I hope everyone enjoyed their corned beef, cabbage, soda bread, and Guinness Monday.
While we’re always sorry to see the St. Patrick’s Day festivities end, tomorrow is another day: National Oatmeal Cookie Day, that is. (Check out Foodimentary.com for a complete list of food holidays, to make sure you don’t miss any — these are important occasions to celebrate, after all. You have to feed your family, so why not have some fun with it?)
The beautiful thing about oatmeal cookies is that while they offer sweetness, they also provide some heart-healthy oats at the same time. Not necessarily nutritious food, but comfort food that’s better for you than, say, a triple-layer chocolate cake or a hot fudge sundae. Oats provide fiber, can contribute to lowering bad cholesterol, and can help in maintaining blood sugar levels. They’re good for you, and they taste good, too ... especially in cookies.
There are so many variations on these treats, and I’m offering three very different ones today. Two of these are from long-term -- not old, never old -- friends of mine, women who are exceptional writers, bloggers, and bakers as well as wonderful people; the third recipe is my own.
Candace Killough Partridge is a Louisiana native recently transplanted to New Hampshire, who is surrounded by a multi-generational family that enjoys celebrating good music and delicious food. She and I have been dreaming of an extensive road trip for ages, hoping to eat our way around the country; we’re just waiting for a benefactor to come along to fund it.
The Lindt White Coconut Chewy Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookies that Candace has featured on her blog, Mi Chiamo Candace (discoveringcandace.blogspot.com), are “the best cookies that I’ve ever made,” she says. “Run, don’t walk, to the nearest store and grab one of those (white chocolate) bars and make these cookies. I am telling you that they are amazing.”
Vicki Brett-Gach and I started our relationship as colleagues writing for The Ann Arbor News’ food page, and quickly became good friends. She is a Vegan Cooking Instructor for Washtenaw Community College, conducts group cooking demonstrations, and provides one-on-one consulting to make the transition easier for those adopting a vegan lifestyle. Her blog, on which today’s featured cookie recipe first appeared, is Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen (annarborvegankitchen.com).
“Even vegans need treats now and then,” she says. “I have since put my own twist on these cookies ... most significantly swapping in white whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour”. Vicki’s son, “who is usually completely whole-wheat-averse, ate the cookie dough raw.” While Vicki doesn’t recommend doing this, as her son “pointed out himself, it is safe because this dough has no raw eggs.”
My own recipe is for a classic, simple oatmeal cookie, the kind we all remember from childhood. Add raisins, walnuts, dried cherries, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips ... you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose.
Now, pick one of these recipes -- from the sweet, seductive vegan option to the decadent sandwich cookie to the traditional one -- and get ready for Wednesday’s cookie fest.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Candace Killough Partridge’s Lindt White Coconut Chewy Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookies
Adapted from Scarpetta Dolcetto and Eats Well With Others
Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar until totally incorporated. Increase the speed and beat until smooth. Mix in lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
With a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Add to the mixing bowl and combine. Add the coarsely chopped White Coconut bar and mix well.
Refrigerate the dough for at least half an hour or until cool to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Shape dough into generous tablespoon-sized rounds and flatten slightly. Place 2” apart on the baking sheet and bake about 10-12 minutes until they are well browned and the centers are set. Once the cookies have cooled, generously spread cream cheese frosting on the bottom of the cookie and sandwich one of equal size with it.
Vicki Brett-Gach’s Oatmeal Stawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium-size bowl, mix together maple syrup, soy milk, oil, vanilla, and molasses. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and dried strawberries, and incorporate well.
Scoop heaping 2 or 2 1/2 tablespoon-size balls of cookie dough onto parchment paper, leaving room for cookies to spread during baking. Flatten tops slightly.
Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to baking rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 15 (three-inch) cookies.
Mary Bilyeu’s Classic Oatmeal Cookies
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and shortening. Beat in sugar and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in flour and oats. Stir in raisins and walnuts.
Roll portions of dough the size of a golf ball; place onto the prepared cookie sheet 2” apart and flatten slightly. Bake for 14-15 minutes, until cookies are golden; remove to a rack and let cool.
Makes 54 cookies.