Thursday, August 18, 2005

More Opa Moments

The other day I wrote about simple pleasures and staying in the moment. I didn't realize exactly what that meant until my niece came over for the afternoon and we baked cookies. It was great fun - 5 year olds have all this energy that needs to be controlled without diluting any of the enthusiasm. Any of you who have had the pleasure of baking with young ones knows what I mean. My favorite part is when she cracks the eggs into the bowl. The egg shell gets crushed and mixed in with the yolk and white. There's this intake of breath and huge eyes as she looks up in surprise at her strength. (I do an instant replay in my mind and smile all over again). Much of the egg white doesn't even make it into the bowl and let's not even consider separating the yolks from the whites. Flour and sugar in equal measure into the bowl and on the counter and floor.

The recipe is simple and the cookies smelled delicious as they baked. Katie kept a watchful eye through the oven door and finally they were ready to come out. The hardest part was waiting until we could eat them. Here's where the "living in the moment" aha happened. I realized that we had eaten most of the cookies before I had a chance to take any pictures!!! Now I'll have to make another batch - oh well. This batch has dried cherries and chopped pecans in addition to chocolate chips.

Best Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 24-30 cookies
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total Cooking time: 15 minutes

½ cup Crisco
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
¾ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ cup rolled oats
1¼ cup chocolate chips &/or dried fruit &/or nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream Crisco with sugars. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Drop dough from a teaspoon onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I just cover the baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil) and bake until barely brown for 12-15 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tips & Variations

For variety, I like to use dried cranberries or cherries and chopped pecans. For Katie, it's just chocolate chips. Of course at least 1/2 cup was needed to sustain the chef while making the batter!!!


Joe said...

Baking with children is such a rewarding experience! They soak up so much knowledge and its fun to see the looks on their face when the finished product comes together!

Ruth said...

Absolutely. I remember "helping" my mother bake cookies. She would give me some dough of my own and I would roll it and pound it and squeeze it until it was grey. Then I would cut it into shapes and bake it along side my mother's beautifully delicate cookies and be so proud. I can still see the look of pride on my face when I gave my father one of my cookies to eat. I don't know how he kept a straight face - or for that matter actually ate the thing - but it's one of my fondest childhood memories.