I am hosting a play group/mommy support group for our local chapter of Bradley Method for Natural Childbirth. Our group includes moms, moms to be, the smallest newborns, toddlers, and even young children. As you can imagine, all of the playing and talking makes people hungry, so there are always snacks. This can be tricky with being mindful of nutrition, food allergies, and snacks that could choke babies. But, it should also be fun and part of the overall experience.
Since it is a morning play group, I decided to have a “breakfast” theme, with fresh fruit, juice, and oatmeal–cookies. Because I am normally a flop with baking, I turned to one of my favorite foodie blogs, Smitten Kitchen, for inspiration, and I found it.
I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, adapted for my personal taste and my finicky oven. Thinking of my other cookie flops, I decided to try the recipe ahead and freeze the dough, to bake the night before. A friend came by to talk baby stuff, and I got her to eat a couple cookies. She said, “What are you talking about!? You can totally make awesome, scrumptious cookies,” or something like that. I’m just paraphrasing.
1 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder (or Cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit. I want to try diced apricots and almonds next time)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I omitted these to be safe for nut allergies)
Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, Five Spice Powder, and salt together. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Next, stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts.
Chill the dough in the fridge or freezer to set the butter. You can chill the whole bowl, make the scoops and chill those, or make the cookie balls and put them on the prepared cookie sheet and chill. It depends on whether you are baking the whole batch right away. I was not, so the sheet in the freezer worked well for me.
The cookies should be two inches apart on a SILPAT parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. Baking time may varies, depending on the oven and the temperature of the cookies (My oven is off by 100 degrees, most of the time. We need a new one, but we also needed a new clothes washer, and since we use cloth diapers, the washer won out for now). Remove when they start to crisp around the edges but are not yet done in the center. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Makes several dozen.