Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are the Pie’s favourite variety of cookie, though he won’t kick any other kind out of bed, either.  This one comes from the Joy of Cooking (1997 edition, page 822).  It’s easiest to do this one outside the stand mixer, as the oats tend to tax the motor a bit.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Whisk thoroughly until well combined, 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

In another bowl, beat 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks), 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended and thick.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended and smooth.  You will get quite a workout, I promise.

Gradually add 3 1/2 cups rolled oats.  At this point I generally give up the spoon and mix everything in with my hands.

Stir in (or knead in) 2 cups raisins. Alternately, you can add in a cup of raisins and a cup of nuts.  But that’s your choice.

Drop the dough in heaping teaspoons (or a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, like I do) onto a greased baking sheet, spacing the drops about 3 inches apart.

Squish them down a bit with a fork or your hands.

Bake 6-9 minutes in the centre of the oven or until the cookies are lightly browned all over and almost firm when pressed in the centre.  Rotate your sheets halfway through to make for even baking. 

Let them firm up a bit on the sheet out of the oven for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a rack for cooling.  Makes a couple dozen.

Don’t forget what I told you yesterday – you can also freeze the cookies in tightly sealed plastic bags before they’re baked to save time later.  Just defrost them fully before baking them according to the instructions.


Margarine Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies?  While I’m not the cookie monster that the Pie is, I sure enjoy making them.

This recipe comes from The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie by Gwen Steege, and it’s pretty much the only recipe that the Pie and I use from this book.

It’s also the only reason we buy margarine, for that matter.  Well, that, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

This recipe is actually called “Chocolate Chip Cookies II”, which isn’t all that descriptive, so we call them margarine cookies, as that is the key ingredient.  The consistency of your margarine will determine the ultimate consistency of your cookies, so super-firm stuff will give you big puffy cookies, while the stuff that is more slippery will give you more flat cookies.

These cookies are also dependent on adequate beating with an electric mixer or stand mixer for their fluffy nature.

Keep in mind that cookie batter is pretty basic, and if you aren’t a fan of chocolate chips, you can stick in lots of other things.  When Kelly, Kª’s sister, was in town, I ran out of chocolate chips and so made a conglomeration of baker’s chocolate chunks, raisins, and nuts, and it was very popular.  While I called them ‘garbage cookies’ at the time, she has given them the more gentile name of ‘cupboard cookies.’  When I make these regularly I like to put in a combination of milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips for variety.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, sift together 3 cups flour with 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine 1 cup margarine, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 firmly packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon water.  Beat with an electric mixer for about two minutes until it is creamy.

And seriously you have to wait the full two minutes.  If your batter is dark, you haven’t mixed enough.

Add 2 eggs and beat until fluffy.  Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients a bit at a time.  Once all the mixture is added, beat for another two minutes until smooth and well-blended.

Stir in 3 cups (18 oz) chocolate chips.  I recommend doing this part by hand.  My mixer makes horrid crunchy noises when I use it for this step.

You can keep your dough covered in the refrigerator overnight or you can bake them right away.  You do have the choice.

Drop the dough in heaping teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.  I like to use a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop for this job.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the middle of your oven, rotating the pan halfway through for even cooking.

Do not over-bake.  Remove the cookies from the oven when they are lightly brown and crisp on the bottom.  They may seem slightly undercooked, but it’s a lie. 

They will continue to cook as they cool on the baking sheet for another few minutes, and they’re supposed to be nice and chewy.  Then remove them to paper towels or a rack to cool completely.  Makes a couple dozen.

Alternately, plop your dough in cookie-sized balls on a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer.  Once the mounds are frozen you can seal them tightly in a plastic bag, with baking instructions written on it, and keep them that way for a couple of months.  Simply allow them to defrost completely before baking.

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