I am a sucker for advertising. Sell me a bottle of water for 15 cents and I think it is reasonable. Slap a nice label on a snazzily designed bottle of the same water and I will happily pay ten times that price and walk away thinking I got a good deal. I suppose it is the same mechanism (albeit in the opposite direction) that gives me sticker fever.
Another branch off that same tree is the warm, fuzzy, back-to-childhood feeling I get about certain foods, even if they’re relative newcomers in my life. It doesn’t matter that turkey never featured on our Christmas dinner table growing up; I have seen so many American tv Christmas dinners, read references to Christmas turkey and heard about big bird Christmas adventures so often they feel like my heritage, too. I want a good old-fashioned trussed turkey for Christmas, even if it is the first time!
The same thing has happened between me and oatmeal-raisin cookies. I don’t remember ever eating one as a kid. I remember fantastic homemade butter cookies with a whole hazelnut on top. I remember fresh apple pie and, boy, do I remember individual sponge cakes with fluorescent pink frosting. But oatmeal-raisin cookies? Nope. Still, I have come to a point where I firmly associate these cookies with home, coziness and long afternoons running through flowery fields. I grew up in a house where the closest field of flowers was… not somewhere I ever got to. No matter, the feeling is there and sometimes I like to milk it for all it is worth.
Which is why I baked oatmeal-raisin cookies when I wanted to make a friend feel welcome this weekend. And to give the cookies that extra-homey touch, I added a good pinch of cinnamon. They were crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and very cozy indeed. The recipe comes from Cooking With Friends; I halved it, substituted vanilla sugar for the granulated sugar, omitted the vanilla extract and dialed down the amount of salt and raisins. The original can be found here, among other places, my version is below.
Oh, and for the drink pairing to make this my second koek en zopie entry? What else than a glass of cold milk? Another thing I didn’t do in my childhood (we had tea with our cookies), but that seems so right now: milk and cookies.
Based on Cooking with Friends
Makes about 15
90 gr butter, softened
80 gr firmly packed light brown sugar
65 gr vanilla sugar (not the synthetic stuff from small packets)
1 small egg
85 gr rolled oats
80 gr plain flour
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
large pinch of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix into butter mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins.
Form the dough into small golf ball-sized orbs and flatten onto a baking sheet covered with a silicone mat. Leave quite a bit of room between the disks to allow for spreading.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then continue cooling on a rack.