This is a question I hear every time one of my sons or their friends stops by our house. Although I like to tell myself they are there to see me, I know deep down the cookies are the real reason they drop in. But, if baking is what it takes to encourage those visits, I’m willing to rise to the occasion.
When my kids were young I always had home baked cookies on hand. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal etc.- there was never an empty cookie jar. I guess I set their expectations long ago so I try hard to not let them down. Now that they have "flown the coop" I don't want to have those cookies around or I will eat them - not a good thing for the waistline.
I have discovered an easy way to have homemade cookies readily available but, not be there to tempt me on a daily basis. I mix up this easy all purpose oatmeal cookie recipe, Oatmeal Brown Sugar Cookies, and freeze the dough in small quantities. Then when visitors arrive I can quickly defrost the dough in the microwave, bake and serve warm, delicious cookies. I can even customize the cookies by varying the stir-ins I add to the dough.
Twice in the last couple of weeks my son, Kyle, arrived with a car full of hungry football players. I pulled a couple of bags of cookie dough from the freezer, quickly defrosted them, and then added raisins to one bag and chocolate-coated candies to the other. In about 20 minutes the boys were gathered around the table with glasses of milk eating cookies by the handful. Trust me this is a way to score big points!
If you want to bake the cookies immediately after mixing up the dough go ahead and heat your oven to 375°F. If you plan to freeze the dough like I do there is no need to heat the oven until you are ready to bake.
In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, butter, egg and lemon peel. Beat until creamy. The lemon peel adds a pleasant taste to these cookies. It is especially good when raisins and/or nuts are stirred-in. If you don’t have any lemon on hand or just don’t care for a citrus flavor in your oatmeal cookies, it’s okay to leave it out.
Now add the oats, flour, baking powder and salt.
You can use quick oats or old fashioned oats in this recipe – both will work fine. Quick oats have been cut into smaller pieces. Don’t use instant oatmeal in baking recipes because the oats have been cut even finer and are not suitable for baking. Old fashioned oats are on the left and quick oats are on the right in the photo below. You can see the difference I described. I like old fashioned oats because they result in a more hearty texture.
Beat on low until well mixed.
If you are planning to bake the cookies right away choose the ingredients you would like to add and stir them in by hand. For this batch I stirred-in white chocolate chips.
If you want to freeze the dough for baking later just place it in a plastic resealable freezer bag. I often double the recipe and then divide the dough into 3 or 4 freezer bags. Squeeze out any excess air, label each bag and store them in the freezer.
When the time comes to bake the cookies, remove a bag of dough and defrost it. If you know ahead, you can let the dough defrost overnight in your refrigerator. If the baking is more impulsive you can defrost it in the microwave. I set my microwave on the Defrost setting and watch it very carefully. You don’t want to melt or start to cook the dough. Now decide what you want to stir-in. Just about anything goes. Here is an assortment of stir-in ideas including chocolate chips, raisins, butterscotch chips, chocolate-coated candies, white chocolate chips, nuts, etc. Feel free to select a combination of goodies too.
An easy way to “stir-in” the goodies is to simply add them to the defrosted dough in the freezer bag.
Now just knead the dough through the bag to mix in the goodies.
No mess, no fuss and you are ready to bake the cookies. You can always leave some of the dough plain, too. They make a great oatmeal cookie!
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Let the cookies cool 1 minute before removing them to a cooling rack.
Mine barely had time to cool before the boys were at them. See how happy they are! (Can you tell I made them pose for the picture before they could eat?)
That’s my son Kyle on the left along with his friend Kyle (yes two Kyle’s), Nick and Trent.
My goofy boy – he can never just smile nicely for the camera (.
Come back later this week when Amanda will share how to make a creative new sugar cookie that is perfect for this fall season.