WEEKEND CHEF | Baking project: Soft Oatmeal Muffin tops with Fresh Cherries

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Soft oatmeal cookies with fresh cherries by Weekend Chef. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

After bingeing last Christmas, you’re strictly dieting this January, and that means eating only light and healthy food. But who says you cannot have some cookies? No cheat days, you say? But there’s no need for cheat days because there are healthy cookie recipes that you can turn to. Here’s one that Weekend Chef kitchen-tested over the holiday bread and shared with some family and friends as a New Year’s treat.

I found this recipe from a recipe booklet of Quaker Oats among my cookbooks. It called for fresh or frozen blueberries and was called Muffin Tops because of its soft and fluffy texture that resembled the slightly toasted tops of freshly baked muffins straight from the oven.

I replaced the blueberries with fresh cherries, since our good neighbors, Arman and Minda Cayago, gave us quite a helping of fresh cherries last Christmas. Most of the cherries, my husband Raff and I enjoyed as is, because fresh cherries are a real treat for the palate. I set aside a cup for baking, and so I looked for a recipe that could incorporate my premium ingredients nicely.

This oatmeal cookie recipe, which has a streusel topping, is perfect because I have a 1.2-kg. plastic container of Quaker Oats whole grain rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal) in the house as well as a handy box of Maya Kitchen all-purpose flour.

Try it and see if you like it, too.

Soft Oatmeal Cookies with Fresh Cherries

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups Quaker Oats (old-fashioned), uncooked
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup fresh milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup fresh cherries, deseeded and each cut into 8

Directions
1. Heat oven to 400˚F or 200˚C.

2. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets or line with baking paper.

3. In a bowl, combine oats and sugar. Mix well.

3. In a bowl, combine oats and sugar. Mix well.

4. Prepare the streusel topping by taking 1/4 cup of the oat-and-sugar mixture and placing it in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. melted butter to the streusel topping and mix well. Set aside.

Make the the streusel topping by taking 1/4 cup of the oat-and-sugar mixture and placing it in a small bowl. Add melted butter and mix well. Set aside. Photo by Dolly Dy Zulueta for InterAksyon.

5. To the big bowl with the rest of the oat-and-sugar mixture, sift in all-purpose flour and baking powder.

6. Add ground ginger, and mix well.

Step 6. Add ground ginger to mixture and mix well. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

7. Combine milk, remaining melted butter and beaten egg in a small bowl. Mix well.

8. Add to the oatmeal and flour mixture. Mix until moistened.

9. Deseed fresh cherries, and cut each into 8. Stir half of the fresh cherries into the oatmeal cookie batter.

Step 9. Deseed fresh cherries and cut each into 8. Stir half of the sliced cherries into the oatmeal cookie batter. Photo by Dolly Dy Zulueta for InterAksyon.

10. With a medium-sized ice cream or cookie scooper, drop mounds of batter onto prepared cookie sheets, making sure the cookies are two inches apart.

11. Insert the remaining cherries onto the top of the cookies.

12. Sprinkle streusel topping over the cookies, and pat down gently to make it adhere to the cookie dough.

13. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes around 16 cookies, depending on size.