Monday, 2 December 2013

Happy Anniversary, Our Cookie Journal!

Cookie No. 1: Hedgehog Cookies

As I've said in previous posts, I'm marking 20 years of keeping a journal about baking Christmas cookies this December. My sister gave me the blank diary and I've tried to make entries every year — some were better than others (years, entries and cookies!).

To celebrate, I decided I would make 20 different types of cookies this Christmas. I will make a few standards that we cannot live without, add a few winners from last year, and I hope to discover a few yummy new treats to add to my recipe repertoire. I'm re-reading the journal (as I do every year), collecting ingredients and new recipes, and getting ready for Christmas cookie baking!

Ever since Charlie has been able to voice his preference, I have started the Christmas cookie season with his favorite: Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies. If you read this blog, you already know that we call thoseHedgehog Cookies because our standard cookie jar is Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle jar and I try keep her stocked with his faves off-season. This time of year, I suppose we could call them Snowman Cookies, but Charlie's nickname has stuck.

They're so easy to make because I don't have to chill the dough, most of the ingredients are quotidian, and I have a KitchenAid stand mixer! I love looking back on the early journal entries, when we made all these goodies by hand! I nearly always make a double batch and stash half in the freezer.

We found the recipe in our old edition of "Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (1975, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc.).  It's a classic and I've never altered it.

I usually read a recipe over before I start (except these, because I know them by heart after all these years!). But it's a good idea to plan the steps of the recipe before throwing ingredients into the bowl. Most people get their ingredients assembled, at the very least, along with any tools needed, such as a bowl for the dry ingredients, a rubber scraper or measuring cups and spoons.

Butter might need to be softened; nuts chopped; dough chilled. If a recipe calls for sifted dry ingredients in a bowl, though, I put them in a large measuring cup and use a whisk. So easy. And if I forget to soften the butter or leave eggs out to get room temperature, I can nuke the butter for about 10 seconds at a time until my thumbprint makes an indent; and leave eggs in warm water for 10 minutes.

I get the cooling racks and a cookie turner at the ready on the table. I line the baking trays with parchment paper, which I reuse for the whole yield, turning the paper after each use. Works a charm! If I'm baking a lot of cookies or I can't get many on a tray, I add more sheets to the rotation so the trays are cool whenever I'm dispensing cookie dough from my trusty scoop. If I'm making dough that needs to be refrigerated, I put the squares of plastic wrap on the counter before I get dough all over my hands.

So please read over the recipe, get everything together, and try Hedgehog Cookies (or Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies), the 1st cookie of 20 to celebrate 20 years of Our Cookie Journal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1/2 c butter
Add and cream well:
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
Combine and beat until smooth:
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
Sift together and add to the above ingredients: 
1 c sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
When beaten smooth, add:
1 c uncooked quick rolled oats
3/4 c chocolate chips
Beat the mixture well. Drop cookies 2 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.

Yield: about 3 dozen

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