Friday, September 05, 2014

La Luna Cooks Mrs. Yoder: Oatmeal Chip Cookies

You wouldn't think it to look at me, but I am actually pretty dang picky about cookies. Cake, too, for that matter. When I saw that my first recipe in the cookies section would be oatmeal chip, I thought, "Oh, no! Yuck! Well, good, I won't want to overindulge." Normally, I completely abhor oatmeal cookies with anything but raisins in them. Well, dried cranberries are acceptable. They are not supposed to have nuts, though, in my food rule-ology. They are most certainly not supposed to have chocolate chips, much less butterscotch chips, too. For some people, that would sound like food of the gods. For me, it sounded like a waste of good oatmeal, good nuts (which I mostly prefer in savory dishes---I make a killer batch of rosemary mixed nuts---but dislike nuts in brownies or chocolate chip cookies), good chocolate, and good butterscotch.

However, I had agreed to make everything. I knew Jeannene would likely love them and the day of making them fell on an Uppity Book Women night. That's my book group. So, I figured they'd be pretty easy to pawn off. The second loaf of last night's cake has gone to friends across the 4-lane and I hoped I could get rid of a bunch of these pretty easily, too. Jeannene is just delighted with this project because it gets me to make treats I wouldn't ordinarily make. Flourless chocolate cake, yes. Plain old brownies, yes. Apple crisp with a streusel type topping, yes. Even oatmeal raisin cookies---but the raisins give my darling the heebies. But never oatmeal chip cookies in my ordinary food universe.

This is the first recipe of this project that was relatively no-brainer for me. It makes a bunch. I'd say 3 or 4 dozen. I could tell you for sure, but I haven't baked the rest of the dough. I wanted them to be still warm for the Uppitys, so I waited until the very last possible minute, baked 2 dozen, stuck the rest in the fridge for later (perhaps the new neighbors' welcome gift?), and hit the door. There wasn't one thing in the recipe that I didn't already have in the house. I always have a bounty of chocolate chips, nuts, and so forth. I seldom use cream of tartar in my normal cooking life, but I did have it on hand, fairly recently purchased for something special. I also tend to keep butterscotch chips on hand so Jeannene can make worm balls if she gets the notion. Oh, the rest of you might call those "haystacks." You know, those chow mein noodle, peanut butter, butterscotch concoctions. They were a favorite family Christmas recipe when she was growing up, something they did together each year. They weren't part of mine and I looked askance at them my whole life---until Jeannene made them our first Christmas together. Oops, they're actually really yummy. I didn't need to know that.

Since Mrs. Hershberger (not the same Mrs. Hershberger of last night's hickory nut cake) didn't specify the nut variety, I went for pecans again. It was either that, peanuts, pistachios, or slivered almonds. I might try them again with salted peanuts. That'd be interesting. But the pecans were good. The directions were fairly well complete, although there was, again, no cooking time. Having baked cookies since I was a wee thing with my mama and my grandmom, though, I knew that a good number of cookie recipes bake for 9-11 minutes. So, I set Grandma Sadie's timer for 10 minutes and they came out perfectly. Admittedly, I kind of dropped them by tablespoon instead of the prescribed teaspoon. But they looked lovely, all puffy and browned, when they were done. I hate when my chocolate chip cookies are puffy like that, but this was right for the sturdy sort of cookie they are.

I'd snitched a little dough before popping them into the oven---I know, I know, I could be paralyzed for life or even die of salmonella poisoning. I know that in this day & age, we are absolutely not allowed to eat raw cookie dough. But I've been doing it since I was a little kid and I figure I might as well keep doing it. There are enough risky behaviors I don't indulge in that I figure I can toss back a smidgeon of raw egg in cookie dough every now and then. I have promised my wife that I won't eat pre-packaged cookie dough raw, but she did not extract the same promise regarding from-scratch dough. I figure I'm grandfathered in. Anyway, I was astounded to discover that the dough actually tasted good. Not just not revolting, but good. Huh. How about that? And when the cookies came out of the oven, they smelled good. I exercised admirable restraint in not actually eating one until I opened the container at book group (okay, it doesn't really count as restraint when you're simply not tempted). I'd managed to get them there still warm. Brenda didn't even want us to eat her cookies after she saw mine. I thought that was completely silly, as she'd brought my absolute favorite, plain old chocolate chip, so I brought one home for later. Jeannene ate I don't know how many and had no room for Sue's gazpacho (although she did have a nice, big helping of my split pea soup). I had the one and was perfectly happy---and I managed to give most of them away. Jeannene will be happy to see, though, that there are still a few left for her snack at work tomorrow.

I really liked the butterscotch-y undertones and I found that I didn't object to the wide variety of ingredients. Normally, I don't like cookies with a bunch of different flavors, but these were pretty good. I wouldn't make them on purpose for me, but for people who do like ingredient overload, they would probably be the bomb diggity.

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