I woke up this morning itching to bake something. I didn’t have to be at school until 1pm, and the oven was just calling to me. I rummaged through the cupboards and fridge and determined that I had the ingredients to make some chocolate chip cookies, though I didn’t want to make just the usual plain ol’. Flipping through Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, his oatmeal cookies caught my eye. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except that I upped the cinnamon, added ground ginger, and dark chocolate chips. The resulting cookies are chewy with oatmeal and warm with just a hint of spice. The cinnamon and ginger are not overpowering, in fact, they barely whisper to you that they’re in there. They lend a subtle complexity that makes people wonder just what’s in those little cookies. I suspect a little nutmeg would be good as well, though it might give itself away more readily than the ginger and cinnamon.
I don’t own an electric mixer, so when I bake at my apartment (rather than my parents’ house), any and all butter creaming has to be done by hand. Actually, I find it very rewarding and somehow therapeutic to stand over a bowl of butter and sugar and beat the bejesus out of it with a wooden spoon. Watching the butter go from lumpy to smooth as you beat it with alternating arms is a great way to relieve stress. Plus, working hard making these cookies gives you all the more excuse to help yourself once they come out of the oven. “But I beat the butter by hand! Surely that burned as many calories as are in one of these little cookies. Or two of them. They’re so small, you see.”
p.s. Best Valentines Day related conversation overheard:
Guy: “So what are you doing for Valentines Day?”
Girl: “Havin’ sex.”
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl. Stir in oats and set aside. In a small cup, combine milk and vanilla.
In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars until well combined and lightened in color. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 milk mixture, another 1/3 of flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop heaping tablespoonfulls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets and bake in the center of the oven until golden, about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on racks. Store in an airtight container for no more than a day or two, or in the freezer for longer.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen smallish cookies.