It always makes me smile when people ask for recipes or ask for advice on recipes they've tried. I think back to my County Extension Agent days when we answered cooking questions over the telephone. We spent a LOT of time trouble shooting recipes and suggesting substitutions. It was a consumer service and one we provided with pleasure. It was almost like teaching a class with no classroom!
Then there were my days teaching in a Home Ec classroom...oh, dear me! What an experience! If the students had a successful cooking lab, I let them have a "free" lab day on Fridays. They could bring food from home to prepare in the lab. Food plus teenagers equals a good day. So, the 2 kitchens of boys (4 in each group) pooled their resources and brought several rolls of refrigerator sugar cookie dough. They went about their business getting the dough ready to go into the oven amid a lot of giggles and laughter. I thought they were having waayy too much fun, but let it go.. it was Friday and they were 9th grade kids. They had cookies in the oven in both kitchens and when the timer on both went off at the same time, I walked over to one oven and started to open the oven door. Their faces went white. They became silent. They looked horrified. I was stumped until I opened the oven door and saw the cookies. The boys had shaped their dough into male body parts - sugar cookie penis!!!! I calmly removed the cookie sheet from the oven, set it on the stove top and walked into the large walk-in pantry and laughed until I cried! I had 2 choices: report them to the office and send them all to ISS (in school suspension) or ignore it . I chose the latter. I never saw the cookies again and never had a moment's trouble from those boys the entire year!
This week, I'm baking cookies for our church to give to incoming students at Young Harris College. I clued the girls sitting behind us in church Sunday in to the generosity of the ladies of our congregation. I assured them to stick with us because we would feed them well! I'm sure they will love homemade cookies!
One of my favorite cookie recipes is a chewy oatmeal cookie (especially for my friend, Mary M.). You can add whatever you like to the basic dough. I'm adding M&M's, nuts and chocolate chips this week. If I were making it for me, I'd add dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips. Or you can add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the flour mixture, leave out the chocolate and add raisins. Make the dough ahead and refrigerate it for the best shaped cookies. When the dough is refrigerated, the cookies tend to spread less. No suspicious shapes here!
Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (or half brown and half white sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups uncooked regular oats (NOT instant!)
1 (12-oz) pkg chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter, Crisco and sugar at medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, stirring to blend. Add oats; stir well. Add dry mixture to creamed mixture, mixing at low speed just until dry ingredients are no longer visible. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts. Refrigerate OR drop by rounded tablespoons 2-inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown around the edges. Cool on pan for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Yield: 30 to 36 cookies.