Spectacularly Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

IMG_9614First of all, let it be known to one and all that I am not a food blogger. There are somewhere in the ballpark of a gazillion food bloggers out there who do an amazing job and have incredible skills both in the kitchen and in writing and in photographing their food…

…and I am not one of them.

I do, however, love to bake. This week when I mentioned these cookies on Facebook I had a hilariously disproportionate response to them—a response that was driven into two distinct camps:

A) OH, MY GOD, I LOVE OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES THEY ARE THE BEST THING SINCE A SHIRTLESS JASON MOMOA WALKED OUT OF THE OCEAN.

or,

B) OH, MY GOD, I DETEST OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES THEY ARE THE WORST THING SINCE CROCS.

IMG_9615A quick word to those of you who have deep-rooted trust issues concerning raisins: first of all, let’s just acknowledge that if this is your big stumbling block in life, you’ve had it pretty good so far. Secondly, those sweet, little wrinkled nuggets of deliciousness are substitutable. Instead of raisins, toss in chocolate chips. Or, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. Or, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Or, if you want to go with something fruity instead of decadent, use cranberries (or, cranberries and white chocolate chips). Or dried, chopped apricots (or dried chopped mango, or papaya). What I’m saying here is that this recipe is made to modify.

Also, this recipe was sort of a happy accident. I had my mom’s recipe and some ideas that I found online for making them chewy, and then I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, and then I flat-out forgot some ingredients (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Whoops!), so…

Yeah. In my kitchen, improvisation (and apparently forgetfulness) happens.

Luckily, it was a success. I had to fend off the hordes in order to have just three left to photograph, and I have one kid who is trying to bargain his way into me making them every damn day. So I salute you, serendipity, for tinkering in the kitchen with me, and with my gratitude, dive into the ingredient list.

Ingredients (in order of use):

1 C. butter, room temp

1 C. brown dark brown sugar

1/2 C. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 T. pear glaze*

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1 3/4 C. flour

3 C. old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 C. Raisins (or whatever)

*You could use molasses here, or maple syrup. Honestly, I kinda want to try peanut butter (smooth, and maybe blended with half the butter first?). I have a pantry full of pear glaze that I canned last summer, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Get Down to Business:

Whip the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, scraping the bowl as you need. Next, the vanilla. Next, the pear glaze. Beat until it’s nice and goopy (technical word. Impressive, I know). Work your way down the rest of the recipe, adding one ingredient at a time until incorporated. You’ll probably want to fold in the raisins with a rubber spatula.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Using your hands, roll dough into balls, pop back into the fridge for fifteen minutes (the colder the dough is going into the oven, the softer the cookie will be). Bake at 350 degrees (be sure to preheat oven) for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. 

Voila! Your cookies are done! With our family of six they were pretty much gone in less time than it took me to make them, but it was totally worth it. I hope you try ’em, and love ’em!

teal

Happy Hausfrau: Sweetened Condensed Milk

Click to check out Anne Taintor's fab artwork!

It was a holiday emergency.

The Happy Hausfrau, preparing to make her hubby’s favorite Christmastime treat, realized she had forgotten one item at the store.  The store that, though open, was teeming with last minute shoppers jacked up on caffeine and misplaced holiday spirit.  She did not want to brave that storm.

“Sweetened condensed milk…sweetened condensed milk,” she muttered to herself while staring vainly in her pantry, wishing very much that she was Mrs. Weasley, who was sure to have a spell that could create sweetened condensed milk out of thin air.  She stomped her foot a little, thinking that being a Muggle definitely had some serious disadvantages.

The clock was ticking.  A mob of family members with zombie-like hunger for sweets and booze would soon be ringing the doorbell and storming the kitchen, leaving nothing in their wake but crumbs, dirty dishes, empty bottles, and creepy Uncle Joe passed out under the kitchen table.  The Happy Hausfrau knew she needed to find a substitute.  Fast.

After taking a brief, but oh-so-necessary moment to adjust her holiday apron and re-apply her devastatingly red lipstick, the Happy Hausfrau perched in front of her computer, fingers flying over the keyboard.  A small, sly smile crossed her face as she read.  She may not be Mrs. Weasley, but she had one thing Mrs. Weasley didn’t:

Google.

Okay, maybe two things:

Google and scotch.

She typed and clicked, sipped and searched until she found exactly what she needed:

How to Astonish Friends and Make Your Enemies Envious with this Simply Easy Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe.

Rejoice!  Christmas Eve, and the Happy Hausfrau’s husband’s favorite treat (the unfortunately named ‘Fudge Puddles’) were saved!

The Unfortunately-Named 'Fudge Puddles'

Recipe: Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 Eggs

1 C. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Tbsp. Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

Mix all ingredients well; use as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk in recipes for pies, bars, and desserts.

Click here for the fabulous Fudge Puddles recipe.

RECIPE: Cathy’s Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

My daughter showing off her crazy-awesome rolling-pin skills...

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 C. Sugar

1 C. Butter, softened (I use salted)

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1 Egg

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

3 1/2 C. Flour

1 t. Baking Powder

My boys are expert cookie cutters...and dough eaters!

INSTRUCTIONS

In mixer (I use my cake-batter attachement), beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese until fluffy-ish.  Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract.  Beat until creamy.

In separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.

Little by little, add flour mix to cream cheese mixture.  Mix well until flour is fully incorporated.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough (about 1/2″ thickness).  Cut cookies and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Our first batch of the season, made to share on Thanksgiving!

I use a simple powdered sugar glaze as frosting for these – powdered sugar, water, and a little vanilla.  Add water little by little to the sugar until you get the consistency you want.  Liven up with food coloring and decorating goodies!