Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I made these cookies to have during the drive to Branson. I had wanted to try them for quite a while, but just hadn’t baked them yet. As far as I can remember, this is the first time that I’ve ever made oatmeal raisin cookies. The go-to cookie in my house has always been chocolate chip cookies, but recently I thought, “oatmeal raisin cookies sounds so good, I have to make some.” In my opinion, they made a great road trip snack.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Any dried fruit can be substituted for the raisins. Be sure the cookies are completely cool before storing in an airtight container.

Yield: Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter with both sugars, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, milk, and eggs, and mix well. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Remove bowl from the electric mixer, and stir in oats and raisins. Place dough in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, and shape into a ball; place on one of the prepared sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing balls 3 inches apart. Press down to flatten into 2-inch diameters.
  3. Transfer to the oven, and bake until golden but still soft in center, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pans between oven shelves halfway through baking. Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

The dough was very tasty cold, right out of the refrigerator!

All lined up and ready to go!

All that's left is to wait 20 minutes 'til I can try them...

My first homemade Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

Recipe Review

These cookies were wonderful! They were thick, and soft, and chewy, and delightful in flavor. I made mine with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I stored them in a freezer bag with a couple of slices of bread to keep the cookies moist and they were still good a week later, just as the recipe says they will be.

Star Rating

4 out of 4

Recipe courtesy of MarthaStewart.com, recipe title doubles as link to the recipe.

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I had gotten a few butternut squash from someone a couple of months ago. I hadn’t used them yet because we don’t really eat butternut squash in my family, so I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Serendipitously enough, I came across this recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup while flipping through an issue of Williams-Sonoma catalog (one of my favorites) and decided to make it the first recipe I cooked this year.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jar (2 lb.) butternut squash puree

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 small bay leaves

3 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup crème fraîche

1/4 tsp. ground coriander (optional)

1/4 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger (optional)

Fried sage leaves for garnish

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree, apple, broth, bay leaves and salt and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Add the crème fraîche. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot until smooth. Stir in the coriander and ginger.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with fried sage leaves and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

I did make a couple of changes to it. I didn’t want to make puree with my butternut squash, so I decided to use Williams-Sonoma’s recipe for Cream of Butternut Squash and Apple Soup as a guide. In that recipe you are supposed to chop the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes, so that’s what I did for my soup. I also used sour cream instead of crème fraîche, and I skipped the sage leaves and pepper (I am not a pepper person).

Here’s how it turned out.

Delicious butter, check!

The onions are under way.

Add butternut squash and apple, check.

Broth and bay leaves added.

Sour cream added.

Blended and, oh, so smooth!

Voila!

Recipe Review

This soup turned out to be pretty thick and didn’t have as much apple flavor as I was expecting it to have. Overall, I liked it, but if I ever make it again I would definitely add more chicken broth and more apple.

Star Rating:

2 1/2 out of 4

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I love the rejuvenation that can come with a new year! I also love New Year’s Resolutions.

I think New Year’s Resolutions can be wonderful things. Of course, our resolutions are only as wonderful as we make them. Sometimes we make our resolutions a success, and sometimes we don’t. Some people forgo New Year’s Resolutions altogether. And considering my track record, you would think I would do the same. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I really stuck with my New Year’s Resolutions.

But even so, I love the tradition of compiling a list of things I want to do to make myself more of the person I want to be. However, it would be silly if I continued to go about it the same way year after year without results. So this year I am going to try something a little different. Usually I write a list of things I want to do without any real plan to accomplish them (I know, silly of me, isn’t it?), and I tend to get a little overzealous and end up choosing way too many resolutions.

This year I wrote a list of every goal I could think of and chose just 3 resolutions out of the bunch to focus on. The goals that were left over will be saved for a later date. I am going to set myself up for success by writing out a plan for each goal. And, last but not least, this year instead of “trying” to follow through, I am going to stop “trying” and start doing.

My Resolutions

1. Read at least 12 books this year. I love books, but I haven’t been doing very much reading lately, so I thought I would aim to read 1 book a month this year at the very least.

2. Cook at least 1 savory recipe a week and at least 1 new dessert a month. I want to improve my culinary skills, so I am going to choose 4 savory recipes to cook at the beginning of each month. I already have lots of baking experience, but there are still so many things I haven’t tried yet, so this year I’m going to be bold and try some of the recipes I’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t because I find them intimidating. There are also things that I haven’t mastered, like cupcakes for example, that I would like to get better at baking.

3. Exercise 2 times a week. A voice has been telling me for months now that I should be exercising. The voice keeps saying how much stronger I’ll be, how much better I’ll feel about myself, how much more confidence I’ll have, and how much slimmer I’ll look once my posture has gotten better. And you know, it’s funny, the voice sounds an awful lot like my mom.

What resolutions have you chosen this year?

How are you planning to stick with them?