Monday 10 December 2012

Sunflower Seed Cookies

I love all of the treats that come with the holidays but if I'm being honest about it I have to say that the simplest recipes remain my favourites.  I'm a big fan of the "plain cookie;" the cookie without icing or filling or lots of bells and whistles.  (That's not to say I'd ever refuse a fancy cookie.  I'd just choose the plain cookie if offered a choice between the two. ;)

This recipe is for a plain cookie, with lots of tasty sunflower seeds and oatmeal baked right in.  It has good flavour and wonderful texture.  

Sunflower seed cookie dough needs to rest in the fridge before the cookies are baked, making this recipe a wonderful make-ahead option.  You can prepare the dough, roll it up, store it in the fridge or freezer, and then bake the cookies a few at a time as you need them.

This recipe comes from The Fanny Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.  I learned a lot of cooking from Ms. Cunningham's books when I was a beginning cook, and I refer to many of her recipes still.  If you come across this book, do consider purchasing it.  It's well worth the investment.

To make sunflower seed cookies, you'll need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of uncooked oatmeal (not instant)
  • 2 cups raw, shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds

Cream the butter and sugars together.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, add in the vanilla extract, and beat the eggs until there are no distinct bits of white and yolk left and the vanilla has been mixed in.

Stir the eggs and vanilla into the butter and sugar mix.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, oatmeal and sunflower seeds.

Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and stir until the ingredients combine to make a thick dough.

Form the dough into cylinders, about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper.

Store the dough cylinders in the fridge until firm, at least an hour.  Store them in the freezer if you won't be using them within two or three days.

When you're ready to use the dough, use a thin, sharp knife to cut the dough cylinders into slices about 1/3 inch thick.  Some of the dough may crumble from the edges of the slices when you cut them.  Just press it back into place when placing the cookies on your cookie sheets.

Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake the cookies on the middle rack of a 350F oven for 12 to 14 minutes, turning the pans halfway through the cooking time.  

The baked cookies should be an even golden brown.

Allow the cookies to rest on their baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool completely.

Store the baked cookies in an airtight container.  

If you wish to bake them ahead, the baked cookies freeze as well as the unbaked dough does.

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