Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cake of the Week: Salted Coconut Maple Oatmeal Cookies

This weekend I learned a new term from my very smart finance friends: Alpha

For funds and investments and other money things that are far over my head, it means, “The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index for a fund,” and/or, “a measure of an investment’s performance over and above the performance of investments of the same risk.” 

In normal person (super-duper simplified) terms it could be described as extra value added or something performing above expectations. 

So what does this have to do with cookies? Well an oatmeal cookie is good. But an alpha oatmeal cookie performs above and beyond, taking the expected result and making it better. This weekend, in the context of these Salted Maple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, Jess and I combined our alphas. 

She added the maple, and I added the knowledge that you can half the butter (leading to “healthier” cookies…or you can just eat twice as many). And her boyfriend Zac added the kosher salt component, taking these cookies to a whole new level of awesomeness. And the resulting cookies were aaammmaaazzziiinnnggg. 

Lesson conclusion: Alpha + alpha + alpha = yum

Salted Maple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

This is a half recipe that makes about 24 normal-sized cookies. You can easily double it for a full batch. (Printable recipe.)

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the water. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, coconut, and chocolate chips. 
  4. Chill the dough for 15-30 minutes (if you have the patience. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t chill, but chilling softens the oats a bit which is definitely a good thing). 
  5. On a silpat of greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, scoop out cookie dough in 1-2 tablespoonful sized balls. Using your hand, flatten the balls just a little (since this recipe has less butter, they won’t spread very much). Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt. 
  6. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. 
  7. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.