Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies – plenty of sugar!

We’re a bunch of sugarheads in this house and every time I make cookies I want to see plenty of sugar in the ingredients.  When I see recipes that are supposedly “low cal” or “diet” cookies I just can’t figure out the point of exerting the energy it takes to make something like that.  I want a good cookie that tastes sweet otherwise I’d just eat a carrot or something like that.

I have to throw in this photo since it carries through the theme of SUGAR… not that Lola eats a lot of sugar, obviously or that bag wouldn’t be sitting beside her.  It’s sort of a comparison of Lola’s size compared to 5 lbs. of sugar although if you ever followed old cookie butt up the stairs, you’d think she’s carrying at least a 40 lb. bag in each hip.

And when I think of cookies and think of sugar I remember moving in to this house.  Niki was 4 years old so she was able to help with moving in some of the lighter, unbreakable things.  During the pre-move (little things we did ourselves), we were bringing in a bunch of pantry and refrigerator things.  As Niki brought bags in, I did the putting away until she dragged this plastic, ripped bag that was leaving a trail of sugar through the foyer and into the kitchen.

“Aww geez, Nik, what happened?  Looks like the bag broke.”
“I’m sorry Mom, this one was really heavy so I kinda dragged it.”
(We have about a 40′ brick walk to the front door)
“Well, let’s not worry about it now.”
“S’ok, I got most of the sugar picked up.  But had to stop cause my tongue got really sore.” 

Like I said, we’re sugarheads in this house.  So this cookie recipe is super sweet but very healthy since it has oatmeal AND cranberries in it.  Nuts are a healthy addition too.  The recipe is attributed to Irene Bakulski via my sister-in-law.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

1     Cup butter (2 sticks)
1     Cup granulated sugar
1     Cup brown sugar
2     Eggs
1     Tablespoon vanilla
2     Cups flour
1/2  Teaspoon salt
1     Teaspoon baking soda
1/2  Teaspoon baking powder
2     Cups old fashioned oats
1     Cup white or chocolate chips
1/2  Cup dried cranberries (can use up to 1 Cup)
1/4   Cup nuts, your choice, optional

Cream together butter and sugars.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together, then add to creamed mixture.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips, cranberries, and nuts.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.  Remove just as they’re turning brown.

If you spill any sugar on the floor, lick it up careful so as not to cause tongue bleeding.

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What to Pack When You Run Away From Home

Let’s say you’re 4 years old and it’s noon.  You’re hungry so you ask your mother for a cookie (terrific spritz cookie recipe to follow).  And the meanest mother in the entire world says, “Sure Niki after you have some lunch, what do you want for lunch?”  Let’s assume that you’re feeling a little bit cranky and you decide that, even without having checked your bedside copy of the Geneva Conventions, this is the most outrageous parental abuse in the world and decide the only recourse you have is to run away from home.  And to add insult to injury, your mother agrees with you!

So what do you pack?

In Niki’s case you get out your Radio Flyer red wagon and grumbling with every trip upstairs you pile in all your essentials… brown snuggly bear, panda bear, polar bear… oh yeah better throw your pillow in cause you’ve gotta have your own pillow… Raggy Ann doll that Grammie made, better bring Winnie the Pooh, can’t forget blue Kangaroo… well if you bring Pooh & Blue Roo then you’ve got to toss Tigger, Elmo, and Oscar.  Ooops, wait a minute, can’t leave home without clean underwear… stomp back upstairs to get TWELVE Ariel Little Mermaid underpants.  That should do it!

Wait a minute, before running away you first have to line up a place  to run away to.  If you live in a new neighborhood and there’s only one other family on your street, well that pretty much decides things so you call up Mrs. Shea and ask if you can come live with her.  After getting a “sure, come on over Niki”, you give your mother one last chance to redeem herself but alas, now it’s become a bigger issue than a cookie.

“I’m leaving now!”
“Okay, goodbye, say hi to Mrs. Shea for me & don’t forget to thank her”.
Little problem though… when you’re 4 years old you’re not allowed to cross the street by yourself (even if it is a quiet cul de sac with no traffic).
“Mom, will you come cross the street with me?”
“Oh, I’m sorry Niki but you know when you run away from home, you’re kind of on your own so I can’t do that”.
“Well how can I run away?”

I looked up the hill and pointed out that we live on a cul de sac so if you were to stay on this side of the road, walk up the hill & come back down the cul de sac, you’d be on the opposite side of the road & bingo – you’d be at Mrs. Shea’s house in no time without having to cross the street!

I was at the window watching while I was on the phone with Judy who was kind of curious “ah, what’s up?  why’s Niki running away from home?”
“Oh Niki wanted a cookie and I told her she had to have lunch first, you mind letting her stew there for a bit?” No problem.
And then we both watched as the little red wagon and one very pissed off 4 year old hauled about 20 stuffed animals (and don’t forget the 12 Ariel underpants) uphill as everything kept falling off and getting slammed back into the wagon until she finally made it to Judy’s house to be greeted by:

“Hi Niki, come on in”
“Hi, can I have a cookie?”
“Did you have lunch?”

Now I wasn’t there but I was told that the slumped shoulders and absolute frustration at the conspiracy of mothers world-wide was too sad for words. But funny how things work out – Judy fed Niki lunch without a peep, handed out cookies and Niki got to play with Megan before deciding that home wasn’t that bad a place to be after all.

So what brought all this on?  Cookies of course.  And you know what I would do in this situation today?

I’d give the kid the cookie.  I mean it’s a cookie for heaven’s sake, not shots of tequila!

So here we are, a melt in your mouth spritz cookie that may not be worth running away from home, but they do bring Niki home even 20 years later hoping for more.

Spritz Flower Cookies 

1        Cup Crisco shortening
3/4     Cup sugar
1        Egg
2 1/4  Cups sifted flour
1/2     Teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1        Teaspoon almond extract

*   Cream shortening, adding sugar gradually
*   Add egg, then beat all ingredients well
*   Sift flour, baking powder, and salt then gradually add
*   Add almond extract to blend

The mixture should have a soft but not crumbly texture. Fill cookie press – for spring I like the flower, Christmas cookies I use the Christmas tree design – firmly press into tube.

Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.  I used little green sprinkles in the center of each flower.  Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until edges just barely begin to brown.  Do NOT overcook & remove from cookie sheets immediately.
Please do not call DSS on me, I think the statute of limitations has run out & Niki at least has something to talk to a therapist about.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I need to have cookies on hand and I hate to rely on store-bought cookies.   One of my favorites is oatmeal but I’m not that crazy about putting healthy raisins in so I sub chocolate chips, which if I’m not mistaken has some health benefits too.  This recipe is on the bottom of the Quaker Oats cover (just a couple of modifications such as the chocolate chips & extra vanilla) but I’ve been meaning to type it up because I live in fear that some day they will no longer put the recipe there and it will be lost forever.

And, an interesting discovery while I was making these cookies… I spilled 1/2 cup of the oats on the floor and before I could clean the mess up, Lola had scarfed up every little morsel.  I had no idea she might eat raw oats but it led me to come up with a new recipe just for her.  Soon to be posted:  Oatmeal/Sweet Potato/Parm Cheese K-9 Cookies.  But first here’s your version so you’ll have something to munch on while making the puppy variety (p.s. careful to not leave the K-9 cookies on the counter without telling your husband who they’re for).

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

½         Cup (1 stick) plus 6 TBL butter
¾         Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½         Cup granulated sugar
2          Eggs
1          TBL vanilla
1 ½      Cups flour
1          teas baking soda
1          teas ground cinnamon
½         teas salt
3          Cups Quaker Oats, uncooked
6          Oz. chocolate chips (or as many as you like)

– In mixer, beat butter and sugars until creamy
– Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
– Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
– Add oats and chocolate chips; mix well
– Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
– Bake 8-10 minutes at 350° until light golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Memories

Niki came back from a business trip to San Francisco and stopped by the house to pick up her car.  Wanting to hear all about her trip, I whipped up a double batch of the most melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies from a recipe I’ve been using for at least 40 years. Our chocolate chip cookie tradition started years ago with Niki’s first day of school.  I’ve never had a problem getting Niki to talk, but believe me, putting a pile of these warm cookies with a glass of milk in front of a kid is a great way to have a conversation.  Not that I don’t make these often, but I always had a plate ready for her at the end of each first day of school.  She’s long finished with school but I still love to have them ready for her when we have time to sit down and chat. And how cute is the wall art in front of the cookies!  These are individual photos representing letters, created by ABCsisters.  They have some really creative ideas for birthday, housewarming, or wedding gifts and will also do custom designs for you.  You should definitely check out their website at  www.abcsisters.com where you can see some of their ideas.  Of course, my favorite is the one that Niki bought for me: If you’d like to start your own chocolate chip tradition, this is my favorite recipe:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • 1 Cup plus 2 TBL sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • – Sift flour, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl

– Sift flour, baking soda and salt into large bowl
–  Add sugars, egg, vanilla, and butter.
– With electric mixer on low beat until just smooth & well combined
–  Stir in chocolate chips
–  Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.
–  Bake about 10 minutes (will look not quite done, don’t let them brown in the oven)
–  Let sit on cookie sheets for 1 minute, remove to rack or parchment paper

Depending on size, makes about 2 dozen small to medium cookies.