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Food is Love: Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Bake something good for your family and sweetheart instead of buying those too sweet, pretty, but tasteless cookies. You know the kind. The white cookies with the pink and white icing and little Valentine's Day sprinkles. They come in plastic boxes and cost anywhere 50 cents to $3 a cookie. They taste like sugar. And more sugar. And that's all. They'll result in a quick sugar high and big crash at the end. Forget them. They're awful. Instead, go for chocolate-cherry oatmeal cookies. They're simple cookies to make, yet complex enough in taste to satisfy the fussiest eaters--kids and adults. The cookies are full of oats, nuts, dried cherries, and, of course, chocolate chips. The cookies will be crisp on the edges and chewy in the center as long as you don't bake them too long. Serve them up proudly and leave those white cookies where they belong at the store in their little plastic coffins.

Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies -- Makes about 24

1 cup of flour

1/4 cup of rye flour (substitute regular flour, if you don't have any, but rye is better)

3/4 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 1/4 cup of regular, Old Fashioned oats

1/2 cup of quick oats

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries

1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup of chocolate chips, preferably dark chocolate

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter (or Smart Balance)

1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons of canola oil

2 tablespoons of almond or low-fat milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray them with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oats (regular and quick), walnuts, dried cherries, and chocolate chips. In another bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in the canola oil, milk, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir them together until everything is combined and no white streaks remain (you don't need to beat the mixture, just combine the ingredients--a wooden spoon works well!). Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using 1-2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie and leaving a couple of inches between each cookie. Don't try to put more than 9 cookies on each cookie sheet. With damp hands, form each dough mound into a round about 1/2-1-inch thick and flatten it slightly. Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes, removing them when the edges are set and the middles appear a little damp. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing them to cool completely.

Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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