My Favorite Oatmeal Cookies

14 05 2008

One of the positive things that came out of my last trip to La Grande Epicerie was that I found a box of Quaker Oats.  This may not sound very exotic or exciting, but trust me, they aren’t easy to find around here.  Plus, it meant I could finally whip up a batch of oatmeal cookies, which are a perennial favorite of mine.  I generally refer to them as “Heart-Healthy Oatmeal Cookies,” but I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea.  (My imaginary lawyers are telling me to say that I am not a medical professional and nobody should take diet or health advice from me.)  I call them that because they contain oats, a heart-healthy (or at least they are currently believed to be so) ingredient.  I figure that at least counteracts some of the butter and sugar.  Well, I like to tell myself that in order to justify eating about 5 cookies a day until the batch is exhausted.

Heart-Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Dough

I am an oatmeal cookie purist: no nuts, no chocolate, no cinnamon, and absolutely no raisins, under any circumstances.  I know of an awesome variation from the perfectionists over at Cook’s Illustrated with dried cherries, pecans, and dark chocolate which is decadently delicious, but I can eat mine for breakfast without feeling guilty.  As for the specific recipe, I use the same one I’ve made with my Mom dozens, if not hundreds, of times.  It’s from the Quaker Oats box, but I make a couple of changes/clarifications to their recipe:

1. The salt is NOT optional.  (This could, in fact, be the single most important cooking rule there is.  Apologies to those on low-sodium diets, but it’s true.  The right amount of salt makes everything taste better.)

2. Use butter, not margarine.  Preferably unsalted, so you can add the salt yourself.  I like to use larger-grained salt for these cookies so that every now and then you get an almost savory bite, enhancing the butterscotch-y sweetness of the brown sugar.

3. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through the baking time.  This ensures even browning.  By rotate I mean, “using oven mitts pick up the pan and turn it on the horizontal plane 180 degrees.”  (Not, as a friend of mine misinterpreted once, “using a spatula, flip each cookie over.”)

Oatmeal Cookies

That’s about it.  I use parchment paper to line my sheet pan.  You can keep reusing it until all the cookies are baked, and it makes the cleanup a lot easier.  If you don’t have parchment, don’t sweat it.  An ungreased cookie sheet works just as well.

While they may not qualify as heart-healthy, they are still a much better-for-you snack than a lot of other things you could be eating.  So go on, have two!




2 responses

23 05 2008

I love oatmeal cookies! I’ve been very adventurous lately by baking the Whole Foods boxed mix (I add chocolate chips), but perhaps I’m ready for an actual recipe! Your tips and a Quaker Oats box sound pretty doable… Definately simpler than your “quick and easy” pork loin which requires deglazing a pan (whatever that means!)
Hope you two are good!

25 05 2008

You can do it! As for the deglazing, it’s just a fancy way of saying “pour liquid into pan and scrape up any delicious browned bits from the bottom.”

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