Are you like me? Have oatmeal cookies been inexplicably difficult for you for as long as you can remember? Does your mom--whose cookies are the toast of two states (IL, MO) and locals think of her as The Cookie Lady--also have trouble with them?
Troubles like: they become giant pancake cookies. That is the main problem.
Finally, at age 42 and 364/365ths (tomorrow is my birthday), I have an oatmeal cookie recipe that I truly love. They don't spread out like sons of bitches! They are chewy but not too bendy. During that magical cooling-on-the-rack time, they're slightly crunchy on the outside in a way that is...endearing. Easy and fast, too! Freezer-ready!
Interestingly, they contain no cinnamon or other spices, and that simplicity makes them somehow better. Before I made them the first time, I thought about adding chocolate chips to the dough (which you could eat raw by the fistful with no problem whatsoever). But I didn't, and I'm glad because they are so perfect that...
...chocolate would not improve them.
!!! Chocolate would in fact diminish them !!!
The recipe is from The Pioneer Woman's blockbuster first cookbook, and on the page it looked...nothing. Almost comic.
It seemed to me that I was eating the oatmeal cookies of God.
(Bun drowsily watches me make these cookies while in her popular "roast" position.)
But before I get into the recipe, I wanted to address what is currently my top popular search--see box at right. How did I meet Jeff, you ask? Match.com, how do you like them apples? Oh, you naysayers were like:
"Eww, why would anybody ever do online dating there's just so many CREEPS out there and you can't be too careful and gawd what kind of loser do you have to be because I met my man the old fashioned way at some random bar why don't you do that oh right you don't drink and you probably have social anxiety disorder or whatever it is anyway oh well I guess you should give it a shot because tick tock tick tock am I right hahahaha!!"
You people! I shouldn't even let you in on this recipe!
Jeff was the last of seven men I online dated during 2007. We met a few days before Christmas, and after a torrid month of dating, he took me to Chicago to celebrate my birthday. Here's how foxy Jeff looked that weekend:
He treated me like a queen for a couple of days, and we were positively giddy with love for each other. On our way back to the train station, our cab driver asked us if we were in fact married. And that's when Fox Jeff unintentionally gave me the best birthday present of my life when he said, without hesitation:
I mean, what better thing to say to a lovestruck, 39 year-old spinstah?
"Not yet." MEANING THERE IS A YET. Jeff was a real man with actual yet ideas. Yet was a possibility. A probability! No messing around with this guy. DECISIVELY IN LOVE. That's what I had been waiting for, that's what I needed, and that's what he was!
So yeah, I met this loser on Match.com, yo.
Here's the recipe.
- 1 cup shortening (Crisco) <-- I used butter flavor. Yeah, sorry, but it works, and guess what is in Oreo filling? Basically Crisco! Stop judging and just make these.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar <-- I haven't tried dark brown sugar yet, just light.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking oda
- 3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans <-- Optional but really good.
In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening with both sugars until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs together. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Add to the shortening/sugar mixture and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix carefully into the egg/shortening mixture until well combined. Now add the oats and pecans and mix to combine.
Divide the dough in half and place each half of the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll the dough into a log and then wrap it tightly in the waxed paper. You can either chill or freeze the dough until later or you can go ahead and slice the dough evenly into cookie rounds. Each roll makes 12.
When you are ready to bake them place them on a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper on the sheet, but you could also do Silpat or Pam, 6 cookies per sheet although you could probably do 8) and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown. Golden brown around the top edges of the cookies, that is. Maybe underbake them a little. Definitely check the cookies at 10 minutes if you're using room-temperature dough and 12 minutes if it's frozen.
Cool on a wire rack. Fantastic warm. Fantastic crumbled up on vanilla ice cream--either baked or raw.