In honor of our item of the week (Oats! Buy some now!) let’s make some oatmeal cookies! This recipe is my favorite Oatmeal recipe ever. First of all let’s talk about oats; they come in Regular (also called Rolled) and Quick. The only difference is that Quick oats are rolled a bit thinner and chopped up into smaller pieces (which makes them cook faster. Hence the name). So technically, you can use quick oats in place of regular, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted. In most cookie recipes, like this one, regular oats are called for. I usually have both types on hand just in case.
Today we will have a little helper in the kitchen. At my house somebody always wants to help. Yes, it is a drag. The helper will make a mess and take his sweet time adding the ingredients. But there is a payoff. Your child will adore you for letting him help. Every child loves to be in the kitchen. Also, he will learn how to cook. So by the time he’s ten or eleven you can shout from your bedroom where you are lazily working on a blog post and ask somebody to make some cookies. And there will be at least one person who will hop up and say, “Sure!” And he will know how to do it well since you taught him. He will even have learned that nobody is allowed to eat cookies until the mess is cleaned up. See what a good plan this is? So bite your tongue (no saying, “just let me do it!” Who cares if some flour spills on the floor?) and take a few deep breaths. This is good parenting stuff right here. The reason you became a mom (or dad. Or aunt. Or godmother) in the first place.
Oatmeal cookies lend themselves to all sorts of ingredients: raisins (ew. I prefer Craisins or dried cherries), white chocolate, cinnamon chips and of course chocolate. Today we’ll have my favorite: a mixture of chocolate and butterscotch chips. (Please ignore the seedlings in the corner. Potting soil is not an ingredient.)
Like most cookies, we’ll start out by creaming the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and eggs til the mixture is nice and fluffy. (A combination of butter and shortening make the cookies taste delicious as well as give them height. If you just use butter by itself they will taste yummy but be a lot flatter.)
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Stir it all up well and add it to the mixing bowl. Mix on low until most of the flour is gone.
Now it’s time to add your oats.
Don’t turn on your mixer yet! (Once the flour is added you want to mix your dough as little as possibile. Mixing the flour a lot makes your cookies tough.) Add whatever goodies you’d like.
Now you can turn on your mixer. Just enough to get everything combined. You can finish the mixing up by hand if there’s too much goodness for your mixer to handle. This dough tastes fantastic so make sure to reward your helper with a big spoonful (and one for yourself too, of course). Eating dough will also get your helper out of your way while you put the cookies on the baking sheet. Kids just can’t do this very well. They make all the cookies different sizes and put them right next to each other.
Make cookies the size of ping pong balls or a little bigger. I like to use parchment paper but it’s not necessary. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes. They should be just a tiny bit of dark beige around the edges. Don’t overbake these! You do NOT want hard oatmeal cookies. A soft, slightly chewy oatmeal cookie is a thing of beauty.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream above ingredients til smooth. Combine the following in a separate bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
Add dry ingredient mixture to butter mixture and mix briefly on low. Then add:
3 cups regular (rolled) oats
1-2 cups of chips, total (chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon, whatever)
1 cup raisins (if you are gross like that)
Stir together until just barely combined. Drop by large teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake!
P.S. Buy some extra oats!!!