Oh man, these cookies are good. You might not be a coconut person (I’m not!), but you can still love these cookies. There’s something about the hint of coconut that tastes so good with the oatmeal, and of course some high quality chocolate makes nearly everything taste better.
Cookies like these are what I think of when I imagine the perfect after-school snack (two on a plate with a tall glass of milk). I know to a lot of people these cookies aren’t healthy enough to merit such a designation, but I guess in this sense I have a somewhat unconventional definition of healthy. To me, a dessert (even a proper one made with traditional amounts of sugar), when served in limited amounts and made out of natural ingredients, is a part of an overall healthy diet.
My kids eat a healthy breakfast, a healthy lunch, and a healthy dinner, so I think it’s nice for them to have a treat after school. And if it’s a homemade treat, well then, I feel so good about it that I practically consider it a healthy snack! (Even if the recipe does have 2 total cups of sugar in it . . . .)
Regular Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies just don’t do it for me anymore. (I know, such a snob, but they get so crispy right away!) With this coconut oil and oatmeal version of the traditional chocolate chip cookie, the coconut oil and oatmeal work together to make the texture the perfect amount of chewiness. They’re even better the next day, which is pretty amazing for a cookie.
Freezing the dough balls ahead of time adds to this chewy texture, I think. Plus, it lets me feel the irrational but powerful good-mommy vibes from being able to make homemade cookies at a moment’s notice. My dream would to be to always have a big bag of frozen homemade dough balls in the freezer (if the kids have a bad day at school! for every playdate!), but this doesn’t happen for some reason. My dreams tend to outpace my initiative like that.
I first started baking with extra virgin coconut oil when I saw it at Costco and read about its benefits on this handy cheat sheet about healthy vs. unhealthy fats. I now often substitute one-quarter of the butter called for in a recipe with coconut oil. Extra virgin coconut oil is healthier than butter, but I don’t use more than that because any more will impart a coconut flavor to the finished product, which I normally don’t want. With these cookies, however, I actually like the hint of coconut, so I use half butter and half coconut oil.
If you just want standard oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, you can use one-quarter cup coconut oil and three-quarters of a cup of butter. That little bit of coconut oil will still improve the texture of the cookie.
Coconut oil is different from butter in that it has a lower melting point (somewhere around 76°F). In my house in Austin, this means that in the summer, sitting on the pantry shelf, my coconut oil turns to liquid, but by winter, it’s hardened again into an opaque, white solid. Sometimes it lives in an in between state: liquid with a bunch of lumps.
I haven’t had an issue using it in any of its states; I simply scoop it into a dry measuring cup if it’s solid and pour it into a liquid measuring cup if it’s liquid. Although it does make the dough a little looser if the oil is fully melted, this hasn’t been a problem. If you find the dough difficult to spoon into balls, you can always place it in the refrigerator for a bit first.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ c butter
½ c coconut oil
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 T milk
2 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2½ c oatmeal (regular, not instant)
2 c semi-sweet, high quality chocolate chips (a 12-oz. bag; I like Guittard and Costco’s in-house brand)
Cream together the butter, coconut oil, and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs, followed by the milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the dough until just incorporated—stop when you see the white parts disappear. Mix in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough in 1 inch mounds onto a cookie sheet, packing in as many cookies as you can. (For easy clean-up, line cookie sheet with parchment paper first.) Put the cookie sheet (uncovered is fine) in the freezer for about half an hour, or until the dough balls are hard. Remove the frozen balls of dough from the cookie sheet, place them into a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag, and freeze.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the oven is preheated, place frozen dough balls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for about 16 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and still light brown in the center. Cool on wire racks.
Makes about 5 dozen.
- Taking them out at the right time is the trick with these cookies. They should be starting to brown on the edges, but the center should look maybe just a smidge underdone.
- My new favorite way to bake cookies is with parchment paper. I bake the cookies on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet, and when they come out of the oven, I simply lift the entire piece of paper (carefully) off the cookie sheet and place onto the wire rack. If you do it this way—baking frozen dough balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets—there is not a single dish to wash!
- It would be easy to adapt this cookie to your family’s tastes. This recipe has quite a lot of chocolate chips (because I love it that way), but you could sub out some of the chocolate for raisins or other dried fruit, or you could add chopped nuts.
© Amy Daniewicz
My Favorite Exceptions is my monthly food feature highlighting one of my favorite (and usually original) dessert recipes. Once I realized that eating desserts added unwanted padding to my hips, I decided I’d better not eat desserts anymore. However, I could never follow a rule that strict (or punitive!), so I made an exception: if I go to the trouble to make the dessert myself, then I can eat it. Each month I share one of my favorite exceptions with you.
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