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, of course, 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 has never 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.
In a festive nod to the holidays, I’ve spruced up the basic recipe with chocolate and orange, a combination that plays beautifully together.
They’ll stay fresh for several weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, which allows you to keep eating when your guests and the holidays are gone, but your cravings remain!
Chocolate Orange Lace Cookies
Start to finish: 50 minutes (30 minutes active)
Makes 2 dozen cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
11/4 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the 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.
Scoop the dough a tablespoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, arranging them about 2 inches apart and about 12 per baking sheet.
Use the back of a spoon to lightly press down on each mound to slightly flatten it.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, on the oven’s center rack until the edges are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack immediately and let them cool completely.