Good Lord, the weather’s been whack-o this year. We’ve bounced around from big, heavy-hitting blizzards to 80 degree April afternoons to gray, rain-soaked May. It’s been bleak and rainy for days now, which is highly unusual and unlikely weather for Colorado. When it rains in this state, it’s usually a 20 minute affair and then it hi-tails right out again. We are not used to a steady, unrelenting stream of misery. How the Hell do Pacific Northwesters not fling themselves off bridges? It’s so depressing and that wet cold hits you deep in the bones.
Poor Mozz-man is not digging the rain. He loathes getting wet and he’s also unused to steady rain, so he keeps begging to go for a walk (like, every 30 minutes), expecting the weather to have improved, but when I open the door and he sees what’s out there, he gives me a look like, “Fuck this noise, lady.” When things are dire, he’ll go out for a few quick pees and then hustle his white, fluffy carcass back inside. I can’t say I blame him, but his constant hounding is making me a little barmy.
The girls and my husband have also been plagued by nasty spring colds. My husband rarely gets any kind of disease, so he was knocked flat for a day or so and then improved. The girls’ afflictions have lingered, though, and it stinks to see them so miserable.
I thought we all could use some cheering up, so I made the ever-so-rare decision to do some baking this weekend. Here’s how seldom I bake: when I made the decision to do so, and settled on a recipe, I promptly had to make a trip to the grocery store because we didn’t have flour, or brown sugar, or butter, or vanilla in the house. That’s pretty pathetic. I slodged through the rainy parking lot, though, because joy via baked goods was definitely in order.
One benefit to not being a baker is that when I do lace up my apron, the girls are duly appreciative and impressed. These cookies definitely got oooh’s and ahh’s and oh boy’s.
These chocolate and peanut-studded oatmeal cookies were my childhood favorite, and I was anxious to share them with the girls (and yes, it’s terrible that I’m just getting around to doing so now that they’re 14 and 10. Yeesh.)
I did have to laugh, because when my husband saw these cookies cooling on a rack, he reached for one and then immediately recoiled, eyeing them suspiciously.
“Have one,” I said. “They’re not just for the girls.”
“Okay,” he said, narrowing his eyes, “As long as they don’t have raisins in them.”
Raisins are one of my husbands most loathed things on the planet, along with mustard, pickles and sour cream. I call those foodstuffs “The Fearsome Foursome,” and they will never pass his lips.
“Would I put you in the path of a cookie with raisins in it?” I chided. “Am I that nefarious? They’re chocolate chips, PickyPants.”
Relieved, he ate one. And then another. And then half of another.
These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet and salty, and the oatmeal gives them a nice crunch and heft. Like most cookies, they’re best warm out of the oven, but they keep well for a few days in a zip-top bag. They also freeze like a dream, so you can do like I did and freeze half the batch for later snacking. Or for the next time a rainy patch of weather gives you a serious case of the grumps.
The weather is supposed to improve by the weekend, so my thoughts are turning to what I’m going to plant in my garden. These wet, gray days have got to be good for something, right? Well, besides cookies…
makes about 4 dozen
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels or diced chocolate (you can go a little bigger on the amount if you’re feeling racy)
1 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts (you can leave these out, but if you do, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the batter mixture)
Stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
With a stand mixer, beat the heck out of the butter and the shortening for about 5 minutes. Add the white and brown sugar and beat for another 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat well.
In two batches, add the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the oats, chocolate pieces and the peanuts.
Refrigerate batter for about 30 minutes.*
Preheat oven to 375. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Lightly press on each cookie–just a little, to even out the spoonfuls.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
*In a pinch, you don’t have to chill the cookie dough. If you can spare the time, though, I recommend it. I think the cookies have a better finished texture when the dough is slightly chilled.