Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon, I have a yen for baking. It does not happen often, thank my stars. I consider myself a cook first and baker, whenever we are in the mood. The last time I put on my apron and brought out the mixer was sometime last winter. One Friday afternoon brought a handful of flurries, which ignited panic. Translation is that we were sent home from work. I thought it would be lovely to make something sweet on which we could nibble in the event of a snow in. I had never baked in this particular house before so an adventure was in the works. My mission resulted in a trip to Healthy Home Market to acquire ingredients, a pair of with I was wholly unfamiliar, to make zucchini brownies. Matthew was polite but clearly not wild about them. Suited me fine, I attacked the entire pan with a vengeance over the course of the weekend. The almond butter, zucchini, honey and gluten free chocolate chips made for a splendiferous treat. The texture was a bit bizarre but who cares. They were "healthy" and brownies are brownies, right?

The subsequent go round I brought out my baker's hat was for a dinner party last Fall. I figured everyone likes brownies but this go around I would make the real deal. They called for an obscene amount of butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate by the pound. They were a surefire hit and why wouldn't they be. Gooey and near impossible to cut, I served them hot directly from the pan. I regaled my mother with success of the illustrious brownies served at our soiree and so much in fact that she put them on the dessert lineup for Thanksgiving. Each year, we celebrate with my family and our closest family friends, one of whom has a sweet tooth galore. I am thankful that I prefer savory over sweet and indulge in the sweet side, only on rare occasion. I am not even wild about cupcakes. Crazy, I know. Exceptions include my mother's now famous pecan pie, crisps or crumbles of any sort (my apple variation is sublime and I will make it one of these days soon) and Butterfingers but only at Halloween time. Pretty pedestrian, I know. Anyway, our family friend's sweet tooth has a proclivity and that is chocolate. Each year, we try to create something more rich and better than the year before. This past November's selection was the gluttonous brownies. Death by chocolate for sure.

This brings me to Christmas. We saw Tollhouse chocolate chips on sale, looked at one another and took it as a sign that cookies were in our near future. We made them together, nibbled on the dough and produced dozens of treats reminding me of childhood. We kept a handful for ourselves, not even a baker's dozen and shared the bulk with family over the holidays. They are best out of my house and reach, always. Come Pax, I don't know why but one evening, I decided that we would make cookies for dinner. I think the words hankering, yearning and longing were fitting. Bottom line, I wanted some warm cookies directly out of the oven. This did however provide a slight challenge as we had only two sticks of butter, 3/4 a cup of chocolate chips and zero brown sugar. After a bit of due diligence, I found a recipe that called for less butter than the other recipes that I had been perusing as well as oats, walnuts and golden raisins. I learned that brown sugar can be emulated by adding 1 TBS of honey, maple syrup or molasses to one cup of white sugar. Check. I keep golden raisins on hand for when I am making my kale salad with toasted walnuts, Pecorino or Romano cheese, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Bonjour!

We whipped the following cookies together in no time. They were absolutely delectable. Soft, warm and had us both sneaking back to the kitchen for more. After a couple (we made small ones), I wrapped up the plate and instructed Matthew to hide them (from me) and then implored him to take them to work the next day. He listened and as I understand it, they were happily consumed by all. Not a crumb remained. My kind of baking exercise.

Oatmeal Golden Raisin Walnut Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg - organic of course
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cups rolled oats - I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free
1 cup raisins - I used golden
1/2 walnuts - chopped - pecans would work too

Let's Get Baking

1. In a sizable bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

2. Now mix the two and add the oats, golden raisins and chopped walnuts.

3. I put the bowl in the fridge and let it chill for 25 minutes.

4. Grease up a cookie pan and drop little balls, in due width apart, on your sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350. After 10 minutes, watch them closely as you don't want to burn the raisins. Serve with milk, vino, beer - you name it! Enjoy!

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