Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Antique Oatmeal Cookies

I have a recipe book that I found years ago when I tore out a cabinet to install a dishwasher in the house I bought decades ago with my son's father. I can imagine Rose, one of only two other woman to cook in that kitchen, and her dismay at the misplaced cookbook. She didn't realize the time-traveling journey the cookbook would make from her post-WWII kitchen to a digital world of Internet and computers, microwaves and satellite-distributed HDTV.

The cookbook is titled, "Good Things to Eat". My son agrees. It has several entirely blank pages on which I have written additional recipes, like the Hardee's Biscuit and Gravy recipe that I carry around strictly in my head from my years in that company's employ. My son regards this cookbook as his birthright. He has intimated that when he marries, it should be passed along to his, at this point, unknown and naive blushing bride. She should be warned. She will be expected to cook from scratch using this antique cookbook.

In this day of seasonal, locally-empowered eating, where we are becoming more and more suspicious of the additives to our food, the directions and ingredients seem charming and quaint. I prefer to take full advantage of all cooking advancements while still retaining the cook-from-scratch approach. Poor Rose with her steel cooking sheets and mixing fork. I use high tech aluminum air layer cookie sheets and my Kitchen Aid mixer complete with fun mixing attachments.

When I first made this recipe, tasting these cookies after they had cooled, I ranked them an indifferent B+. Just 24 hours later the grade went up to an easy A+!

I encourage you to try these easy Mace Oatmeal Cookies.

Mace Oatmeal Cookies (credited to Mrs. Reuben Lundstrom and Adena Peterson)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon mace
2 eggs (not beaten)
2 cups bread flour
2 cups oatmeal (uncooked)
2 teaspoons soda in 1 teaspoon hot water
Pinch salt
1 cup raisins (ground)measure before grinding

Make into small patties and bake about fifteen minutes in a 350 degree oven. Test one in the oven first.

So that's it.

Like most cooks, I have made this recipe my own. I use my pastry knife attachment to mix the stick of butter into the the sugar and unbeaten egg. When they refer to soda, they are talking baking soda. I just add this, I don't mix it in water first. I mix all the dry ingredients first.

I use my mezzaluna two-handled knife to chop up the raisins which I soak in hot water while I am combining the other ingredients. These I drain and add last. I sometimes add any nuts I might have on hand; a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, sliced almonds, or pecans are all good choices.

I actually measure out the salt, using 1/4 teaspoon. In place of the mace, I use 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. I don't stock mace in my spice cabinet.

I portion them out using two tablespoons into 2" by 2" lumps which I place in rows 3 cookies by 4 cookies on air bake cookie sheets and then flatten slightly. The ingredients listed net me about 24 cookies.

One other admonishment I would make. As many cooks know, the center of items cooked in microwaves continue to heat after items are removed from a microwave. Cookies cooked in conventional ovens are similar. They are done when you think they need another 2-3 minutes. Remove them then, not later. Let them sit for 5 minutes and then use a metal spatula to remove them and place them on a plate or waxed paper to cool.


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