Cherry Chipotle Oatmeal Cookies

I developed this recipe over the last couple of years based on my absolute favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, In the Sweet Kitchen : The Definitive Guide to the Baker’s Pantry by Regan Daley. This author’s oatmeal raisin cookie becomes the base for an ice cream sandwich in the end, but the cookies themselves are fabulous on their own.

I change up the raisins for the sweet-tart taste of dried cherries, also as a nod to one of our great Michigan towns, Traverse City, which is known for its great cherries (…and wine!). I also love a sweet and spicy contrast so I experimented with adding a bit over ground chipotle chili powder to give them a kick. For non-adventurous types, and when serving to kids, feel free to leave out the chipotle powder and you’ll still have a great cookie.

These cookies have a rich caramel flavor which contrasts nicely with the tart cherries and spicy chili powder. They have a golden brown crisp exterior and soft chewy interior. They also freeze very well for several months.

Cherry Chipotle Oatmeal Cookies

Inspired by In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 c. tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tblsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground chipotle chili powder (or, to taste)
  • 3 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 2 c. dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and both sugars. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and honey and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold in until the dry ingredients are well incorporated. Stir in the oats and cherries. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, rotate halfway through baking time. The cookies are done when they are deep golden brown and set around the edges but still puffy and soft in the center. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes about 4 dozen