A lot has happened in the past two weeks, which is why I haven't been around much. Here's a quick rundown:
I got a new job, and am working full-time for the first time since December. It's a good feeling, but I'm exhausted.
We went to Liverpool to visit my friend Andrew, then brought him back to Scotland to stay with us in Edinburgh for a few days, so we've been doing the tourist thing in our own town, hanging out and having fun on the Royal Mile.
I got a cold, but couldn't skip work at my brand-new job, so I've been sleeping every moment that I'm not at work.
Judson got a stomach bug.
Another friend came into town from London, Judson's boss quit, and a bunch of other smallish-things happened that have taken up most of my time and kept me away from the kitchen... and thus the computer.
But now I'm back, at least for this evening. And as I applaud myself for this new busy schedule (one of the perks of moving to a new country is that your schedule pretty much empties, so this whole “being busy” thing has become a bit of a non-issue for me), I'm reminded of the fact that Eleanor made yearly trips to visit friends and family all over the East Coast, was a member of a bowling league and a church, played weekly bingo, and had untold other “obligations,” even after she was widowed and retired... and then I feel like a bit of a loser for complaining about my two busy weeks in a row.
So, in honour of changes, being busy, and trying to capture a moment of peace when life's throwing you a lot of excitement, here's a recipe for the best oatmeal cookies I've ever eaten.
These are easy, but they require some forethought because the dough chills overnight. Now that I'm back on the 9-5 schedule, I actually find this really great: if you can remember that you need cookies two days in advance, it's a quick activity to assemble the dough one night, and then a quick job to cook them the next night. This is great because surely I can't be the only one who has ever thought that making cookies/baking cookies/washing dishes seemed like WAY too much work for a single night... but if you split it up, you're in the clear.
So busy was I, however, that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the cookies the second day... you know, after they were actually baked. So you'll have to trust me when I say that these are the perfect mix of chewy and crisp, with a great toasty flavour and a texture that's just to die for. I'm thinking it's because the oats sit in the raw dough overnight, so they soak up all the liquid from the mixture and the texture becomes less “oats sitting in sugar/butter mixture” and more of this perfectly moist but still crumbly golden crispy-chewy cookie. I'm already plotting on how to make them again and stuff them with filling, Little Debbie style.
I found a picture of the cookies! Turns out in my exhaustion, I'm actually way more productive than I thought... I just forgot to download the photos from my camera to my laptop! Enjoy!
5 spoons out of five. These blow your average oatmeal cookie out of the water... and I have to say, I think I'd prefer this to a chocolate chip cookie any day... and if you know me, you know that's saying something. Bonus points: we somehow held onto some of these for a full week (because of the aforementioned trip to Liverpool), and they never went stale OR soggy. Any cookie that's just as good on day 7 as it is on day 1 is a winner in my book!
Cream brown sugar, white sugar, shortening, and egg until thoroughly mixed.
Sift flour, soda, and salt together, then add to creamed mixture.
Add oats, nuts, and vanilla.
Roll into a log shape (might need to roll into two logs) and wrap tightly in wax paper or parchment.
The next day, preheat oven to 176C/350F.
Slice dough as thin as you can, approximately ¼ inch thick. Dough will be crumbly, so press it back together if it falls apart too much.
Bake 9 minutes until golden-brown but still slightly sticky in the middle.
Yields approximately 30 cookies, which is why you'll notice I cut it in half from what the recipe card lists.
½ c brown sugar, firmly packed
½ c sugar
½ c shortening or Stork
½ tsp salt
¾ c flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ c quick cook oats
½ tsp vanilla
¼ c walnuts, chopped smallish