Monday, January 28, 2013

Oatmeal Cookies, Anyway You Like Them!

I know, I know- it's been a long time.  And can't say we were very regular about it even before that.  And I promised we were going to be better.

I bet you thought we forgot.  Or maybe changed our mind and thought it was a bad idea. Or stopped cooking.  Or maybe even fell off the face of the earth.

Well actually the explanation is a bit easier- we've been busy- or at least I have been.  In between traveling to see one child or another (not to mention the GRANDS!)- and squeezing in a friend here and there, I find that retirement is very, very time consuming.  I mean after lingering over coffee for up to an hour- and then showering- and then lingering over breakfast while I read the New York Times it's almost afternoon.  And then if not too distracted by some stray idea or other I finally sit at the piano and play for an hour or two.  And sometimes I take a walk... And of course there are the occasional errands... And by that time for sure it is time to begin the ritual of dinner- which of course includes a leisurely glass of wine to get the right mood for the work.  

Well as you can tell- it's mighty hard to fit in writing a blog with the whirlwind life I'm leading.  Now being a bit more disciplined about the blog was a New Year's resolution- and given that it's almost February, I'm noticing that I'm not off to a very good start.

It's not that we're not cooking.  Why we're cooking pretty much everyday- and some day's it even seems like we're cooking all day when a crowd is coming.  But cooking isn't the same as blogging.  Cooking is well- just cooking.

But I'm really going to try- for me- and for you as well. I thought I'd rather like to start simple- and nothing is simpler than an oatmeal cookie.  Why oatmeal cookies are cookies without the guilt. I think of them rather like breakfast in cookie form.

After the whirlwind of the holidays and our life settled a bit- the holiday company all safely returned to their homes, it seemed that the time was just perfect for spending the day in the kitchen baking cookies.  So baking cookies is what we did- and then Don boxed them up and mailed them to all the kids.  They were for the "post holiday" let down when you're desperately trying to find even a crumb left over from all sweets that seem to linger for days in November and December and then suddenly comes January and it's cold turkey for sure.Oatmeal cookies seem just the comfort food that's perfect for the dark, cold winter days. 

Now for most folks Oatmeal Cookies are rather straightforward.  Oatmeal, raisins and there you have it.  But then our family isn't very straightforward- for some you can't call it a dessert unless there is some chocolate tucked in somewhere- and Don HATES raisins.  So there you have it- I needed a cookie that was flexible- one that could bend here and there for the different folks.  So here it is:


1 1/2 cup Oatmeal (Can increase oatmeal to 2 cups and decrease flour to 1 cup. I think Don would like it if I skipped the flour altogether and just used the oats.)
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground

1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 sticks of Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Cranberries 
May also add Coconut, Walnuts, Dried Cherries....
(Of course for Don the cookie of choice was PLAIN- I mean absolutely PLAIN- no chocolate, no cranberries, no cherries, no coconut- PLAIN!)

Mix Dry Ingredients.

Cream butter and sugars.
Mix in eggs.
Finally add vanilla.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Add in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Plain and Loaded!

Chill dough in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. (This helps keep the dough from flattening so fast when you begin to bake them.  You also can spoon them on the the cookie sheet and chill the entire sheet of cookies if you'd like.)

Spoon onto cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes! (Careful that you don't over bake this cookie- or any cookie for that matter- unless you like your cookies hard!  I did learn a trick to create that "fresh from the oven" taste even when the cookies are 3-5 days old.  Wrap the cookies in a damp paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds or so.  Usually I skipped the damp paper towel and just microwaved on a plate and this seemed to work as well.)

Enjoy it your way!