In general maple is not my favourite flavour, but my brother loves it, and when I mentioned maple-oatmeal cookies his eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. As a result, there was a lot of expectation riding on these cookies, and I definitely did not want to disappoint. But as you can probably tell from the title and images, this isn't a cookie. It was supposed to be a cookie, I tried it as a cookie, but a cookie it did not become. Quite simply, in my opinion, as a cookie, this recipe is broken.
As per usual once the batter was done I dropped a few test cookies to check for timing. After about five minutes in the oven the cookies had spread to paper thin and begun to burn. I took them out of the oven, scraped them off my cookie sheet, balled them up, and tossed them in my mouth. It was rich with maple flavour, actually better than I had hoped, but obviously something was wrong, I had never seen a cookie spread like that. I tried again, deciding not to flatten the cookies as I put them in the oven. The result was exactly the same. I was frustrated. It tasted great, but how was I gonna salvage the batter? I had promised maple-oatmeal, and maple-oatmeal there would be.
It was getting late, and I didn't want to play around with the batter, so I turned down the oven, dumped it into a brownie pan, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Forty minutes later I had a big brown brick of something. It had risen on the edges and stayed low in the middle, but this may have been because I had disturbed it when the centre had not yet set. Regardless, it didn't look like much.
Usually when I choose recipes for family events I go with ones I have not done before. And for this recipe I even went outside of the blogs I follow. I wanted a recipe that had a large amount of maple syrup in proportion to the other ingredients, which is how I eventually decided on this one. It has so much that I had to sub two tablespoons of honey into the batter to get the full volume. There was no chance I was going to buy more maple syrup. First, maple syrup ain't cheap :); second, I had enough trouble finding the bottle I used. Why? If you're not aware the darker the maple syrup, the better it is for baking. In the US you want “Grade B” in Canada you want No 2 Amber. This took some effort to find and made my potential failure even more agonizing. Here's a hint: Check the organic food section at your grocery store.
|Kinda looks like meatloaf, no? :)|
When I cut into this monstrosity the next morning and took a taste, I was amazed, it had baked perfectly. It was soft and chewy, exactly what you want from a good oatmeal cookie, but most importantly, it tasted great. The maple flavour was simply ridiculous.
So why did the cookies fail? I think the culprit was the flour. I used my standard 130g measurement for flour. However, I have a feeling that the recipe is based on a 140g-145g measurement. Cookies are very temperamental with regards to flour and I think from now on I might use 140g as my standard for cookie recipes. In hindsight though I really don't care. The flavours and textures of this makeshift bar cookie were excellent. As a bonus it's much easier to dump everything in a brownie pan than it is to do seven batches of cookies, twelve minutes at a time :).
Despite all my troubles AND the fact that maple is not usually my favourite flavour, I think I enjoyed these bar cookies the most out of everything I made for Christmas (which is amusing to me). I can't recommend you try this recipe as a cookie, but I can recommend you being lazy and breaking out the brownie pan. Though, I suppose if you're really determined, you could always cut it into circles :).
Maple Oatmeal Bar
Rescued from Sweet Maple: Life, Lore & Recipes from the Sugarbush, by James Lawrence and Rux Martin. (Original Recipe can be found here)6 cups old fashioned oats (480g) – this is the US measurement for 6 cups
2 cups all purpose flour (260g)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ¾ cups maple syrup -- preferably No 2 Amber (Can) or Grade B (US), check the organic section of your grocery store
1 ½ cup unsalted butter (338g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325F (you may want to try 350F as in the original recipe, obviously bake time will differ) and grease a 13x9” brownie pan.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine.
In the large bowl of a mixer, cream butter, maple syrup, sugar and honey together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing until each is incorporated completely. Add vanilla and mix until completely incorporated.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add oats. Allow to mix until all the oats are moistened.
Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix until completely incorporated.
Spoon batter into prepared brownie pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean (this took 40 minutes for me).
Allow to cool completely in pan on rack before cutting.