09 September 2010
Oatmeal Cookies for New Moms (and Others)
I was way behind on cookie delivery. A new baby arrived and I promised cookies, but then I got the plague (or a headcold, whichevs) and then and then and then...and then no cookies. Two years later the same mom had another baby and she let me come, even though I hadn't made her any cookies. The next day I brought these. Of course sometime during labor I promised her bread, so now I'm behind again.
Oatmeal is a common folk remedy for new mothers who are looking to increase their milk supply. While a bowl of hot oatmeal is a wonderful way to start the morning, and I would certainly fix it if I were staying with a new mom, it's hard to give as a gift. These cookies travel well, and while they're not quite as good for you as a bowl of steel cut oatmeal, I'd wager they're at least as wholesome as oatmeal from a packet, with the added advantage of being easy to eat one-handed during marathon nursing sessions.
Of course, these guys are so yummy there's no reason to wait for a new baby to make them.
What additions you use is up to you. Raisins are traditional, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are welcomed almost anywhere. Chopped nuts add some minerals, protein and healthful fats to the mix. You might be tempted to add more than 1.5 cups of additions, but I find that more than that makes it hard to taste the cookie, and hard for the dough to hold all the additions together.
There is no vanilla in these because I forgot it one day, and found that without the vanilla the flavor of the oats came through much better. You can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla if you like.
These are small and they bake up fast. They will look slightly underdone after 12 minutes, but they will continue cooking from the residual heat in the pan and the cookies themselves. If you bake longer than 13 minutes you'll get a very crunchy cookie.
If you are organized and/or patient, you can make the dough ahead of time and keep it, carefully wrapped, in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for two months.
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
6.25 ounces whole wheat flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup additions
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer until butter lightens in color. Add sugars and cream again until mixture becomes fluffy.
Beat in egg until just combined.
Stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined. Stir in nuts/raisins/chocolate or other additions, stir until evenly distributed.
Drop by tablespoonful on an ungreased baking sheet. Twelve cookies will fit comfortably on a standard cookie sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.
Makes 4-5 dozen