I’m finding myself in a precarious position. With my wedding only 15 short weeks away (eek!!) I should be doing everything in my power to look my best for my big day. While this is totally true, I still can’t help myself from wanting to bake delicious things all the time. When I’m happy, I bake, and obviously this is a happy time, but it’s also the time I really shouldn’t be baking (and tasting) quite as often. So since I am having a hard time slowing down on the baking, I’m upping my exercise a bit to make up for it. In addition to my normal gym routine, I’ve also set a goal to run 200 miles before the wedding… which is a pretty insane goal, even if I started it at the end of March. Currently I’m at 82 miles—let’s see how I do! These cookies are partially to blame for my need to log some miles. They are completely decadent but also a little surprising. The mix of chocolate chips and cocoa nibs and the walnuts are the base for a stellar cookie, but the addition of maple takes these to the next level. They remind me of the Romanesque sculptures that decorated European cathedrals during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. These intricate and expressive stone sculptures decorated much of the façade of these churches, as a means of extravagantly depicting various biblical scenes and principles of Christianity for the churchgoers to see. The scene of the Last Judgment was especially popular in the decorated archway (or tympanum) above the church doorways, showing Christ’s power to separate those destined for heaven and hell.
A version of this that is still in remarkably good shape (given that it’s 900 years old) was completed between 1120-1135 at the Cathedral of Saint Lazare at Autun, France. From afar, this version looks like these cookies—sandy colored, textured and totally intriguing. Upon closer inspection, we see an enormous Christ judging the souls that surround him. To our left (his right) we see angels and saved souls. To our right (his left) are the damned souls, which are chaotic and terrifying. One bite of these maple-y cookies, and you might as well cue the trumpets and doves—they are heavenly!
My favorite part about this artist’s work at Autun is that he signed his work: Gislebertus hoc fecit” meaning “Gislebertus made this”, which was totally awesome and against the norm for that time in history. Here Gislebertus demands recognition for his work and forcefully separates himself from the anonymous craftspeople. With his pushing of boundaries and exploration of his identity as an artist, Gislebertus is a forefather for any artist today who signs their work. On a tastier scale, these cookies demand attention and put it all out there. Basically I just can’t get enough. I think you’ll feel the same!
Maple, Chocolate Chip and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup walnuts
¾ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup cocoa nibs
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside. In a larger bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars for a couple of minutes. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, beating completely between additions. Add the vanilla and the maple syrup, and then add the flour mixture over a few additions. Stir in the oats, walnuts, chocolate chips and cocoa nibs.
Using a large spoon or a heaping-tablespoon sized cookie scoop, divide the dough into portions on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes, and let cool completely before devouring the whole batch!
Recipe adapted from joy the baker