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.

Blueberry Muffins with Yogurt and Lemon

The Pie had some classmates over to collaborate on a project, and I never feel like a good host unless I have something to serve for a snack. This recipe makes about 24 muffins, which leaves you with some to eat now and some to freeze for a time when you aren’t at leisure to bake.

These blueberry muffins are a modification on the classic recipe, and they’re super easy and super moist.  They remind me more of a cupcake than a muffin.  The yogurt keeps the batter dense and soft, while the lemon and nutmeg make for a tangier taste.

I mix these by hand because the batter is supposed to be lumpy, and I find an electric mixer tends to overmix.  I also prefer using a large whisk to do all of this, as it keeps flour and liquids from sloshing all over my kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray two 12-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.

Use a whisk to prevent flour clouds from attacking you.

In another, smaller bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs, 2 cups plain yogurt, 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup melted butter, the juice and zest of 2 lemons, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

This gooey mass will be muffins soon.

Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened (a whisk will help you to prevent overmixing).

Add 1 to 2 cups frozen blueberries (depending on how berry-full you like your muffins) and mix in.

Add in as many frozen blueberries as you can handle.

Spoon generous amounts into the prepared muffin pans and sprinkle the tops with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar.

Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the middle muffin comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then use a fork to gently pry out the muffins and place on a rack to cool completely.  Once cool, the muffins can be stored in plastic freezer bags and frozen for a couple of months.

Eat as soon as possible, or freeze for future snacking.