Monday, September 26, 2011
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Who Have You Hugged Today?
I got a call at work early last week telling me that one of my best friends from home had just lost her mother. My friend's mom has been battling breast cancer for about six years, and there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way. I've often felt powerless watching the toll it's taken on my friend and her younger sister, yet at the same time been amazed by her mother's incredible strength--when a few of us pitched in to cook their family a week's worth of meals and hopefully ease the burden a bit, her mom invited us all inside to serve us tea, strawberries, and cream, entertaining us when we'd come to lend her a hand. She was an amazing, vibrant, faith-filled woman, and I can only hope that there is some larger plan at work in the universe that explains why she was taken from her family so soon.
After having been at home for the viewing and funeral, I found myself really reflective and, quite frankly, in need of some solace. Baking has always been weirdly therapeutic for me--the formulaic recipe steps, the physical motions involved in incorporating ingredients, the transformation of distinct parts into a new whole, and, of course, getting to indulge in the results. And what I really wanted this week especially was oatmeal raisin cookies.
(Oh, did I mention I got to use my KitchenAid stand mixer for the first time?!?! Adding to the magical comforting power of these cookies was the fact that I flipped the switch, turned around, and BAM! instant cookie dough. I feel like the way people must have when they realized they could use electricity and stop chopping firewood. I'll lose bicep mass...but so worth it.)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(slightly adapted from the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe)
**Note: I halved this recipe, since I knew I didn't need four batches (the original recipe makes about 40 cookies). If you're in the market for lots o' cookies, feel free to double up again.
7 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
3. Add egg and vanilla, mix to incorporate.
5. Add these dry ingredients to the wet mixture; continue mixing to incorporate.
6. Add oats and continue to mix.
7. Finally, add raisins (I turned my mixer down to low to add these, since the dough was starting to get a bit thick and I didn't want to overwhelm the paddle attachment with the addition of the raisins).
8. Drop dough in rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.
9. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. (I pulled mine just before 8 minutes was up--I like my cookies a little underdone, especially when they're oatmeal.)
My mom and I share a similar love of oatmeal raisin cookies, mostly because they might be the best cookies to dip in a warm, comforting cup of tea. These cookies aren't fancy or complicated or even that original--all I did was tweak a few ingredients and proportions on the recipe for Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that comes on the lid of the Quaker Oats can. But to me, they're the equivalent of a warm cookie hug. And we all need one of those once in awhile, you know? So hug your mom, and if you're so inclined, please say a prayer for or send a positive thought in the direction of my friend, her family, and her mom. And enjoy these cookies, preferably with a cuppa and some good TV.