You might ask why, of all things, I want to share a recipe for oatmeal cookies. Doesn't every single cookbook known have at least one recipe for an oatmeal cookie? Well yes, they do. But I love oatmeal cookies. Given a choice between brownies and chocolate chip cookies and any other and I'll pick the oatmeal cookie hands down every single time.
Oatmeal cookies must have been one of mama's favorites as well. We had those about as much as we had homemade chocolate chip cookies. These two were basics in our household. Other cookies got made on occasion or for Christmas when we had a huge marathon of baking cookies for gift boxes. But oatmeal and chocolate chip were everyday cookies. We'd make those just any time.
The very best cookie in my opinion is the one right off the box of Quaker Oatmeal. I've used other brands of oatmeal and tried the recipes that are inevitably on their boxes, but I come back to the Quaker Oats cookie time and again. And so rather than share a written out recipe this week, I'm sharing a link instead.
I must also share my variations on the basic oatmeal cookie. While in physical rehab there was a donut shop around the corner from the hospital. As a special treat and to ward off the hospital food blues, Mama sometimes stopped in there and brought me one of their oatmeal cookies. There was something rich and exotic about that particular cookie that wowed me every single time I had one. I finally figured out the 'secret' ingredient...dates. Chopped dates were added in addition to raisins. The dates add an extra moistness to the cookie and as I said it's also a bit exotic.
However, I don't always have dates on hand. Nor raisins either, since the children are grown. So I have experimented with other variations on the theme. I've added chocolate chips and coconut. Chocolate chips and pecans. Diced fresh apple and craisins. Butterscotch chips and walnuts. When I run low on oatmeal I add in cornflakes or bran flakes to make up the difference. And just in case all that isn't enough, you can dip them in chocolate or drizzle with white chocolate. Oh. My. Goodness. I don't think there's a thing you can add to this basic recipe that would take away from it. And if all inspiration fails the plain old cookie is just as good as it can be.
I have my printed recipe set up on the counter right now. Because this week I plan to make Oatmeal cookies. Mine will have raisins and dates and walnuts. And I can't wait to bite into the first warm cookie that comes from the oven. Don't let diet guilt stop you. Just keep telling yourself you're eating a whole grain...
Famous Oatmeal Cookies
Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening and granulated sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add egg, water and vanilla; beat well. Add combined oats, flour, salt and baking soda; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-1/4 cups and bake as directed.
Add 1 cup of any one or a combination of any of the following ingredients to basic cookie dough: raisins, chopped nuts, chocolate chips or shredded coconut. LARGE COOKIES:Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15 to 17 minutes. ABOUT 2-1/2 DOZEN BAR COOKIES: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. Makes 24 BARS