While driving through the little town of Water Valley, Mississippi, not far from the Ole Miss campus, an adorable, refurbished mercantile caught my eye. I stopped in for what turned out to be a wonderful lunch and was impressed by the selection of homegrown produce, sophisticated artisanal grains, and home-baked goodies. When I saw that owner Alexe Van Beuren and chief cook Dixie Grimes had produced “The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook” (Potter, 2014), I couldn’t resist picking up a copy. Within the book’s pages is a recipe for these decadent yet wholesome cookies, fortified with oats and dried fruits, and guaranteed to please kids and grown-ups alike. I’ve adapted it slightly to make smaller cookies (they’re still substantial!), and I substituted dark chocolate chips for white, but that is purely a matter of taste.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
2 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup white, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix at low speed just until blended.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and mix just until blended. Stir in the oats, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries.
Drop the batter into 1/4- to 1/3-cup mounds (I used an ice cream scoop) onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart, pressing tops down slightly. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching racks and rotating pans halfway through baking, until firm and light brown on top, 12 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Let cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack with a spatula and let cool completely. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for 4 days.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen