Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

There is nothing I hate more than last-minute baking… during the holidays… when your final product tastes like $*#&… and you have now run out of ingredients.  Not that I would know what that’s like, or anything…

The nonprofit I work for has an awesome tradition of having the staff bake holiday cookies for our clients to take home.  There’s nothing I would love to do more than give a small gesture of light in these dark times.

On my way out the door of the office someone asked if I had signed up to bake cookies for tomorrow.  With a guilty conscience, I replied no.  In my defense, I figured that no one would want vegan cookies which I would probably make with spelt flour and agave.  But, I soon learned that the person that I was talking to happened to be a wheat-free vegan… so all my excuses flew out the window.

I felt good on the way home knowing that I had just picked up a new tub of Earth Balance the night before.  I had the supplies, I had a little time, and I honestly wanted to do it.

Then I got in my kitchen and everything fell apart.  My oatmeal cookies wouldn’t hold together… then a batch burned… heck, my bag of compost even spilled on the counter.  It was a rough night.

Around 10 pm, out of Earth Balance and almost out of patience, I asked Ashley to go to the store and buy cookie dough.  Yes, pre-made cookie dough.  It was an all-time low.

Instead, she returned with another tub of Earth Balance and some encouragement… and cookie dough as a back-up.  These are what resulted.

Happy holidays to you and yours.  

To spare you some pain and heartbreak, here are some important lessons I learned:

  • When a recipe says that your margarine (or butter) should be softened, don’t melt it — especially on accident.  Besides, that would be dumb.  Who would do that anyway?
  • Keep your cool.  In baking, the more you get frustrated the worse the result.  Take a mandatory time-out if you’re starting to lose it. 
  • Different cookie sheets cook cookies differently… a little fun-fact I learned after my kitchen filled up with the lovely smell of burnt cookies.  Yum.  Cooking with cookie sheets that do not have edges require less time than cooking with cookie sheets that do.  Now you know.   
  • And finally, remember to give thanks to your kitchen-support team.  You know, the people that are willing to run out to the store at 10:30 pm at night for supplies.  You rock. 

Adapted from The Best Recipes Cookbook
Makes about a dozen and a half cookies.

1 1/4 cups Earth Balance, softened

1 1/2 cups (vegan) sugar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Egg-replacer for 2 eggs

2 1/4 cups oatmeal
1 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

In large bowl, beat earth balance and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  (I did this by hand but you could use a mixer at medium speed.)  Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and egg replacer; beat until just blended, occasionally scarping bowl with spatula. Stir in oats, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Use a little less than 1/4 cup of dough and form into a nice cookie shape and flatten just a bit. Place on the ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.  Bake 350 degrees until golden about 10-12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
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