Maine Blueberry Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies

hazelnut blueberry oatmeal cookies

The picnic classic, downeast edition

Usually, when I give a party, I prepare the food. But at our recent garden soiree for the Maine Farmland Trust, these cookies were my only contribution. (Food luminary Nancy Jenkins, an ardent Trust supporter, did all the rest, leaving me free to obsess about weeding.)

Because we wanted to showcase raw materials that come – or could come – from Maine,  the cookies were made from Maine-grown oats. Local eggs. Butter was my regular butter, Kate’s. The blueberries… well, of course

straw on garden path

The upper path is empty of people because everyone kept on going (the party was in the lower garden).

Maine Blueberry Hazelnut Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is basically the one from the boxtop, that being a recipe it’s difficult to improve. The uniquely downeast ingredients are the blueberries and – potentially – the hazelnuts.

Hazelnuts, aka filberts, aren’t a commercial Maine crop yet, but they could and should be, so I wanted to use the occasion to demonstrate their non-traditional possibilities. It’s a simple substitution but an extremely happy one: oats and hazelnuts turn out to be made for each other, especially if you cut back on the cinnamon and put in some nutmeg.

For 6 to 8 dozen cookies, depending on size:

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1  tsp. baking soda

1/2  tsp. salt (gently heaped if using unsalted butter)

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. freshly grated  nutmeg (1/2 tsp. pre-ground)

6 oz butter, at room temperature

½ c. firmly packed brown sugar

½ c. granulated sugar

2  eggs

2  tsp. vanilla

3  c. rolled oats

1 c. dried blueberries

1 c. skinned toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Heat the oven to 350. Put flour, soda, salt and spices in a small bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and then the flour mixture.

3. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the oats, blueberries and hazelnuts. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and distribute the dough in tablespoon-sized lumps.

4. Dampen your fingertips and press down the tops of the lumps, just enough so the cookies are flattish rather than peaked. Bake until rich golden brown, 10 – 14 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool on wire racks and store airtight.

The cookies will be crisp. If you prefer soft oatmeal cookies, put them in an airtight container with a slice of apple for a few hours or serve them on a humid day. Ours remained crisp for about 10 minutes after we put them on the platter.

Note: Maine flour is on its way back, in large part thanks to the efforts of Jim Amaral at Borealis Bread, but it’s not widely available retail yet, and retail buyers can only get whole wheat. (Whole wheat flour does not make great cookies, inconvenient as that truth may be.)

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  • Nancy Harmon Jenkins Said,

    And they were truly delicious! I ate far too many but they went down so nicely with a glass of very chilled white wine–from Spain, not Maine.
    Nancy J.

  • Lorna Sass Said,

    Can’t wait to try these. I’ll try with wholegrain spelt flour instead of all-purpose, which I find can be substituted one for one with occasional need for slightly more liquid.

    Your garden looks absolutely gorgeous. So sorry to read about the stink bug. Yucky.

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