Cherry-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies aka “Triathlon/Pre-Race/Post-Race Cookies”

I recently responded to a New York Times Food tweet:

‏”@nytfood This cookie battled it out against other holiday treats in a ‪#CookFight. What’s your go-to cookie?”

My response was the Cherry-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, which I adapted slightly from a 1998 Bon Appétit recipe.  These cookies are also known among my athlete friends as “triathlon cookies” or “pre-race / post-race” cookies.  They are my go-to cookies during the holidays and to pack for out of town triathlon trainings or races.  I also stashed a few cookies inside my hydration pack when I raced my first 50 km ultra marathon this past weekend.  Packed with dried cherries, chocolate chips and toasted almonds, these cookies are great for refueling.

My good childhood friend Tracy, who is an accomplished 2x Ironman triathlete shared this recipe with me. Upon her advice, I eliminated the almond extract from the original recipe.  I also experimented with different ratios of sugar and butter in an attempt to make it a little healthier.  I found that the original dough recipe was pretty darn good as is.  So instead of altering the amount of sugar and butter, I decided to load the cookie up with more dried cherries, and chocolate chips.  Aside from the occasional runaway dried cherry left on the baking sheet, the cookie held all of it’s yummy stuff together. The trick is to refrigerate the dough so it firms up.  The dough can be frozen up to 3 months.  I like to have a few batches in the freezer to bake up a quick dozen or two.

Adapted from Bon Appétit, February 1998

Makes: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick or instant)
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounce bag)
  • 1 1/4 cup dried tart cherries (2 5-ounce bags)

Directions:

Preheat over 325F.

Position one rack in the middle and the 2nd rack just above. You will be baking 2 pans of cookies at a time. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, handheld mixer or wooden spoon, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. If using an electric mixer, this will take about 4-5 minutes on medium speed or up to 10 minutes if using a wooden spoon.

Beat in the egg and vanilla extract for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl at least once to ensure all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Slowly beat in the flour mixture.  Scrape the sides of the bowl a couple times to ensure the flour is incorporated.

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Stir in oats, chocolate chips, cherries and toasted almonds.

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The dough can be baked immediately however I find that it bakes more evenly and forms into a better cookie shape if I chill the dough, covered, for at least 1 hour.

Scoop out an overflowing spoonsful amount of dough.  Using your fingers, press the dough together firmly ensuring the dried cherries and chips are sticking to the dough.  Shape into a slightly flatted rounds.  Place onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

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Bake for 12 minutes, then switch and rotate baking sheets and bake for 6 minutes longer, until golden brown on edges. Either cool the cookies on the baking sheet or carefully transfer the soft cookies onto a cooling rack or plate. I like to wait a couple minutes so the cookie starts to firm up a little before handling. The cookies will firm into a crisp cookie when cooled.

Note: To freeze dough, wrap in wax paper then place inside a freezer zip lock bag. The cookie dough can be stored frozen up to 3 months.

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