When you need cookies NOW and the cookie jar is empty, don’t despair — within half an hour you can have a tray of crunchy, nutty, vanilla-y biccies* that will take the edge off your emergency.

When I created this recipe nearly eight years ago, I called it “Election Cookies.”  Here’s why.

On the evening of November 8, 2016, my teenage kids and I were watching the U.S. presidential election results roll in. Like most of the country, we were expecting Hillary Clinton to win. However, as the night wore on and the growing likelihood of a Trump presidency dawned on us, I started to feel increasingly glum. In need of soothing, my frazzled mind turned to carbs. Specifically, cookies.

I scoured my kitchen for something sweet and crunchy. Alas, there was not a crumb to be found. Darnit.

There was only one solution: I had to bake some cookies. This would have the dual benefit of distracting me for a while *and* yielding comforting treats.

I remembered an oat cookie recipe I’d seen in Good Food, Good Medicine, a wonderful Mediterranean diet & lifestyle guide by internist Miles Hassell MD and Mea Hassell, and got to work. Thirty minutes later my children and I were munching on delightfully crunchy cookies. They didn’t change the outcome of the election, but they did take the edge off our disappointment.

Eight years later, another presidential election is upon us — one whose outcome will shape the future for generations. So this morning I decided to bake a preemptive batch of election cookies, just in case I need them later.

These cookies — the easiest in my repertoire — consist of oats, nuts (my favorites are pecans and hazelnuts), and a little flour (I use gluten-free flour) held together by generous quantities of butter. Their texture is crisp and crunchy and they contain just enough sugar to taste sweet, but not so much as to send your glucose levels gyrating.

I’ve tweaked the recipe a little, replacing Dr. Hassell’s hard-to-find Scottish oats with a mixture of rolled oats and oat bran, adding vanilla extract, and drizzling them with melted chocolate (optional). If you’re a fan of British cookies, you’ll be delighted to learn that painting the cookies with a thick layer of chocolate makes them taste like McVitie’s Dark-Chocolate Hobnobs — minus the cloying sweetness.

So hurry along and throw a batch in your oven before the polling stations close. And if you don’t have time to bake today, rest assured that these taste great any day of the year, not just on election night.

*Informal British word for “biscuit,” which is what the Brits call cookies.

Election Cookies (drizzled with tempered chocolate, Hobnob-style)

Keyword: 30 Minutes Max., Desserts & Treats, Gluten-Free (or can be), Vegetarian (or can be)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 96kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter soft
  • cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup traditional rolled oats certified gluten-free if needed
  • ½ cup oat bran I used Bob's Red Mills to test this recipe
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend I used King Arthur Mills' "Cup for Cup" GF blend; if you tolerate gluten, use all-purpose flour instead
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecan nuts chopped; hazelnuts work great, too.
  • 3 oz high-quality dark chocolate optional; finely chopped with a chef knife; I used Chocolove's 77% Extra Strong chocolate

Instructions

Cookies

  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric whisk until they are creamy. Beat in the egg, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing well.
  • Preheat oven to 350℉ and set rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Shape the cookies: I use a tablespoon measure to scoop out the dough and squish it into roughly golf-ball-sized lumps with my hands. Place these on the lined baking sheet and flatten them with a water-moistened fork. The cookies can be close together as they don't spread while baking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. (I tested this recipe at altitude; if you live closer to sea level, they may be done after 10-12 minutes).
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once they have completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. These keep for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate drizzle (see note below)

  • Put 2 oz of the chopped chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and heat at 50% power for a succession of 30–second bursts, stirring with a spoon in between each cycle until the chocolate is almost fully melted. This should take about 1½ minutes.
  • Stir the chocolate until completely melted. Measure its temperature with an instant–read thermometer; it should be between 100 and 115℉. Add the remaining ounce of chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until the mixture is at 88℉.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate onto the cookies with a teaspoon or apply it evenly with a silicone pastry brush.
  • Once the chocolate has hardened, transfer the cookies to an airtight tin.

Notes

These instructions show you how to temper chocolate in the microwave; tempering helps chocolate keep its crisp shine, and doing so will keep these cookies looking appetizing even a week later. However, if you plan to eat these quickly, don't bother with tempering -- just melt the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power and drizzle away!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.4mg