Last friday, California state workers stayed home, taking their mandated furlough friday. There were lots of grumbling in my offices, with people complaining about the 10% pay cut and the inevitable growing piles of work. But I was a little excited. A free friday?! Yes please! While I hate the pay cut I will see in my paycheck, I am thanking my lucky stars that I still have a job. The impending layoff cloud hovers in all state offices and I sadly will be one of the first to go since my one month seniority means crap. Obviously, I’d prefer a furlough as opposed to unemployment, but I understand everyone’s concern.
To say that there is a bit of unease in California would be an understatement. Unemployment keeps rising, food is expensive, social programs are being cut, and there is zero job security. Just thinking about these recent events makes me want to curl up in bed with a stash of homemade oatmeal cookies and a good book.
Which is exactly what I did on my furlough friday.
Avoiding the outside world seemed like such a nice way to spend my unofficial holiday. Plus, the past couple of weeks I haven’t been my chipper self and the idea of relaxing all day appeared quite luxurious. You have no idea how much I have missed my college routine. Waking up at 8 a.m., watching Regis & Kelly at the gym, baking in the sunny afternoons. It’s no wonder some people stay in that routine for 7 years. But I’m a big girl now and my days are filled with 5 a.m. alarms, traffic, deadlines, and sack lunches. The minute my hands ripped open my first paycheck, I realized it was all worth it.
Getting used to this new routine has been tough, both physically and mentally. But I am adapting slowly and I have to thank these cookies for waking me up too. The best part about these cookies is that they are made from whole grains, so you can forget about any post-new-years-resolution guilt you may have. The oats and the whole wheat flour are the best partners ever, if I do say so myself. I used dried cranberries but if you prefer raisins or dried blueberries, go for it. I plan on making this recipe over and over again using a variety of dried fruit.
Also, I used some leftover toasted chopped pecans I found in my pantry but walnuts or even pistachios would work really well in this recipe. In fact, pistachios sound damn tasty! The organic corn syrup is from Whole Foods and I think Trader Joe’s might have some as well, but use what you go. Lastly, when it comes to cookie texture, I like my oatmeal cookies a little on the chewy side. The chewier they are, the longer they last. In order to get the chewy cookie, I chilled my dough after whipping it up.
What else can I possibly say that will make you bake these babies? How about I tell you how good the batter is? Or how about I tell you how fantastic your kitchen will smell once they pass the 10 minute mark? Eh, I’m done talking. I’ve got a Big Love marathon waiting for me, a new book needing to be cracked open, and decorating magazines to scour through.
Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
Origin: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Yield: makes 50 cookies (I only got 40)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 13 to 17 minutes
● 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
● 1 1/4 cup packed light brown or dark brown sugar
● 3 tbsp dark corn syrup, (I used organic light corn syrup from Whole Foods)
● 3/4 tsp baking soda
● 1/2 tsp baking powder
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 2 tsp cinnamon
● 1/4 tsp nutmeg
● 1 tbsp cider vinegar
● 1 tbsp vanilla extract
● 1 large egg
● 1 1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
● 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
● 2 cups dried fruit, (I used dried cranberries)
● 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, (I used chopped toasted pecans fom Trader Joes)
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Cream the butter, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat in the egg. Add the oats, flour, dried fruit and nuts, and stir to combine.
At this point, I chilled the dough in the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes to prevent spreading and to create a softer cookie. If you prefer the crispy kind, proceed without chilling the dough. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cookies, reversing the pans midway through (top to bottom, bottom to top), until they begin to brown around the edges but are still soft in the center, 14 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool on a wire rack.