Swedish Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies (Galettes suédoises à l’avoine) by David Lebovitz

Episode 38: David Lebovitz

The one thing that might get me to go back to Ikea—someday—are the Havreflarn: crisp oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate sandwiched in between them. But to avoid going back any more than I have to, I wanted to make them at home. I searched around for a recipe and found one at Cuisine de Bérnard, the blog of French cookbook author Bérnard Laurence, who said he had tested the recipe dozens of times. His conclusion was that margarine worked better than butter. So, like remodeling an apartment in Paris, I experienced another first: I bought margarine.

The French are known for their love of butter, so it surprises some to hear that margarine was invented in France. Napoléon directed a chemist to come up with a substitute so that soldiers, and people who couldn’t afford butter, would be able to use something similar. I did some side-by-side tests, and I’ll keep my battles to Swedish department stores, because there’s no contest here: butter is the clear winner.

The original recipe also made a lot of cookies, and I spent almost as much time baking them all off as I did waiting for my turn at Ikea, which, admittedly, was much more fun. But still . . . I made some adjustments and adaptations, and cut the recipe in half, hence the slightly awkward 1/2 egg measurement, which you can measure by stirring an egg in a measuring cup and using half. Or you can double the recipe and refrigerate half the batter if you don’t want to bake all the cookies at once. (It’ll keep for about 10 days in the refrigerator.)

MAKES 25 SANDWICH COOKIES

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 85g) unsalted butter or stick margarine (see Note)

  • 1 cup (95g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

  • 1/2 large egg (see Headnote)

  • 2/3 cup (130g) sugar

  • 1/4 cup (35g) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Big pinch of salt

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. . Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  2. In a mini food processor, pulse the oats six or seven times until they are broken up into powdery bits with some visible pieces of oat flakes.

  3. Stir the oats into the melted butter, then mix in the egg, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl or plastic container, cover, and chill for 1 hour.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC) with a rack in the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (This recipe bakes three sheets of cookies. You can use the same sheet, letting it cool completely between each batch, or use separate baking sheets.)

  5. Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Use a small, spring-loaded ice cream scoop that holds 1 teaspoon of batter (1 inch/3cm across) or a 1-teaspoon measur¬ing spoon to scoop up a slightly rounded spoonfuls of the batter, and place them 21/2 inches (6cm) apart on the baking sheet. (If using a measuring spoon, you’ll want to roll each portion of dough into a ball with your hands, so they bake evenly.) With a damp hand, very gently press the tops of the dough balls down just until the tops are flat, similar looking to gumdrops.

  6. Bake just until they turn light golden brown in the cen¬ter, 7 to 9 minutes. Near the end of baking, they cen¬ters will brown quickly, so it’s best to keep an eye on them and pull them out before they get too dark. Re¬move from the oven and let cool. When cool, transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Bake the remaining cookie batter, letting the pan cool completely between batches.

  7. Set a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Put the chocolate in the bowl to melt, making sure not a drop of water or steam gets into the chocolate. (That will cause it to seize.) Stir gen¬tly until the chocolate is mostly melted, then remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate is smooth.

  8. Working one at a time, drop one cookie, bottom-side down, on top of the chocolate. Push it down slightly, then slide a fork underneath it to lift it out.

    Choose another cookie that’s about the same size, turn it upside down so the bottom is facing up, and slide the chocolate-dipped cookie on top of it to sand¬wich them together. Place the sandwiched cookie on a platter or baking sheet. Dip and sandwich the rest of the cookies with chocolate the same way, then refrig¬erate the cookies until the chocolate is firm. Remove from the refrigerator and let them come to room tem¬perature before serving. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

NOTE: If using margarine, buy a good-quality brand at a natural foods store. Don’t use margarine sold in tubs—only the kind sold in sticks.

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Reprinted from the book L’APPART: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz. Copyright © 2017 by David Lebovitz. Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, on November 7.

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