It's a gorgeous summer weekend, the kind that really makes me wish I had a summer house (or more friends with summer houses). It's the type of weather that makes you wish you had planned a bit better in the winter to have some time set aside for a roadtrip to places that seem made for summer. Cape Cod is one of those special places, and it seems appropo that the cookies I made this week were inspired by its simple pleasures. These are the easiest, tastiest oatmeal cookies I know of. I baked these for my bi-monthly Dessert Corp contribution. (For more on Dessert Corp, see my earlier post on this great organization). They are the epitome of an easy dessert - no creaming the butter and sugar, and no special equipment is needed. Just you, your wooden spoon, and a big bowl.
This recipe comes from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This book has been sort of a cooking bible in my family. I have learned so much from this book, and still refer to it at times for information (although the Internet has been winning out lately - shhh!). These days I mostly use it for the baking recipes, as my culinary tastes have gotten a bit more exotic, but it is still an amazing reference book. Marion Cunningham included not 1, but 3 separate oatmeal cookie recipes in this book. I chose her Cape Cod version, only because the other recipe called for shortening, which is something I don't keep around and don't prefer to bake with.
I can tell you these cookies won't disappoint. They deliver a deeper, richer flavor than most oatmeal cookies I've tried, thanks to the addition of molasses. They are sweet and spicy, and warm and soft, the way the fresh-baked cookies of my dreams are. They are exactly the kind of cookie I imagine some storybook mom would serve up with a glass of milk to her kids after-school. Although, the feeling is just as nice for us grown-up kids when you bake a batch for yourself.
Easy-as-a-Summer-Day Cape Cod Cookies
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
(These cookies work great frozen, so if you don't want to eat the whole batch, just spoon them out onto a cookie sheet, but instead of baking, place in the freezer until frozen, about an hour, and then store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. When ready to use, you can place them directly into the oven from the freezer, just increase the cooking time by 5 minutes.)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinammon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon molasses (I use Blackstrap Molasses, which has a sweeter flavor than regular, if you can find it)
1/4 cup milk (reduced fat works in a pinch)
1 3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 raisins (optional, dried cranberries would be nice too)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinammon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients all at once (it'll work, don't worry) and stir together until everything is evenly incorporated. Drop teaspoon sized cookies on a baking sheet. You may want to press them down a bit with the back of your spoon, as this batter doesn't spread much. Bake until edges look brown and cookies don't appear too gooey, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.