A basic recipe for oatmeal cookies, a great way to empty the pantry of leftover nuts and dried fruit, thus never the same twice!
The day we lost my mother, my friend Ann asked, “What can I do?” Almost by instinct, I answered, “Come over. Bake cookies.” I knew the one recipe that might bring some comfort to my dad and sister and me – Mom’s oatmeal cookie recipe, the one she kept in her head and made again and again. In our family cookbook, she wrote, “This is the only cookie I make but they always turn out a little different. These are the cookies that cause the grandchildren to call Grandfather a ‘cookie monster’.”
The next morning, Ann and her three-year old daughter moved into my kitchen, figuring out the flour bin and how to set an unfamiliar oven. Shortly, the house filled with life again – the kitchen busy-ness, the laughter of a child, the aroma of just-baked oatmeal cookies, all warm and cinnamon-y. What a gift, those cookies, never to be forgotten.
I remembered that special batch of cookies last month when a friend lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly. “What can I say?” I asked of someone who lost his wife only a year ago. “Nothing,” he said. “She won’t remember your words. But she will remember your presence.” I headed to the kitchen to concoct a comfort-food casserole that would keep in the fridge, or freeze, as need be.
And I baked cookies. When words fail, cookies, cookies can convey presence.
MOM’s EVERYDAY OATMEAL COOKIES
Time to finish: 1-1/4 hours
Makes “a bunch” my mom called it, about 6 dozen small cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, warmed to room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 210g
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 cups (265g) old-fashioned oatmeal
Two Cups TOTAL
- Chopped toasted nuts
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Wheat germ
- Mini chocolate chips
- Currants or chopped dried fruit
- Unsweetened coconut
Added Ingredients such as:
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer (see TIPS) until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until completely incorporated. Add the flour, soda, salt (if using), cinnamon and nutmeg, combine. Stir in the oatmeal and added ingredients.
Form into one-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Gently flatten with the base of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 9 – 10 minutes for chewy oatmeal cookies or 11 - 12 minutes for crispy oatmeal cookies or until set and golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, remove from the baking sheet to finish cooling on a rack or on paper towels.
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