Friday
Sep142012

Skip's Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Food Processes

Don’t get me wrong, food processing isn’t all bad.  Your great-grandmother probably used some of the 32 food processing methods recognized by the FDA.  She likely dried apples for use in winter, preserved berries for jam, fermented cabbage into sauerkraut, or milk into yogurt, or pickled beets from the garden.  These traditional processes extend the shelf life of crops to last through the winter.

Other processes make food healthier.  Sprouting grains can make trace minerals more available by reducing phytic acid, and increase vitamins A and C.  Cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene, a potent antioxidant.  Fresh tomatoes are great, but be sure to enjoy pasta with tomato sauce too.

Make vs Buy

In the prior post we discussed the proper limits on food processing and opened the door to doing more home processing.  Commenting, reader Laura noted that she makes her own cheese and Graham crackers.  Jessica observed it’s a balancing act, what to make at home; she prefers to buy both pasta and spaghetti sauce.  (Though we did post a recipe for Real Spaghetti Sauce.)

There’s an interesting book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese that reviews the various make vs. buy decisions.  Reese, newly out of a job, decided to cut costs by doing more of her food processing.  She found it cheaper to buy butter, but better to make your own bread.  Reese tried a lot of home-made items but I’d like to add one: oatmeal cookies—the subject of this post.  You can't buy cookies with this kind of love and taste in the store.

Skip’s Oatmeal Cookies

I started with the recipe on the Quaker Oats box and made these changes:

  • Butter:  We like a crisper cookie, so I reduced flour ¼ cup and increased butter ¼ cup.  This helped but I learned to also press the dough flat with a fork for an even thinner, crisper cookie.
  • Sugar:  The recipe called for 1-¼ C of sugar (3/4 C brown sugar plus ½ C white sugar).  We reduced this to 1 C turbinado sugar (less processed; slightly more vitamins and minerals), though we use regular brown sugar if turbinado isn’t available.
  • Flour:  I used fresh-ground wheat flour instead of store-bought flour.  This made a crumbly cookie, especially in humid weather.  After some experimenting, I solved this by combining whole-wheat flour and white flour.  Another solution, if you want 100% whole-wheat flour, is to add 1 tbsp of wheat gluten.
  • Seasoning:  We replaced the cinnamon and raisins with walnuts (source of omega-3) and dark chocolate chips (60% cacao; rich in antioxidants).  The beautiful wife says some prefer the semi-sweet chips, but darker means more of the healthy cacao.  There’s nothing wrong with cinnamon and raisins—just a taste preference.

Skip’s Oatmeal Cookie Recipe  (Guess I made enough changes to put my name on the recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 C butter (2 sticks, or 16 oz.)
  • 1 C turbinado or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ C fresh whole-wheat flour
  • ½ C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 C oats
  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 C small dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar together.  (Some experts claim that colder butter results in less crumbly cookies, but I didn’t see a difference in my testing.)
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Blend well.
  4. Add oats, walnuts, and chips.  Stir together.
  5. Drop on cookie pan (rounded tablespoon size nuggets) and flatten with a fork (as though you were making peanut butter cookies).  We don’t coat the pan but we have a cheap aluminum pan that gets a little sticky and I’m cautious of aluminum cookware so we drop the dough on parchment paper with this pan. 
  6. Bake about 12 minutes at 350 F.  Makes about 4 dozen.  We put some in zip-lock sandwich bags to freeze (so I won’t eat them all at once).

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Skip - have you tried whole wheat pastry flour in baking? I tried putting just PART whole wheat flour in some banana bread when I first got married and it tasted terrible. I was so discouraged and gave up on substitutions for a while. Then after reading about whole wheat pastry flour on a blog I recently made banana bread with ALL whole wheat pastry flour and could not believe that you couldn't even tell. My husband was shocked when I told him. We agreed that once you concentrated you could slightly taste it, but the texture was great, not dense. Yay!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Anna, thanks for your suggestion. I grind my own llour but I'll buy some whole wheat pastry flour. Here's the problem: You can't buy it fresh (as far as I know). The stuff in the store is 2-4 months old and hasn't been refrigerated in that time. Anyone else have experience with WW pastry flour?

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

I've found that if you grind soft white wheat kernels, the flour is more whole wheat pastry-like than when grinding hard white wheat.

We also have a family member with an egg allergy and we've found we can substitute ground flax seed for the eggs (up to 2) in any recipe and they still work out great. Does that mean these cookies are even healthier? ;) (We use 1 Tbs. ground flax + 3 Tbs. water per egg. Stir the flax and water together in a small cup and let it sit for a minute or so. Stir it once again before adding. The consistency will be surprisingly egg-like.) Can't wait to try this recipe with your modifications, especially the walnuts and dark chocolate!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMindy

Six thumbs up from our family! We made these last night and they were quickly voted our new favorite oatmeal cookie. :) Thanks for sharing.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMindy

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