Another type of cookie that cooks across the country are making this holiday season is the drop cookie.

Drop cookies are made from a relatively soft dough that is dropped by spoonfuls with a cookie scoop onto a baking sheet. Almost any cookie dough can be baked as a drop cookie if additional liquid is added to the batter.

Three of the most common drop cookies are chocolate chip, oatmeal, and thumbprint.

  
Oats were once considered as animal fodder. Only in parts of northern Europe and the British Isles—particularly Scotland— were staple foods for many centuries. 

The Scots and the British, however, had been making oat cakes, an early form of oatmeal cookies, as far back as 1000BC when the Scottish first began harvesting oats.

During the late 19th century as more and more Scottish and German immigrants came to America, people began using oatmeal in porridge, puddings, and Scottish-style oat cakes as well.

By the early 1900s oatmeal had become a staple ingredient in the American diet also.

  

in 1877,
the Quaker Mill in Ohio invented the process that makes hulled oats, also called groats, more uniform and less floury than the stone-milled variety. This process creates “steel-cut oats.”

Soon the Quaker Mill in Ohio also developed a roller that flattens the groats so that they cook more quickly. this process produces “rolled oats.” 

In 1896 the first recorded oatmeal raisin cookie recipe was published by Fannie Merritt Farmer and marketed as a “health food.” The cookies quickly became popular.

In 1901, the Quaker Mill merged with three other mills to form the Quaker Oats Company.

This company made the wise decision to put recipes for porridge and cookies on its boxes. 

in 1908, a recipe for “oat cakes” became the first oatmeal cookie to appear on the oatmeal box.

The following is a recipe for basic oatmeal cookies…

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 2½C Quaker oats 
  • 1-12 ounce package (2 cups) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep baking sheet. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, chocolate morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie, or 12 to 13 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Yield about 5 dozen cookies.

For easy bar cookies, press dough onto bottom of ungreased 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool. Cut into bars. Yield: about 3 dozen bar cookies.

  

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep baking sheet. 

Cookie sheets can be made of a variety of materials. Most cookie sheets are made from either aluminum or stainless steel. 

Aluminum sheets are affordable, durable, and easy to clean. These pans conduct heat quickly and uniformly than steel sheets. They also resist warping and promotes even browning.

Aluminum can, however, react to acidic foods such as tomatoes. This can result in a metallic taste and cause delicate foods to discolor. Line aluminum bakeware with parchment paper or a Silpat to prevent this from happening.

Heavy-duty steel sheets also conduct heat very well, resulting in even browning. They also tend to cook items more quickly. If you find that your steel cookie pan cooks too quickly, lower the temperature by 25 degrees or reduce the cooking time. 

Steel pans require special care. These pans must be seasoned regularly by rubbing kosher salt into the surface. This prevents corrosion. Steel pans must also be kept dry so that the pans will not rust. 

As for rims, the rims provide a useful handhold and prevent food from sliding off the pan.

Cookie sheets with one rim on the long side are harder to reach after rotating the cookies while they are in the oven for even baking. 

Cookie sheets with two rims—one on each short side—usually are the easiest to handle.

Cookie sheets with three rims are a little awkward.

Cookies sheet pan with four rims, one around all four sides, may also be called jelly roll pans. 

Just be careful that your cookies do not hit a pan’s rim. This could make the cookies misshapen or burned along one edge.

Insulated cookie sheets have a layer of insulation or air (air bake pan) between two layers of metal that is designed to…

  • buffer heat
  • heat more evenly 
  • keep delicate foods from browning too quickly or burning
  • keep the pan from warping
  • prevent crispy edges or browned bottoms on your cookies
  • prevent “hot spots”  

Insulated cookie sheets are ideal for baking thin or lightly colored cookies, such as spritz cookies and shortbread, because the tops and bottoms will come out evenly baked and evenly colored.

Just be sure to modify the baking time given in the recipe because insulated sheets bake more slowly.

Cookie sheets should have at least 200 square inches of baking surface to avoid feeling cramped. Cookie sheets come in several sizes including…

  • The full-size sheet pan (26x18in)…which is too large for most home ovens. 
  • The two-thirds, or three quarter-size, sheet pan (21x15in)
  • The half sheet pan (18x13in)…the same size as mass-market baking sheets found in supermarkets
  • The quarter-size sheet pan (9x13in) the common size for rectangular, single-layer cakes. 

Nonstick cookie sheets bake cookies more quickly than standard aluminum pans because they are dark in color. Darker pans tend to brown baked goods faster.

Just remember that you may need to lower the oven temperature and reduce the baking time when using them.

Finally, thicker cookie sheets bake more evenly and are less likely to warp than thinner cookie sheets.

  

  • Beat butter and sugars until creamy. 
  • Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat. 
  • Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. 
  • Stir in oats, chocolate morsels and nuts.

Butter…

  1. Make sure that your butter is at the right consistency when making the cookie dough. 
  2. If using 100% butter, start with butter right from the fridge, not room temperature. Cut butter into 1″ cubes and chill again before using in your recipe.
  3. Low-fat spreads—such as low-fat margarine, diet spread, or vegetable-oil spread—will make your cookie dough very soft. Never use a low-fat spread with 60% or less fat. 

Flour…

  1. Flour can affect how your cookies bake and turn out. 
  2. Flours with a high protein content, such as  bread flour and all-purpose , flour produce cookies that tend to be flatter, darker, and more crisp than the same cookies made with cake or pastry flour. 
  3. Unbleached all-purpose flour is recommended. Bleached or chlorinated flours reduce spread.

Your final cookie dough should be soft enough to allow you to poke an indentation with your finger, but this indentation shouldn’t stay.

  

  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
  • Bake 9 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie, or 12 to 13 minutes for a crisp cookie. 
  • Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. 
  • Remove to wire rack. 
  • Cool completely. 

Using a cookie scoop instead of simply a spoon creates less mess, keeps your fingers clean and out of the dough, reduces the time spent doling out the cookie dough, and makes sure that your cookies are all basically the same size.

Cookie scoops come in three standard sizes…

  • The teaspoon scoop actually holds 1-3/4 measuring teaspoons dough and makes a 2″ cookie. This is the perfect scoop for making adorable, tiny cookies to use as garnish.
  • The tablespoon scoop actually holds four measuring teaspoons dough and makes a a 3″ cookie.
  • The muffin scoop holds 1/4 cup dough and makes a 4″ cookie. This is the perfect scoop for making dessert-sized cookies that are large enough to be sold at bake sales.

Just remember, spray your spoon or ice cream scoop with non stick spray before scooping. If the dough is particularly thick, you may need to spray the inside of the measuring cup often.

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