittersweet chocolate chips are my chocolate of choice, but you can substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”
Chocolate Orange Lace Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
2 tbls. unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup plus 3 tbls. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbl. freshly grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
1¼ cups rolled oats
1 tsp. double-acting baking powder
1⁄8 tsp. table salt
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.
In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and orange zest, then beat until light and fluffy, about another 4 minutes. In another medium bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
Measure dough by tablespoon and place onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on each mound with back of spoon to slightly flatten it. Bake one sheet at a time, on the oven’s center rack until the edges are browned, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack immediately and let them cool completely.
Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories (25 calories from fat = 50 percent of total calories); 3 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated; 0 gram trans fats); 10 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrate (1 gram fiber; 4 grams sugar); 1 gram protein; 40 milligrams sodium.