It was 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and I was standing in the middle of my living room staring at two open suitcases and two very heavy carry-on bags. My ride to the airport would be here in just over an hour, and I had to get an entire week's worth of baking into my luggage. Sure, I thought about shipping it all, but what if the packages don't arrive on time? What if a postal employee accidentally steps on my box? And, most importantly, what if I die standing in the world's longest post office line? There would be no Christmas cookies this year!
So I traded all those fears for the one worry that I wouldn't be able to travel with it all. Bleary-eyed and tired, I stood there. Had I gotten it all? Was I all ready to go?
Chocolate chip, oatmeal, and sugar cookies? Check.
Ginger snaps and rugelach? Check.
Clothes and heavy coats? Check.
Sometimes my priorities get a little mixed up. However, I was delighted to find -- after adding the appropriate undergarments, of course -- that I still had room in my bags for a few extra items. A normal person might fill that space with another sweater or two, but not me. I might need my Microplane grater while I'm home. And what about my whisk? Heaven only knows where mom's was stashed when the remodeling began. I better put that in, too.
So I set off at 4:00 a.m. with four bags that were about 65% baked goods and 35% personal items. Though it was terribly early in the morning and I hadn't gotten a wink of sleep, I sat in the back of the car with a small smile on my face. I had packed it all -- no cookie left behind. Through security checks and connecting flights, the smile remained. I snuck into St. Louis just before a monster snow storm and with a multitude of treats in tow, not a one of which was broken or crushed in transit. A happy (holi)day, indeed.
These are my favorite oatmeal cookies ever. They're so good, in fact, that I may never bother with trying another oatmeal cookie recipe for the rest of my life. They're huge, soft, and very moist. The coconut gives them a great texture, but it doesn't steal the limelight from the rest of the cookie. (I don't particularly care for coconut because it gets all stuck in your teeth and it reminds me of eating grass, but it doesn't do that in this recipe.) Again, this is the best oatmeal cookie I've ever had. You won't see me post another one here.
Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Yields about 2 dozen large cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar, or 1/2 cup Splenda Blend brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins**
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the coconut. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mix to combine. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two batches; mix until just combined. Add oats and raisins and mix until combined.
Using a 2" scoop (= 3 tablespoons), drop dough 2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet until firm enough to remove to wire racks, about 2 minutes.
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. (Martha says 4 days, but I've made these a zillion times and they don't taste any different on day 11 than they do on day 4.)
* Put Mrs. Butterworth down. She can't work her magic here.
** I like to use Sunmaid baking raisins. They come packed in their juice so they stay plump and moist while baking. If you can't find these, the regular Dole raisins work well, or you could always soak the raisins you have on hand in a little bit of water or alcohol to reconstitute them before baking.