Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mom's Oatmeal Crispies - loved by four generations

Mom's Oatmeal Crispies

I was never sure where she got the recipe. An old cookbook of some sort, I imagine, but I only saw it in her lovely handwriting. Mom's Oatmeal Crispies were the family's favorite cookie when I was growing up, hands-down. There's a wholesome flavor and crisp, crunchy texture about them. Plus, you freeze the dough in logs and then slice and bake, allowing you to serve freshly-baked cookies with hardly a stir in the kitchen. It adds to the Happy Homemaker image.

When we wrote The Book Lover's Cookbook, the cookies showed up under a new name, Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies, page 283. Re the nuts: There's a typo there. It should be 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. (And I usually don't include nuts, as they can be fatal to #3. I never bake with nuts when #3 is home!)

When it comes to modifying recipes, though I'm not a kitchen chemist. I have my limits.

#2 son lives in Finland, and when I visit, we cook. He wants to make all the foods he remembers from my kitchen, and learn to make them in his. I'm happy to oblige. He wanted to make Oatmeal Crispies but didn't have the recipe. "It's in The Book Lover's Cookbook," I told him, but they'd recently moved and hadn't unpacked all their books. So I Googled, and there it was. Mom's EXACT recipe. Good to know!

However, finding the right ingredients can be a challenge. First, we couldn't find shortening, so we tried making them with butter. They spread out on the cookie sheet, turning into flat pancake-cookies, and though they were acceptable, they didn't really didn't resemble the family favorite. We tried another batch, and found something that, thanks to Google Translate, appeared to be the equivalent of shortening. I set it on the counter so it would soften. It didn't. It remained in a hard, solid waxy block. I knew it would never break down and make the fluffy shortening/sugar/egg mixture, so I didn't even try. #2's mother-in-law looked at the label and said it was something only the "really bad" fast food places used for their deep-fat frying. Later, I saw it tucked in her handbag, and I knew it was going into her trash bin.

Brown sugar could only be found in granulated form, and is used to stir in coffee or tea. It wasn't the moist, packable brown sugar I needed for the recipe.

The oatmeal also came in larger flakes, which affected the texture but not the taste. Remind me to pack a container of Quaker oats next time I go.

So the next time I visited, I brought shortening and brown sugar with me. I'd forgotten about vanilla, which also comes in granulated form. The amount needed is so small, it didn't seem to make a difference, but a bottle of liquid vanilla will accompany me on my next trip.

Anyway, we made the dough and formed it into logs, wrapped them in aluminum foil, (you can use wax paper, too) and froze them. I wanted to double-check the Fahrenheit/Centigrade conversion but ran out of time.

However, I understand the cookies were a great success. Workers showed up at #2's home the morning we left, to finish the furnace room. This involved accommodating the wall for the installation of a new door, plumbing and electrical updates, a tile floor, and painting/resurfacing the walls. The cookies were baked and served to the workers with coffee, and I understand they were a great hit.

#3 son is coming home for Christmas. The only plans on his agenda (and he didn't want to have a schedule) were making Oatmeal Crispies with me, and attending our friend's annual Christmas Eve organ recital with his dad. Simple requests, happily honored.

Here it is, with a lot of great pictures and how-to's. I give you Oatmeal Crispies, the favorite of four generations of my family.

all recipe photos from The Pioneer Woman

1 comment:

Pam Williams said...

N-O-T-H-I-N-G beats an oatmeal cookie... except maybe my grandmother's peanut butter cookies. Perhaps I'll follow you lead and put it on my blog.