Hey hey, happy Thursday! The sun is out again, both metaphorically and in the actual sky, and it’s all gorgeous. Our week started out kinda rough with some difficult family news, but we have pulled out of the tailspin. Deep breaths. Big smiles.
I am in fact having a really great week of running and gardening. The prairie winds are strong and full of big, stormy ideas for the weekend. And my kitchen smells like heaven for two reasons.
First, I am boiling up a triple batch of sugar-syrup for our honeybees, which this time is infused delicately with a mix called “Honey Bee Healthy,” an essential oils-based product meant to bolster the bees’ immune systems and other fun stuff. It smells like lemon, wintergreen, and something else I can’t quite place.
Also, I just pulled out of the oven a half batch of my favorite cookies. I’m going to share with you guys the basic cookie dough recipe we use here at the farm. It’s fantastically versatile and easy to memorize, and it freezes well. In case you are the cookie dough freezing type? Oh let’s just eat it raw. Much more fun.
Something I groove so hard about this cookie dough method is that, since you are browning the butter, you can make it in a flash. No advance notice needed to soften the butter to room temperature. Because that’s annoying, right? This way, you can have cookies mixed, baked, and cooling on a tray in under half an hour total. I like that. Keep the unassuming ingredients on hand, and you are prepared at all times for sweet tooth emergencies.
Side note: Become an avid runner and you don’t have to call this a “sugar indulgence.” From now on you can call it “carb loading,” or “replacing your glycogen stores,” right? Okay. Onward.
Base Dough for 20 large, thick cookies:
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 large eggs
- generous splash vanilla
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (better results in my opinion than using a tsp of soda)
- heaping teaspoon sea salt (my personal fave, you do YOU)
- 2 cups quick oats
- 2+ cups add-ins
Possible Delicious Additions, use a total of about two cups for a full recipe:
- walnuts, pecans, or almonds (I add cinnamon & nutmeg when I use nuts)
- chocolate chips, your fave level of sweet or bitter (Handsome likes only milk chocolate, weirdo)
- dried cranberries or dried cherries (try adding almond extract with either of these, so good!)
- bits of toffee, peanut butter chips, or even chopped up candy bars
- flaked coconut!!
- pistachios & white chocolate chips (idea from Sandy the Reluctant Entertainer)
- a combo of nuts, some seeds, & dried fruit would make it like granola
- powdered malted milk along with chopped up Whopper candies (not usually my cup of tea, so more for you)
- The possibilities and combinations are endless!! Like drinks at Sonic but better!!
- brown the butter in a small pan and let it begin cooling while you gather the other stuff
- mix (slightly cooled) butter with shortening, eggs, vanilla, and both sugars
- stir together then add in flour, baking powder, and salt
- use a wooden spoon to fully incorporate oats, achieving a consistent dough that will be neither sticky or dry and therefore infinitely taste-testable
- stir in your delicious add-ins of choice
- use an ice cream scoop sprayed with non-stick spray to get uniform balls of dough onto a prepared sheet pan
- bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, cool afterwards (Today I let the cookies sit beneath the broiler on low for about 90 seconds, because sometimes I like that cooked top look and crunch. Otherwise they come out pale more tender, more gently browned. Also yum! But pale cookies are delicate and need longer to cool.)
See? Simple basic pantry ingredients, total freedom with add-ins, fast to pull together, and easy to memorize. The best features of an everyday cookie recipe. And the cookies always come out perfectly tender with little crispy edges everywhere, which make them great for dunking in cold milk.
Since my husband and I like different add-ins, and he is currently not wanting many sweets, today I made only a half batch loaded with walnut pieces. One of my top three choices for this base. Quite against my nature I packed up the other half of the dough to freeze for him to enjoy at a moment’s notice, probably with weirdo milk chocolate chips.
He does eat kale now though, so we’ve got that going for us. And while oats in his cookies is not his most favorite thing in the universe, he has learned to accept it as a nod to heart healthy eating, ha.
Oh! This a great time to mention that if you want the flavor of the oats but not that much texture, feel free to grind them up in a coffee grinder first. It gives your cookies that chewiness you taste in a Double Tree hotel cookie!
Okay, time to feed this perfumed syrup to the bees, do some ironing, get showered for a fun date night, and edit a really cool project I still have not stopped to tell you guys about! Soon. Soon.
Have a most beautiful Thursday, whatever remains of it. Thanks for stopping.
“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world,
had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon
and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”