My mom has always been famous among my friends for her amazing cookies. As a child, I often “helped” bake them with her. And by help, I mean, of course, that I was a great taste-tester. Mostly I sampled the raw dough, but I’d also wash it down with a finished cookie or two. I often painstakingly chose the largest of all the finished cookies, and ate it right out of the oven, doing my best to not drop the gooey bits onto the floor.
I don’t think I’d ever actually paid attention to how they were made, until last night. My mom and I were babysitting my nieces and nephew overnight at her house over the weekend. After they went to bed, we opened a bottle of wine and got to baking. Wine is mandatory.
My mother doesn’t measure a fucking thing when she bakes. And she was so frustrated with me demanding measurements (“Kelsey, you just eye-ball it!”). “But, Mom,” I said, “measurements are required for a cooking blog!” I ended up dirtying several extra bowls and spoons trying to figure out how much of each ingredient was being added. She was in a tizzy over all the extra dishes.
When adding the flour, she said to “be generous” when scooping with the 1 cup measuring cup. What do you mean?! She initially told me to put in 1 1/2 cups, but then rolled her eyes at my precise measurements. Taking the cup out of my hand, she huffs, “Not like that! Be generous!” It ended up being 1 2/3 cups, but then we had to add another 2/3 cup later, when she said the dough didn’t have the right consistency. By the time we got to the oatmeal, I was noticing a pattern. I rolled my eyes, and asked, “Ok, how much oatmeal?”
“Three cups.” Wink.
It was really 3 1/2 cups. The madness.
I drank more wine.
The only ingredients that actually get measured every time are the eggs, and the butter. But that’s only because they come in neatly measured packages. Not even the baking soda was measured. “But, Mom!” I yelled, “You can’t guess – it’s science!” She rolled her eyes.
Sure enough, we pulled those cookies out of the oven, and they were perfect.
This is the first time this recipe has ever been written down. She claims it’s just the recipe from the oatmeal container, but with a few modifications. We checked the oatmeal container, but it wasn’t even close.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened (most people would say unsalted – but my mom only buys salted butter)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla (you can’t overdo it)
2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups raisins (or chocolate chips, or cinnamon chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, vanilla, and both kinds of sugar in mixer. Add eggs and mix will. In a separate bowl (or in the same bowl, if you’re my mom) mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Turn mixer on low/medium and slowly add flour mixture. Once fully incorporated, slowly add oatmeal. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in raisins by hand. Once it’s all mixed well, eat several spoons of raw dough (keeping in mind that raw eggs can poison you, but it’s worth the risk). Place spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool (or don’t), and eat as many as you want.
Baking tip from my mom: If you have butter in the dough, you don’t need to grease the pan.
Also, be loose with your measurements.