Thursday, June 16, 2011

.make a meal of these, it's in the name.

when i was in college, i worked in a couple of different bookstores and never really found myself lingering in the cookbook aisles. if i wanted to get lost between the maze of tall shelves away from a needy customer or even needier store manager, you would have found me somewhere in fiction and literature. then, there were days that the travel section lured me in with its promises of unmade memories. but not once did i ever relate to all those people who bought into the 'joy of baking.' it seemed like a labor of love, but i always loved eating someone else's treats without the labor. (even if that someone was little debbie)

now, i totally understand why the book was titled using the word joy instead of ending up the 'labor of baking.' there is something so gratifying to me about taking all these mismatched kitchen ingredients and turning them into something that gives people's taste buds a little ditty to dance to.

as far as dancing buds went, the time had come for me to give my very own husband's favorite cookie a turn around the floor. so, i set out to make his number one pick- oatmeal cookies. traditionally, oatmeal cookies pride themselves in the raisiny surprises popping up in each bite. however, over the years, people have packed these wholesome cookies with more than just raisins. when i asked my main squeeze how he preferred his, i shouldn't have been surprised when he chose the original basic raisin variety. i found this recipe below from martha stewart.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture; mix until just combined. Mix in raisins.
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
Bake until golden and just set, about 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

this was my first time working with oats and they were thankfully quite cooperative. they mix easily with both dry and wet components without being so dainty that i couldn't really dig in. the recipe boasted a hearty 5 dozen. before you worry that i had all intentions of really fattening my husband up, please know my plan was to take most of them to my summer job to share with everyone.

after making a whole, whole bunch of batter, it was time to plop in the one and a half cups of raisins. but i don't always play by the rules. instead, i set half of the batter aside in a separate bowl and only put raisins in that. while i love my husband and respect his wishes, i also have a strong will that is sometimes hard to ignore. and this time, that will was pulling me towards walnuts and chocolate chips. let's have a little fun with the oatmeal, right?

i ended up stretching the batter into six dozen cookies and had quite the one-woman-assembly line going of baking, resting on the sheet, transferring to cooling wrack, transferring to plate and starting over again. luckily, i had two cookie sheets working in tandem and that saved me a whole bunch of time.

once all was said and baked, the oatmeal raisin cookies rested on the crispier side of things and the walnut chocolate chips had a more chewy, thick consistency. with my handled carrying case all packed full of cookies, i shared both flavors with everyone working at my institute. i even gave my personal team little nicknamed baggies with one of each flavor tucked inside to ensure they got the best of both worlds. now as far as my husband, he got about a dozen and a half all for himself, without one little ounce of complaint.

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