Oatmeal cookies are always comfort food in my book. They are one of the first cookies that I baked on a regular basis and they remain a favorite to this day. These Cherry and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies were inspired by cherry pie, packed with toasted pecans and dried sweet-tart cherries. Cherry pie is also a comfort food classic, so combining the two desserts makes the finished cookies even more delicious.
The cookie dough is a buttery mix of sugar, brown sugar, flour and spices. I like to pair allspice with cherries because it has a slight pepperiness that really brings out their natural sweetness. I used dried tart cherries in this batch of cookies, but dried black cherries – which tend to be a bit sweeter – are also a great choice. Make sure that you’re getting real cherries and not cherry-flavored cranberries (good, but different), since fresh dried cherries are plump and packed with flavor.
The cookies are perfect when they are fresh from the oven, as the cherries will be especially tender while the pecans will still be nice and crisp. The cookies themselves will have a crispy outer edge and a chewy center, a lovely backdrop for the mix-ins. They will keep for a couple of days after baking when stored in an airtight container, though I don’t find that they last that long in my kitchen! If you’re not pairing them with a glass of milk, try sandwiching them with a scoop of cherry garcia (or similar) ice cream for an ice cream sandwich that is even more evocative of cherry pie than the cookies are on their own!
Cherry and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups oats, rolled or quick-cooking
1 1/4 cups very coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1 1/4 cups cup dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour in to the sugar mixture until just incorporated.
Stir in the oats, pecans and cherries at low speed or by hand, stirring until mix-ins are well-distributed.
Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to spread.
Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and light golden at the center.
Cool on baking sheet for at least 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen.