Thank goodness for cookies. I find that eating them regularly makes the lingering cold and snow slightly more bearable. And baking them is a good way to pass the time, especially since my younger son loves to cook foods, both real and pretend.
With more years of parenting under my belt, I've gotten savvier about letting the kids help in the kitchen – here are my two big advances: (1) Putting a big baking sheet down underneath the whole set up to contain the flour, sugar, etc. (so much easier to clean than the flour and/or the counter). (2) Instead of having the kids fill the measuring cup or teaspoon and dump it directly into the bowl, which usually leads to wildly incorrect, a no-no in baking, I now set up a larger measuring cup for them to dump it into so that I can adjust as needed before it goes into the mixing bowl.
I wanted to use oats because they're so comforting and hearty. And chocolate is a must, in my opinion. I also like nuts in my cookies, especially when they're pecans.
I turned to one of my favorite cookie sources – the Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook. I also have their Soup and Breakfast books. I like them because all the recipes are good – sophisticated without being fancy or unnecessarily complicated, and the pictures always make me hungry
In the case of these cookies, there's not much to 'em. You just melt butter, beat eggs, chop nuts, measure flour, sugar, oats, chocolate chips and mix it all together. Then let it chill for a bit.
Scoop out a spoonful and drop it into the greased tray (that's why these are called "drop" cookies.) Then smush them down with a spoon or spatula or your hand before you put them into the oven.
Take them out, scoop them off, cool enough to avoid burning your tongue, and eat.
Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from the Oatmeal Cookies recipe in Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) organic butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten (try to find pasture-raised from a farm near you)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans (sub in walnuts if you prefer)
1. Melt the butter over low heat then remove from heat and beat in the sugar until blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
2. Stir the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture then stir in the oats, nuts, and chocolate chips until combined. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets (don't skimp!). Drop rounded spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the cookie sheets roughly 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball of dough a bit with a metal spatula or your palm. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool a bit before eating.
Related post on The Garden of Eating: Coconut almond chocolate chunk cookies