The foods of home

May be an image of oatmeal cookies and indoor
Soft, crispy, buttery, a hint of spice and butterscotch, these Classic Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies from The New York Times recipe cache are everything you could ask for in a comfort/nostalgia food.

I make a dessert every month to share at The Community Table, the local agency that provides one supper and one lunch per week for “pay what you can.” I was disappointed when the March assignment was oatmeal raisin cookies. Blah. Boring!

“What if somebody’s having a really bad day and that kind of cookie is comforting to them?” asked our youngest who was visiting for 9 days (woo-hoo!). Oh, all right. That’s fair. Who knows what’s comfort food to others?

My mother made sugar cookie cut-outs for every holiday and gingerbread kids for Christmases. The only other cookie I remember her making regularly was my grandmother Mabel’s Ranger Cookie (named, maybe for Texas Rangers or for the Lone one), very much like an oatmeal cookie but with corn flakes or Rice Krispies, dates or coconut and walnuts or pecans. If we were going to have a signature cookie around here, my husband would choose this.

Other comfort foods for me: Chile (made with ground beef, red kidney beans and Campbell’s condensed tomato soup), split pea soup, milk toast, hot tea (only when you’re sick), ginger ale (same), tomato soup (still Campbell’s) and a grilled cheese sandwich, pot roast in a Dutch oven, fried chicken and deviled eggs.

Any one of these can make me feel loved, like everything’s going to be OK and a fun time is upon us. So I can see how this little brown bird of a cookie could do that for someone.

Actually, this recipe from Melissa Clark exceeds the stand O.R. cookie. I credit the freshly grated nutmeg, the cardamom, the large amount of vanilla

Buying a $14.95 microplane (from Amazon) remains one of my best culinary investments. It doesn’t take up room in the kitchen, you can have freshly grated nutmeg (also available on Amazon), and citrus zesting will never again be the same. It’s remarkably efficient.

Here’s the recipe which instructs you to spoon out cookie dough by large tablespoonsful for 3 dozen cookies. I did that and wound up with 4 dozen so my tablespoon must be wee.

Classic Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or ginger)

3 cups rolled oats (NOT instant)

1-1/2 cups raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or reusable silicone liners.

Using electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars, beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. With mixer on low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins.

Spoon out dough by large tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake until cookie edges brown, about 9 to 13 minutes. Cool briefly on cookie sheet and then move carefully to wire racks for complete cooling. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

One response to “The foods of home”

  1. Your description of comfort food sends me into some calming meditative state.

    Like

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