“What are these?!”
“What’s in these cookies?”
That’s what I hear everytime someone takes the first bite of these Chocolate Chip Cherry Oatmeal Cookies.
They look like pretty regular cookies, right? I mean, they’re not ugly ducklings or anything, they’re actually decently good-looking chocolate chip cookies; it just seems that no one is prepared for that first bite. They’re crisp, buttery, light (not in calories, sorry!) and just crazy delicious.
I’ve been making these cookies for as long as I can remember, and I thought I had shared the basic recipe a long time ago on the blog. When I went to search The Café archives, I couldn’t find a trace of them. Holy schmoly, I’ve been holding back one of my best cookie recipes of all time!
There’s a fun story about the origin of the recipe for these delightful cookies.
The first time I ever tasted them was at the hospital I worked at for many years. I was an RN and took care of lots of wonderful people during my career, but there are a few that stand out in my memory. One of them was a sweet elderly woman. Well at least, at the time, she seemed elderly – I was in my late 20’s and anyone over 50 was “elderly” in my opinion. Sheesh, now that I think about it, she was probably younger than I am right now! Oops. Anyway, I took care of her for several days, and each day her sister, also quite elderly (to me) came to visit. The sister always brought a treat for the nurses. One (happy) day, she stopped at the nurses station and handed us a platter of these amazing cookies.
Well, I didn’t know they were amazing yet. Actually they didn’t look like anything special, but I took one (to be polite) and had a little nibble (to be polite). I know my eyes got very wide. Like gigantically wide! “What are these?”, I asked.
“Cereal Cookies”, she replied, in her “elderly” voice. Now that was a very boring name for a very extraordinary cookie. Nevertheless, I begged her for the recipe. The very next day when she arrived for her visit, she handed me a little white notecard with the recipe for “Cereal Cookies” scribbled on it. I still have that little notecard, and though it’s quite yellow now and the recipe’s been in my computer for years, I’ve never been able to part with it.
I added toffee bits (one of my weaknesses) to the original recipe almost right away and decided the name had to be “Sister’s Cookies”. That’s what we’ve called them ever since. I’ve made them a zillion times over the years, and have done tons of variations of these cookies; this time with dried cherries and chocolate chips. They never fail to get rave reviews and always that same question, “What are these?” and/or “What is in these cookies?”
The recipe is a bit unusual. It calls for butter and oil (definitely not a dieter’s delight). There’s also rice cereal (Rice Krispies), oatmeal, dried cherries, chocolate chips and toffee bits along with the usual flour, sugar, etc. It makes a seriously HUGE batch – over 4 dozen large cookies. The good thing is; the baked cookies freeze beautifully and you can also freeze the dough in scoops and bake up fresh cookies in minutes whenever urge for deliciousness overtakes you!
You’ll have to mix up a batch of these Chocolate Chip Cherry Oatmeal Cookies to understand what I’m talking about.
If you’re planning to give any away, go ahead and print up a couple copies of the recipe. I promise, you’ll need them. Oh, and just watch when someone takes the first bite (it’s fun!). You’ll be sure to get the questions,”What are these?” and/or “What is in these cookies?”
Oh yeah, and if they ask where you got the recipe, you can say, “Well, there’s this elderly woman who has a blog…”
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- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil but any mild flavored oil will work fine.)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rice cereal* (Rice Krispies or the generic brand works fine too)
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 bag toffee bits
- 1 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
- 3 cups chocolate chips, I like Ghiradelli
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Place cherries on a cutting board, and roughly chop with a sharp knife (just keep chopping until there aren't any more whole cherries). Set aside.
- Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the oil and beat until oil is incorporated. Add egg and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula and then beat well.
- With mixer on lowest speed, add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until flour is completely incorporated. Add rice cereal (Rice Krispies or generic brand), oatmeal, toffee bits, cherries and chocolate chips. Mix again till everything is blended in.
- Scoop ¼ cup scoops onto prepared sheet pans**. I like to use an ice cream scoop for this.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. The cookies are soft when they first come out of the oven so let them sit on the sheet pan for 3-5 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
* We don't eat rice cereal for breakfast but I alway keep a box in the freezer for this particular recipe. They stay fresh in the freezer for months on end and that way, I always have them available.
**These cookies are fantastic just scooped onto the pan and baked BUT, if you want them to look really pretty (like if you have a food blog or something like that :)), randomly poke 4-5 chocolate chips around the tops and sides of the scoops of batter. When they're baked they will have some pretty chocolate chips poking out of the surface.