chunky lola (or oatmeal-coconut-pecan-chocolate chip) cookies
Ready to hear a truly epic tale of epic cookiedom? Hokay, so for our anniversary this year, Chris bought us tickets for a chocolate tour of Boston. (That’s right. A chocolate tour.) One of our stops was Flour Bakery, this little warm shop in the middle of the South End with an impressive spread of cookies, brownies, cakes—you know, all those things that a bakery usually has. This cookie, though, is the one that caught my eye.
See, my college had basically the best bakery ever. Every weeknight (more or less), I would run over and get something to eat while I vegged on the couch after homework-time. In retrospect, choosing to live within 50 yards of the bakery probably wasn’t the best idea for my health. But it was the best idea for my psyche! Anyway, I digress. The point is, every so often, that bakery would have oatmeal-coconut cookies. It was an odd combo, but oh man, were they delicious. They were chewy and buttery and not-too-sweet, and I basically bought out their stock every time they sold them. (I was, somehow, a really cheap eater in college, so I always had a ton of extra meal plan money to burn on the essentials, like cookies.) I’ve hunted far and wide for a recipe online, but none of them sounded like they would really match up.
The original Flour cookie, in the flesh! Sadly, I never thought to take a picture of my school’s version before devouring them.
So when I read down the ingredient list for these cookies in Flour, I basically devolved rapidly before Chris’s eyes into a tantrum-prone six-year-old. The only thing I could say was “WANT. WANT. WANT.” I’m not proud of it. Fearing for his own well-being, he bought one for us to split. And oh, was it good. I didn’t even mind the pecans, that’s how good they were! While they weren’t an exact replica of the cookies at school, they were pretty close—and I’m not about to complain about the addition of chocolate chips. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t even find the recipe for *those* cookies online.
Not a bad comparison, if I do say so myself.
But wait! As it turned out, Joanne Chang, Flour’s owner, had just come out with a shiny, gorgeous cookbook! I may have been literally holding my breath as I flipped through it in the bookstore until I found them. My Chunky Lolas. (Yes, they’re mine now. Don’t get in the way of my cookies.) I bought the cookbook that week and, that very nigh, insisted on making them at Chris’s house. And man, they were goooood. I made a couple without pecans, refused to refrigerate the dough as suggested, and even overcooked them a bit, but they were still as close to Flour’s cookies as I could ever hope to get without a fancy brand of chocolate. Maybe next time I’ll make them without chocolate chips and pecans and see if I can get close to the school’s version, too. These cookies are MAGIC.
Chunky Lola Cookies
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (1 3/8 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats [See? Joanne Chang agrees with me. No quick-cooking oats!]
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate (62-70% cacao), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces [uhh, we used Nestle semisweet chips]
1 1/4 cups pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, a handheld mixer, or a wooden spoon, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. (This step will take about 10 minutes if using a handheld mixer or a spoon.) Stop the mixer a few times and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle to release any clinging butter or sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl and the paddle again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly combined.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate, pecans, and coconut and toss to combine. On low speed (or with the wooden spoon), slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and then mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.
3. For the best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 3 to 4 hours) before baking. When ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Drop the dough in 1/4-cup balls onto a baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
5. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are cool enough to remove with a spatula. Then transfer the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely.