Last week two important things happened in the lives of our family.
First of all, the “resident five year old” started real school…
…and we bought and moved into a new house.
So for a while instead of focusing so much on the raw foods pyramid…or cooking methods…or any of the other tangents that I have taken in the last few months, I have decided to make this blog more personal by studying those things that are most important at this stage in my life—such as home organization…school lunches…breakfast foodsz…setting up a command center and so forth for a while…blogging about those things that are really the most ijportant in my life at that point.
So first I wanted to start talking about making the perfect lunch for your kids…lunches that they look forward to eating…and that everyone else wants to swap things for…
Most of us have been making oatmeal cookies for years, but do we know how to make the perfect oatmeal cookies…ones that we would want to pass down the recipe for to our grandchildren so that they can teacher it to their grandchildren and so on for generation after generation
The perfect oarmeal cookies are super soft, thick, and chewy… loaded with oats and perhaps some of your other favorite ingredients such as raisins and chocolate chips…soft, moist, and tender in the centers…slightly crisp on the edges..have a delicious cinnamony, buttery flavor…and go great with a huge glass of milk.
This recipe is very simple…and probably one of the few that any of us have memorized by heart…but let’s talk about it anyway…
1/2C + 6Tbsp butter, at room temperature…butter is the base of any delicious cookie recipe. Let butter soften to room temp before using…honestly, I hardly ever do this…i just cut mine into little bitty pieces, but don’t tell anyone…
3/4C brown sugar and 1/2C sugar...Sugar not only makes your cookies sweet, but also provides structure and tenderness. The cookies taste much better if you use brown sugar instead of simply plain sugar because brown sugar adds incredible flavor…contains more moisture than white, making your cookies turn out softer than they would be otherwise…
2 large eggs...Eggs help bind everything together…and once again, experts will tell you that room temperature eggs are preferred….if I didn’t bother to bring my butter to room temp, my eggs probably won’t be there either, right?!
Cream together sugar, brown sugar and softened butter for 2min on medium speed of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachmen…until creamy and smooth.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix on high 1min, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Whisk together the following dry ingredients in another bowl….
1-1/2C flour.…(When measuring your flour, do not scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife)…
1tsp baking soda…
Combining the Two
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix on low until combined.
Oats…Use old-fashioned rolled oats instead of quick-cooking rolled oats for chewier cookies.
Optional Ingredients…For added flavor, use about 1C of any of the following…
Dried Fruit…Think outside the raisin box when it comes to dried fruit. Experiment with other options—such as chopped dried apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, or mixed fruit bits
M&M’s/ Reese’s Pieces/ …
Nuts—such as chopped walnuts.
Raisins…(soaking the raisins in warm water for about 10min before using them will make sure that the are nice, plump ,and soft when you finish making your cookies..
White Chocolate Chips
Add oats and whatever optional ingredients you are using. Stir the oats and raisins…either do this by hand or on the lowest speed of your mixer so that you won’t end up smooshing it all together into one big unrecognizable blob.
If you’re like me, now that you’ve made the batter, you definitely do not want to stick around for at least thirty minutes while the dough chills before throwing them into the oven and then into a glass of milk.
I have finally figured out that if I make the dough very late at night, I am more than likely to want to stay up waiting for cookies to bake…and I have some deliciously warm homemade oatmeal cookies for breakfast the next morning.
So why even bother “chilling” them?…and how long?
Refrigerating the dough now that you have finished making it will…
allow the flavors to “marry” together, combine, and deepen
cause the dough to get a little richer
help the cookies to bake up thicker
keep the cookies from spreading out too much
make the center of the cookie softer
make the edges of your cookies crispier
You can chill your dough for any amount of time from about 30min up to 2 days.
If you are chilling the cookies overnight like I do, then let the dough sit out on the counter for about 30min before you start baking them.
Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray…or line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a 1.5-2Tbsp cookie scoop to scoop spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet,
If the dough it too hard to work with using a cookie scoop…or you don’t have one…or you can’t find yours…or you simply want to…you could also roll the dough into balls.
If forming into ball by hand, pack the balls lightly…instead of smooshing it all into one compact unit. If the ball are too dense, the cookies will not spread out at all.
Leave about 2″ space between each ball of dough because the balls of dough will obviously spread out a little while they bake.
Regardless of how you got your dough onto the cookie sheet, now gently flatten each ball of dough before throwing it into the oven.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Bake for about ten minutes…until lightly browned on the sides…and the centers appear very light in color, soft and undone.
Be careful not to over-bake these cookies…at this point, the cookies may seem underdone, but they continue to cook as they cool.
Remove from the oven.
Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for about five minutes.
Transfer the cookies, using a metal spatula, from the cookie sheets to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
The baked oatmeal cookies will stay fresh, as long as they stay covered in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to a week.
You can also freeze your baked cookies up to three months.
Make the cookiers as normal, but instead of chilling and baking them, shape them and then flash freeze the entire cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer individual cookies to a freezer bag or container.
Whenever you start craving oatmeal cookies, simply take out as many as you need…allow them to sit at room temp for about five minutes…and then bake.
Another option would be to go ahead and bake and let them cool completely before placing them in a zip-top bag. These cookies will stay ready for you to eat within the next 30 days.
Another ingredient that I am having to learn to replace whenever I am cooking for my vegan daughter is eggs….and out most favorite dessert, Sour Cream Pound Cake, calls for six eggs.
And eggs are too important to simply omit because they serve many different purposes…such as…
adding moisture to your finished project
binding the different ingredients together
helping your baked goods rise
When we first started this journey, I had absolutely no clue what to substitute for eggs in my baked goods.
So here’s what I’ve learned so far in my quest to understand what egg substitutes are out there and which one works best for which recipe.…after all, not each ingredient works as well for every recipe.
Let’s get started…
1.Apple Cider Vinegar…Our first option for an egg substitute is to combine 1 tsp baking soda and 1tsp apple cider vinegar per egg and then add it to the batter after the mixture has bubbled slightly.
This science experiment that we’re all pretty much familiar with may be famous for exploding, but this foamy reaction makes it perfect for “delicate” baked goods such as cakes and certain cookies.
This egg substitute is also great because it doesn’t change the taste or texture of the recipe.
2. Applesauce…Another good substitute for eggs is applesauce, especially in apple-based recipes,
To use applesauce as an egg replacement, replace each egg with 3Tbsp applesauce combined with 1/2tsp baking powder.
3. Banana...Bananas can also be used as a binding agent whenever you are baking certain foods—such as muffins, brownies, pancakes, and sweet bread…but you do not want to add so much banana that your end product is mushy.
Use 1/4C mashed banana, about half of a medium banana, per egg.
4. Chia…Chia seeds cadn be used to make a slimy, gel also similar to an egg white. This is
actually one of the better egg substitutes because it has a neutral flavor.
To use, Soak 1Tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 3Tbsp water for about ten minutes.
5. Egg Replacers…Egg replacers have been available at the supermarket for years. The most commonly used egg replacer is Ener-G , a mixture of leavening and gelling agents.
Egg replacers are especially great when making cookies.
6. Flax...To do this, for each egg combine first grind up 1Tbsp ground flax seed in a blender until it turns into a slimy get. Then soak the flas in 3Tbsp water for 10min per egg.. Doing this results in what many people call a “flax egg.”
Flax eggs area great substitute whenever you are best when you are making baked goods that require a thicker batter—such as breads, granola bars, hearty cookies such as chocolate chips cookies or oatmeal cookies, quick breads, brownies, or muffins.—because the eggs cannot be hidden in a thin batter very well.
When used to make any of these baked goods the flax eggs not only have a neutral flavor, but also has tons of nutrients.