I have been back from Maui for two days. Mentally I feel recharged and ready to take on the new year, though I’m still a bit tired physically from the travel home and the errands that were waiting for me. It always takes a day or two to shake off the travel dust but I don’t mind–the 11 days we spent on the beach more than make up for the post-travel fatigue.
While I was away I spent some time considering my resolutions for 2012. Sure, the get-in-better-shape resolution is a given and I do try to stick to that throughout the year. My husband and I set some joint goals, mainly to make a bigger effort to plan out our year before it flies by us once again. It was also a good time to renew some personal, still unmet goals but one of the things I was excited to bring back into my life again is my journal.
When I pulled my notebook out from its secret place, I was disappointed to see that my last entry was from April 2010. I have never ignored it for that long before (I have been keeping a diary since grade school and still have all of them). It’s not that I haven’t written at all during this time but I’ve taken to the lazy route and have resorted to typing ideas on my computer or writing them on a piece of paper. Once my thoughts were organized I would promptly discard the file or the note. It was not the same–I didn’t like not having the old notes to reflect on. I’ve always had this strange notion that I am most honest with myself when I write things down. I can float around ideas in my head but somehow truth and clarity always come when I document them. Thankfully, my momentary disappointment at neglecting my journal gave way to pleasant feelings as I read some previous entries–it was like being reunited with an old friend. I will make a sincere effort to stick to this resolution.
Something else that I wanted to bring back into my life was an oatmeal raisin cookie. The craving was understandable since I had not baked a batch in quite a while and after being away from my kitchen for so long, I was only too happy to get to work.
These cookies are thick and packed with oats. They are also a far cry from the first oatmeal-raisin cookies I used to bake many years ago. My original recipe contained no butter and used overripe bananas and applesauce. Looking back now they were on the dry side and were only good right out of the oven. I never served them to company–they were meant to be a guilt-free treat for me and my husband–but I hear a friend had a taste of them one day and his facial expression upon tasting one cookie said it all. Maybe it’s a good thing that recipe is history.
This version is much better. It is a product of combining a few recipes I’ve collected over time and it does embrace the use of butter. I still cut back on sugar when I can (and this compromises the chewiness of the cookie) but the addition of chocolate chips makes up for it, I think. They are entirely optional but I had an opened bag of semisweet chips in the refrigerator that was begging to be used. The raisins and chocolate provide ample sweetness here and the healthy portion of oats lends almost a nutty quality to the cookies. While making this batch last night I forgot to add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture before adding the flour. Rather than giving up, I beat the eggs in a separate bowl and stirred them into the rest of the batter. It didn’t hurt the cookies a bit, but next time I might wait until morning to answer my craving.
Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Makes about 27 cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (you can use any brown sugar you have. Feel free to use only one type for the entire cup measure)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the vanilla extract to the raisins in a bowl and allow the raisins to absorb the flavor for 30-minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until it’s creamy. Add all the sugar and beat for another few minutes until light and fluffy in texture. Add the eggs, beating between additions.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the mixture then add the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.
- Roll two-inch portions of dough into a ball. I use a two tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop to make the job much easier.
- Place the balls on a baking sheet about two inches apart and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. I use the convection feature of my oven so it may take up to 22-23 minutes otherwise. Make sure to rotate the baking pans top to bottom, front to back during the baking period.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and cool them on a wire rack before serving.