Okay, brace yourselves. This is not a baby post.
Now, I can't promise that it won't somehow turn into one, but right now, at the start, it has nothing to do with my current job of baking a baby, but has everything to do with, well, just baking. I know, I know. You're as shocked as I am. (Whether by the fact that I'm baking or simply by the fact that I'm not talking about my nearly 36 week pregnant state - we don't have to get into semantics. No need to split hairs.)
During this most recent festive Christmas season, my mother in-law presented some yummy oatmeal cookies for our consumption. Complete with cranberries and white chocolate chips, what's not to love? Plus, reaching for yet another cookie during a week-long+ disregard for any and all things "diet" related, having an ingredient like oatmeal tossed into the mix makes you feel decidedly in control and as though you're nearly (almost/maybe/kinda sorta?!) doing something good to yourself by having another... or five. And if you have milk? Well, my goodness, now you have calcium! In my thinking, it sounds awfully well-rounded and beneficial to me.
But one of the best things about these little pockets of deliciousness have nothing to do with what you throw in the mixing bowl, whether you use real or imitation vanilla extract or if you are a little more liberal with the cranberries (or the white chocolate chips). What really gets you is... the name. When my brother in-law and I requested a copy of the recipe, we guffawed at the title:
I mean, seriously, if you have to bake or if you are already inclined to being in the kitchen, how much more delightful is it to present something with such a title to your friends and family?! Making a batch of hootycreeks sounds so much more of a blast than making plain ol' oatmeal or even chocolate chip cookies. It's kind of like when you make snickerdoodles. Oh, I know you love the cinnamon and sugary goodness, but seriously, admit it, you know you just love to say"Snickerdoodle! Give me another Snickerdoodle!" And now? Well, now you have "Hootycreeks". And you'll love the taste of them on your lips, either way.
I mean, just look at them:
Before I get side-tracked, here's the recipe (now you can't stay I never gave you anything!)
1 1/2 c. of flour + 2/3 c. (I know, it's weird... it's because this recipe was originally one of those "jar" recipes that you give as gifts. And I'm too lazy to mess with converting. If you want to move to the head of the class, go right ahead. And do share your findings.)
1 c. oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. dried cranberries
1 c. white chocolate chips
Mix up all of your dry ingredients. Then, in a microwaveable safe bowl, nuke two sticks of butter (1 c.) and then mix in 2 eggs and 2 tsp. of vanilla (and yes, I used the real stuff). Stir together and dump in with your dry mixture. And stir, again. Drop by spoonfuls and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (7 minutes on my stove is the number of perfection... go figure.)
And... voila! Hootycreeks! If I can do it, you can do it.
Now, another little jewel that I will share with you is this: parchment paper. Oh my holy lands. I have never used any of this product until today and let me tell you, my soul is too delighted for words. So is my cookie sheet that does not require scrubbing and scouring. And you know how inevitably you have those one or two obstinate cookies that fall by the wayside because they don't come off the pan or they decide to break into a million pieces before you can transfer them to the safety of waxed paper or a cooling rack? Maddening, I know.
But ease the furrow in your brow, my friends... because let me tell you the secret: parchment paper. Just scoot the entire sheet from your baking sheet to your counter and let cool. And magically it seems, you have attained cookie baking perfection. Trust me, it's worth the $3+ you will have to fork out for a box of the stuff. Besides, think of all the other things we throw out that really don't matter or are just wasteful... in light of that excess, parchment paper seems to be the least of about a thousand evils. And you get cookies out of the deal! Come on. This ain't no thinkin' thing.
Now... off with you! Shoo! Barefoot or not, pregnant or not, get thee to a kitchen!