chocolate chip oatmeal zucchini cookies
I didn’t mean for this to happen. I meant to make zucchini bread, though why it’s considered perfectly normal to put zucchini in bread but not in cookies is beyond me. I’d actually already done the whole zucchini in cookies thing, with little success — those cookies turned out fluffy and cakey and sort of slimy because, duh, I put zucchini in them.
So really, I thought this time I’d just put my excess zucchini in bread, where fluffy and cakey are generally welcome. But when I read through my zucchini bread recipe I discovered a tip for maximizing zucchini flavor while minimizing zucchini moisture and I became a teensy bit obsessed with the idea that this also might be the key to non-slimy zucchini cookies.
It is. Well, that and I used a completely different cookie recipe as my base, one that contains both oatmeal and pecans in addition to the chocolate chips. The resulting cookie is exactly the kind of chocolate chip cookie I like to eat — thick and dense and chewy with melty bits of chocolate, crunchy pecans, flecks of mellow oatmeal, and the delicate sweetness of shredded zucchini. Plus, no slime.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s Baking Illustrated and Carole Walter’s Great Cookies
(makes about 4½ dozen 2½” cookies)
½ lb. zucchini
¾ c. lightly packed dark brown sugar
2½ c. old fashioned oats
2/3 c. + 2 T. sugar
1¼ c. flour
¾ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
¼ t. nutmeg
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1) Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly butter two cookie sheets.
2) Grate the zucchini using a food processor or box grater to yield 1 c. grated zucchini. Toss the zucchini with 2 T. of sugar, transfer to the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer and set it over a bowl to drain for at least 30 minutes. This draws moisture out of the zucchini and prevents the cookies from becoming cakey and slimy, so don’t skip this step.
3) Meanwhile, place the brown sugar, 2/3 c. sugar and ½ c. oatmeal in the bowl of a food processor and process for 2 -3 minutes until the oatmeal is finely ground. (you could also do this in a blender)
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
5) In the bowl of your food processor (or of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), process or mix the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Add the oatmeal-sugar mixture in three stages, mixing well after each addition. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three stages, mixing just until blended. If you’ve done all this in the food processor, transfer the batter to a large bowl and stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, otherwise just stir the chips and nuts into your mixing bowl.
6) After the zucchini has drained, squeeze it between several layers of paper towels or cheesecloth or a dishtowel to absorb excess moisture. You want to remove as much moisture as possible, so you’ll have to work at it a bit. Fold the shredded zucchini into the cookie batter.
7) Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about an inch or two apart. They’re not going to spread much so they don’t need a whole lot of room. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. I think these taste best slightly warm, when the inside is still a bit melty and the outside is still a bit crisp, but they’re also quite nice completely cool and pretty tasty even when frozen.