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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

September 20, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

- Amanda

I've never been a huge oatmeal cookie fan. They're too sweet, too buttery, too straight-A student for me. What they need, in my view, is some bitterness, and that's easy to come by in chocolate. So I took the one oatmeal cookie I can tolerate -- a 1966 Kentucky State Fair winner that's crisp with a shortening base, and not too sweet -- and added both cocoa and chopped chocolate. It's important to chop the chocolate by hand so you get a blend of shards and chunks. The shards melt into the dough, increasing the gooeyness, and the chunks offer relief from the do-good oats. I also underbake them slightly so they stay soft in the center while the edges shatter with each bite.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate



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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


amy_saia_thompson September 27, 2011
These turned out great. They were a hit. Thank you!
coffeefoodwrite September 26, 2011
Oh, these look yummy! Going to try them tonight....:-)
campbell September 26, 2011
I've had chocolate oatmeal cookies on my mind for a week!
Thanks - these will be the perfect after-school treat.
campbell September 26, 2011
I've had chocolate oatmeal cookies on my mind for a week.
Thank you for this recipe! Perfect after-school treat.
campbell September 26, 2011
I've had chocolate oatmeal cookies on my mind for a week.
Thank you for this recipe! Perfect after-school treat.
quadbob September 25, 2011
I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and the 3 cups of oats called for in the original recipe and the result was really delicious cookies. A teaspoon of sea salt whisked into the flour gave the occasional surprise salty taste in the sweet chocolate, oatmeal flavor.
Chef M. September 25, 2011
I used butter instead of shortening, no walnuts and a few extra oats and chocolate chunks and they came out great! At 12 minutes they definatley didn't look done but once they cooled and set they were perfectly chewy and moist! Next time i might try white chocolate chunks or almond extract with slivered almonds instead of walnuts! Great recipe, thanks!
Creative C. September 25, 2011
One of my all time favorite recipes has been an oatmeal type cookie with chocolate chips but I'm thinking I need to try chopping some chocolate. I like the idea of melted shards1
beckyleeprice September 25, 2011
For a terrific variation skip the nuts in favor of chopped dried cherries. Wonderful.
mscheevel September 25, 2011
We obviously think alike: I made this exact change today. It's wonderful.
Amanda H. September 24, 2011
Hey all -- I made a mistake when I added the recipe to the site. It should be 1 cup oats, not 3 cups. Apologies to anyone who made the recipe and had a problem.
Chef M. September 25, 2011
I used 3 cups and they came out okay :)
Susan C. September 25, 2011
Will you be updating it on the website?
Amanda H. September 25, 2011
Susan, I did -- see above, it's fixed!
Sherry P. September 23, 2011
Hi - I made these cookies but substituted European-style butter for the shortening. They turned out GREAT! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.
eatingandediting September 21, 2011
Shortening can do wonders for a cookie. I don't like gingersnaps, but my grandmother altered her ginger cookie recipe by subbing vegetable shortening for half of the butter. (In those cookies, if you go all shortening, they're *too* bendy and shapeless). Half shortening and half butter makes a perfect, soft ginger cookie.
Bevi September 21, 2011
My grandmother used shortening in all her baking. This was in the 50's and 60's that I remember baking with her.
BlueKaleRoad September 20, 2011
I couldn't agree more, chocolate and oats belong together. Ok, twist my arm, I'll make them! :)
Niknud September 20, 2011
So I lost a bet and am required to make cookies (oh the humanity!) in satisfaction of my debt....I have found my cookie recipe!
ChefJune September 21, 2011
It's a rough job, Niknud, but someone's GOT to do it, and I can't imagine a more fun bet to lose than to have to bake cookies! These sound like a winner.
Nina P. September 20, 2011
Is there a reason you've chosen shortening over butter? (When it comes to cookies... never too buttery)
Rivka September 20, 2011
My question exactly - why shortening over butter?
drbabs September 20, 2011
Mine, too...love the recipe...can't really get my mind around shortening.
hardlikearmour September 20, 2011
When I was a kid in the 70s my mom rarely used butter. Shortening and margarine were thought to be healthier back then, and I think butter was pretty expensive. Since this one originates in the 60s, I'm guessing that's the reason for the shortening.
AntoniaJames September 20, 2011
Not sure of Amanda's reasoning, but I like to use a bit of shortening in many of the cookies I bake because it improves their texture. The oatmeal cookie recipe used as the basis for this one is very similar (in fact, it seems to be identical) to the one I grew up using, with only shortening and no butter. They're great cookies!! I stopped using shortening when Crisco was the only choice and the health issues became better known. Now that I can get Spectrum non-hydrogenated shortening (Whole Foods has it), I've welcomed shortening, with open arms, back into my kitchen. ;o)
hardlikearmour September 20, 2011
These look delicious. I bet a sprinkle of fleur de sel would be great on them.
BlueKaleRoad September 20, 2011
Love it, hla!