What’s the first thing you think of when you think about oatmeal?  Breakfast, right?  And I don’t blame you.  The hot porridge that we associate with oatmeal is probably the most common use of this particular grain – at least when it comes to human consumption.  And hot oatmeal porridge is good stuff!  You can make it the standard way, as directed on the back of the bag (Quaker is the Xerox of the oatmeal world), and put toppings on it.   I like it with butter, cream, and brown sugar … or maple syrup, either is good.  You can also make it with fresh squeezed apple juice instead of water which is really, really delicious.  When I make it like that, I like to add some fresh or frozen berries, some pecans, some maple syrup and a little cinnamon. Mmmmmm.

But oatmeal figures so prominently in so many different dishes that we should remember that it is so much more than just a breakfast cereal (though there is granola – which is a category all on its own)!  You can make stuffing with it.  There are all those baked goods – oatmeal muffins, oatmeal bread, oatmeal crackers, oatmeal cookies …

Oatmeal cookies.  I didn’t have time to make any tonight and I don’t even have any time to take pictures of anything good, like the ingredients or anything like that because I am home alone tending a poor sick baby who has today given new meaning to the words “clingy” and “cranky”.  But to make up for it, I have decided to share with you a very special recipe.  These cookies are variously referred to by my friends and colleagues as “Those Cookies”, “The Evil Cookies”, “Ohmigod” , “the Best Cookies I have Ever Had” and “Mmmmphhmmm”.

(I should add in here that while these may be the Best Cookies Some People Have Ever Had, they may not be the best Oatmeal Raisin cookies.  I know this because my old roommate used to live in Prince George and when she would go home to PG to visit her mother, she would go to a very particular bakery and bring home for my husband the Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in the Whole World.  I am sorry to say that I do not know the name of the bakery in PG.)

I have to confess, the recipe is not completely my own.  A couple of years ago, I went to a friend’s birthday party and someone had brought these delicious cookies to the party.  I cornered him and forced him to give me the recipe.  He recited it to me by memory and I diligently plugged it into my Palm.  I’m not sure if it was the right recipe.  I made it once and it didn’t quite work out the same as his did.  He may have been drunk when he gave me the recipe in any event.  My version was still good though and I decided to make it better.  So I did and this is what you get:

3 c. Oats (I like to use the whole oats for more texture, but the original recipe said quick oats)

1 c. flour

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c. butter (melted)

1/4 c. boiling water

1 tsp vanilla

1 package Skor bits

1/2 package white chocolate chips (by Chipit – it doesn’t actually matter the brand, I just say this for size b/c I don’t know how many grams we’re talking about here)

1/2 package butterscotch chips

2 handfuls craisins (those dried cranberry things).

1. Mix together oats, flour and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Mix the water and soda.

3.  Add butter and vanilla to the water and soda.

4.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry mix in the bowl with a wooden spoon.

5.  Add the Skor bits, craisins, white choc. chips and butterscotch chips.

6.  Use your hands to form the dough into balls and squash them flat.

7.  Bake on non-stick cookie sheets at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Here’s some tips:

a) You have to mash the dough together with your hands because there are so many add-ins for these cookies that they really don’t hold together well.  It’s best if you have short fingernails.  I speak from experience.

b) Don’t use cheap cookie sheets because they burn the cookies on the bottom. If you have to use cheap cookie sheets, turn the heat down by 25 degrees and watch your cookies like a hawk!  They will still taste okay even if you burn them though.  I speak from experience.

c) The cookies may need slightly more than 10 minutes in the oven – maybe even as many as 12.  You just have to watch them and guess.

d) Take the cookies off the cookie sheets as soon as you take them out of the oven.  If the toffee cools, it hardens and then they get stuck to the cookie sheets.  It’s best if you can use cookie sheets that don’t have a rim so you can just slide the cookies off the sheets onto cooling racks.  They are very delicate and fall apart easily. Darn.  If you break them, you just have to eat them warm – too bad!

e) Scrape the toffee off the sheets in between batches, or even wash the sheets in between batches for the reasons stated above in (d).

f) Put some cookies away in a tin and hide them from yourself – or just take the whole batch to work the next day. Unless you feel like eating all the cookies, that is.  I speak from experience.

g) and finally, if you don’t have a husband who has a strong aversion to chocolate (but who likes white chocolate – probably because it’s not actually chocolate) these cookies are just as good with chocolate chips instead of white chocolate chips.

Now I have to run – screaming baby boy.  Wish I had some cookies!



p.s. Update on the Brandied Fruit – it looks really really really gross.  I’m not sure I trust it.  The fruit flies are hovering anxiously in hopes I will remove the cover.  I am contemplating turning it into a giant fruit fly trap.  It does, however, still smell really good.  I am debating  buying more brandy for it.