(Better than) Great Harvest Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are legendary in my family. It has been said that my father may never eat another type of cookie again. It has also been said that anyone who’s lucky enough to be in the house while these are baking cannot resist the aroma, and will be forcibly lead by their nose to the nearest tray of hot cookies.

If you are already bored with hyperbole (though I can’t actually remember the last time my dad ate a different kind of cookie), you may have glanced down to the ingredient list to see what makes these cookies so darn special. You may have gasped as you encountered the whole wheat flour and indignantly exclaimed that such a wholesome ingredient has no place in a cookie claiming to be legitimately delicious. If this is the case, let me assure you the wheat flour is not used to make this cookie seem healthy. One look at the sugar and fat content on these babies should put you immediately at rest about their “good-for-you” quality. It’s merely coincidence that this healthy ingredient is, in this case, the best possible accompaniment to butter, sugar, chocolate chips, and oats.

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As the name suggests, this recipe was initially modeled after the chocolate chip cookie from Great Harvest. This bakery is most beloved for the giant hunks of hot bread the employees hand you as you stare at the list of available loaves, trying to decide between farmhouse white and sourdough and inevitably getting both. It is also known for the wall of alluring smell that hits you on your way in that invites a feeling of strange nostalgia for some imagined home we all wish we lived in: baking bread! baking cookies! cinnamon and spices and chocolate!

It’s a wonderful place, and it was tragic that for most of my growing up years, we were three hours away from the closest one. Living far, far away from that wonderful bakery franchise, its cookies, and its smells became too much for my family to handle, so my mom* bought a few packages of their cookie mix to study and recreate. After a few tries, these cookies (and the heavenly smells they emit) rose above their progenitor and took their place as the Holland family favorite cookie.

These cookies are a result of desperation mixed with some creativity, and they taste so so good. If you’re still caught up on the wheat flour, here’s a test: if you’re idea of a perfect cookie is crispy at the edges, gooey in the middle, chewy with oats, crunchy with nuts (maybe even nutty with wheatiness), and stuffed with chocolate, this is the cookie for you.

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(Better than) Great Harvest Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oats
1 cups pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, stirring after each addition. Add the vanilla

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the creamed mixture and stir until j. Add the oats, nut, and chocolate chips and stir just until incorporated.

These cookies are at their best when scooped with a large muffin scoop (that yields giant, gooey cookies), but scooping them with a regular cookie scoop will work wonderfully also.

For the large cookies, bake for 12 minutes. For the smaller cookies, bake for 9. Remove to a wire rack and watch how fast they disappear.
*If you have Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips, use them. They are bigger than normal chocolate chips, so the cookies end up being a modest 50% chocolate 50% cookie (which a very happy proportion). A chopped up good-quality dark chocolate bar works wonderfully also. As these options are pricier than regular chocolate chips, I usually opt for cheaper chocolate chips and the cookies still turn out delicious.

Freezing option: If for some reason you have leftover cookies, they freeze very well based on two standards: they taste amazing still frozen and reheat beautifully (in the broiler, on the counter, and in the microwave are my favorite options in descending order).

 

 

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