Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cookies now aromatize my home kitchen.


I admit I have cookies on the brain. So when I started thinking about what to take along when I was planning a visit to friends in a nearby town, cookies were right there front and center calling "Choose me!" Coconut was also on my mind, and shortbread, so instead of making the stellar shortbread recipe we have recently enjoyed, I dug through ancient recipes in my cupboard to find one from decades ago called Coconut Shortbread.

Of course I had to change it a bit, by using half coconut oil and half butter, and using spelt and rice flours. I created a new cookie! But while the dough was chilling, it occurred to me that the shortbread might be a bit bland, lacking the full butter flavor that is traditional. That wouldn't be a nice present.

So I gathered some more ingredients I had on hand and made up another recipe. The truth is, it had been a toss-up, whether oatmeal or coconut was what I personally was hankering for. And it was part of my plan all along to keep some cookies for Mr. Glad and me.

Here is what I came up with to improve on a simple oatmeal cookie:

Oatmeal Chocolate Walnut Cookies

1 cup salted butter
2 cups sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 teaspoon Frontier walnut flavoring
1/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
3 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts

After mixing as per usual for drop cookies, drop spoonfuls of the dough measuring about 2 tablespoons on to a greased baking sheet. Mine are insulated, and I baked the cookies at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. 
The dough that remained after my liberal sampling made exactly four dozen cookies. They have what I consider the perfect texture, slightly crispy going in, but mostly chewy. And the flavor is wonderfully walnutty.

The shortbread dough did not cooperate with my plans, and I ended up hand-forming each cookie individually. I won't be trying that new recipe again, in spite of their endearing tender crispness that quickly melts away into coconuttiness.

In case they were too boring, I used the Trader Joe's sprinkles-grinder I had in the cupboard to add coarse granules of coffee, chocolate, and sugar to the tops of some of them.

And all-in-all, those little cookies were cuter than the oatmeal, so they will be memorialized in pictures, even if they will never be seen again in these parts.

I covered the scratched lid of a half-gallon jar and then packed the chunky cookies in that. And I took along some of the cute cookies, too.

The oatmeal-chocolate-walnut ones are going fast, because of our new neighbors. The house next door has been rented to college students for the last many years. One time it was a bunch of baseball players, and often it has been four or five girls. For the most part these people will not acknowledge us neighbors or look in our direction.

Recently four young men have moved in, who are all jazz students. Now we have more drummers (Did I tell you that Mr. Glad is a drummer?) and more jazz jamming sessions in the neighborhood. But the more fun thing is that these boys are friendly! They even came to our door to introduce themselves. I am in awe.

As soon as I baked cookies I wanted to give them some, so I went to their door with a plate of the oatmeal cookies, because...well, they are guys, and tender tea cookies would probably not make an impression. "Cookies!" they exclaimed, "Why would you do this??" and then they couldn't say much else because they were chewing and dropping crumbs on the threshold.

11 comments:

M.K. said...

That is an adorable post, GJ. You are so brave when you bake! I'm regularly amazed at how you will alter recipes without a qualm and make something new and yummy. I love the story of the boys next door b/c I also have boys that age, and my older one has just yesterday moved into a house with 3 other boys. Oh how I wish he had a kind neighborly mother-type to give him cookies and a warm, welcoming smile! Good for you!!

Anna Ilona Mussmann said...

It sounds like the young men are deserving recipients of cookies. They display both friendliness and appreciation. :-)

Pom Pom said...

Mmmmmm! The cookies are beautiful! Everyone loves cookies!

melissa said...

My favorite part of this post is the cookies you took to the boys. So sweet...."Why would you do that?" Priceless. :)

Farm Girl said...

Oh I am so glad you have hungry boys next door and they are nice. It sounds awesome. Don't you love working with Spelt? I love it so much and I love how it turns out every time I use it. I am going to have to try this recipe. It sounds so yummy. I have been wanting to bake lately if it would just cool down just a bit.
I think the other recipe sounds nice too.
Have a nice week.

wayside wanderer said...

You are my kind of neighbor! Why are people not more friendly? Especially younger people? I'm glad you have some friendly ones this time and I love the image you paint of them gobbling up the cookies. I certainly perked up when you said Giradelli, walnuts and chewy. Cookie perfection. Yum!!

elizabeth said...

awww, that's great! your Mr. Glad is a drummer; well, how about that! looks like some great cookies! :)

MKM said...

I will echo all of these other commentators... I wish you were MY neighbor, too! ;) I often feel I have "missed my chance" to give my neighbors cookies because I didn't when I first moved in, but maybe that is foolish. They would probably eat them too! -M

Martha said...

I ♥ that Trader Joe's chocolate, coffee and sugar combo! What a scrumptious little gift, and it looks so pretty with the fabric wrapped around the top of the jar. I hope you enjoy the time with the jazz students living there.....will they be there all school year?

Sara said...

You are certainly a creative baker. I like that your new young neighbors are musicians and friendly too. I think you've made a big hit with them.

Gumbo Lily said...

A love a good cookie. Actually, I love a good half dozen cookies! I'm of the opinions that cookies should be crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and your oatmeal cookies sound and look just right! I like tea cookies too, but I like the hearty kind best. How nice to have such friendly neighbor guys! (and you are the best kind of neighbor)

~Jody