My husband thinks we have way. too. many. leftovers in the refrigerator. What he sees as a scrap that should be tossed, I see as a paint to play with on my artist’s palette. I’ll admit our refrigerator gets pretty crowded with containers of things I have no idea how I’ll use, but I love the rush of creativity as I pull them together into a completely new dish I would never have thought of making. Full disclosure: the results have hit the entire range of fabulous to inedible.
Years ago, in a now famous comment made by a close friend, Ina, during a dinner that incorporated a couple little tidbits from my refrigerator that wasn’t in the recipe I was supposedly following, she offered up that “it wasn’t horrible”. She was so serious at the time, determined to pay me a compliment to make me feel better over a dish that clearly didn’t work. We still laugh about it today, and it was an act of true friendship, but in truth, that dish was barely edible. For those of us who thrive on creating new recipes, and are completely incapable of following a recipe exactly as written without throwing in our own twist, a bad dish here and there is going to happen. One hopes it doesn’t happen at a dinner party, but what keeps us going is the creative outlet it offers for expression through food, and the occasional solid gold winner.
Earlier this week I hit on a solid winner, and it was like winning the lottery, not to mention pure validation for all those containers I’m hoarding in our refrigerator – which of course is priceless. First, a little background on this leftover gold. A couple of weeks ago I made these granola bars and made a large batch of the ‘glue’ of peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, and pomegranate syrup that holds them together. At the time, I wasn’t sure how much I would need, and wanted to make sure I had enough for my experiments. In the end I had a hunk of ‘glue’ left over, which was shipped to cold storage (the fridge) for the next batch (which I never made). So on Tuesday, when I opened my refrigerator in search of inspiration, my eyes lit on the container, and Bingo! I knew this could be a great cookie base!
There were challenges. The base didn’t have any butter or granulated sugar, tough ingredients to avoid and still get a great tasting cookie (IMHO) with great texture, and it was very, very dense. Like I could use it as mortar for bricks kind of dense. It was designed to be ‘glue’, after all. But, undaunted, I loved the flavor and that seemed a good place to start.
First I brought it to room temp. It moved from mortar to a very, very thick lava. Still way too thick.
I added an egg, and made it extra-large since I’m in the mountains right now at a very dry 7000+ feet above sea level. Big improvement.
I whipped it into a batter with my trusty Kitchen Aide, reduced the speed to the lowest number, and added a little flour for texture. Next, some baking powder and just a pinch of baking soda for leavening to balance out the weight of the peanut butter. The batter was looking good. Really good.
I piled in a heap of oats and a handful of chocolates and folded them in with a spatula. Excitement cautiously crept into my awareness.
I scooped a few mounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet with a small ice cream scooper as my first test, and slipped them into the oven on the middle rack.
I tasted my first one; plump, soft, and warm from the oven. Pomegranate syrup, coconut, peanut butter and chocolate melted on my tongue. But the surface was a little browned – almost burned in a couple places. I lowered the heat and swept the rest of the mounds into the oven. As they cooled on the cooling rack, I ate six more. For science, you know. I needed to make sure the right balance had been struck for flavor and texture after all. And they were small. Tiny, really, with two bites each.
Score one big one for the mighty leftover.
But there’s one huge problem with working with leftovers. Duplication. Creating the exact amount of leftovers again that worked so well.
But I knew it would be worth it because these cookies are not even close to being horrible.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies With Coconut Oil
Makes 2 dozen small cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 3 ounces peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips, or more if preferred
- NOTE: This is a recipe designed to be baked at high altitudes – 7000+ feet above sea level. To adjust for sea level, I recommend you make the following changes: 1) Add 1 teaspoon to the flour amount; 2) Use a total of 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda; 3) Substitute a large egg for an extra-large egg.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the peanut butter, coconut oil, honey and pomegranate molasses together over low heat. Stir in the cinnamon and salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature or slightly warmer, and pour into the bowl of a standing mixer.
Add the beat and beat well to completely incorporate.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest speed and add the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Manually fold in the oats and chocolate chips.
Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop out little mounds of the cookie dough onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Cookies are done when they just begin to turn a slightly darker brown on the bottom edge. The tops should be soft, but slightly resistant to faint pressure from your finger.
NOTE: At sea level, the cookies should not need to cook quite this long. Check them at 10 minutes.