Wednesday, February 24, 2010

** Snow Day ** and Oatmeal Cookies

After the warm weekend we had, we thought spring was on its way. Wrong! It snowed yesterday! I left work early just in case the roads got icy. Coming out of Houston it rained most of the way then magically the rain turned to snow about 2 miles south of the house. Then it snowed all afternoon until dark. It was beautiful!

Unfortunately when we woke up the snow was gone..... But at least today it's sunny. I wish it snowed here in winter instead of the dreary rain! It was so nice watching the snow fall (from inside).
I decided oatmeal cookies would be a nice snack to enjoy while watching the snow fall. I'll share my recipe.
My favorite oatmeal cookie receipe comes from a little booklet that I bought at a yard sale for 25 cents. The original price was 20 cents. There's no date on the booklet anywhere but it looks like it was from the 50's or 60's. It's called Pillsbury's Best Butter Cookie Cookbook (Volume III). I've made several of the recipes which are all very good. The Peanut Blossoms recipe is great too. It's funny reading these old recipes because most of the women used their husband's name, for instance the lady who created the Peanut Blossom recipe is a Mrs. Chester Smith. Can you imagine??
This receipe is called Oatmeal Chip Cookies. Of course I always change a recipe somewhat so here's the way I do it:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In mixing bowl, cream together:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Aprx. 1-1/2 tablespoons of molasses (I think this is what makes these cookies moist on the inside. The recipe calls for 1 c. white sugar and 1 c. brown, but I always use molasses.)
Then add 2 eggs and beat well
Stir together in a separate bowl:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Then add to creamed mixture, mix well.
Stir in:
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats.
1 cup raisins OR chocolate chips
The recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts also, which I sometimes add and sometimes don't, just depends on whether I have them or not.
You can chill the dough if you prefer, for easier handling. Shape dough into balls, using a rounded spoonful for each. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly then remove to wire racks.
I like small cookies and I like them to be uniform, not only because they look better, but they also cook more uniformly, so I use a gadget from Pampered Chef that looks like a melon baller or ice cream scoop, but basically it measures out a perfect portion in a nice round ball. It makes easy and fast work of making cookies. They come in three different sizes. I have a large one and sometimes make cookies with the larger one also. You can see it in the picture below.
I also use an air-filled cookie sheet for even baking and parchment paper for easy clean up.
The wire cooling racks in this picture were Mom's. I can only imagine how many cookies and cakes she cooled on them over the years!! They're probably pretty old and still going strong. I also have 2 racks from Marc's Mom. They're a little different but also old and well made.
The other cookbook in the picture is the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. This cook book was Mom's also. The page that showed the copyright is long since gone. There's still a sticker on the front that says $2.95 so you know it's old! I think it came out in the 60's. A few years back they reprinted it exactly as it was then so I gave all my daughters a copy, along with a note about which recipes were favorites. (Note: Stephanie had it for years with the cellophane wrapper still on... only recently, after moving into their house in Navasota did she crack it open)
I remember as a kid making recipes out of that book (making recipes with friends with spent the night, and leaving the mess for Mom to find in the morning). Pages 22-23 are stained from use. On those pages you find Snickerdoodles (I won a ribbon in the county fair many years ago with that recipe) and Chocolate Crinkles, as well as Peanut Butter Fingers, all of which I've made countless times.
I like cookbooks and have collected many over the years. I finally had to purge my stash, I simply didn't have room for all of them. I like any cookbook from the 50's because it seems like life was so wholesome and simple back then (our grand kids will probably say that about 1999).
I have a cookbook that Kathy gave me in 1977 - The Joy of Cooking. It is tattered and stained and sections have come loose from the spine but I still use it all the time. I learned to cook with that one. Everything you could need is in there - from how to set a table to how to stock your pantry to how to cook any food you could imagine. I am sure that I've literally read every recipe in that book.

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