Monday, June 28, 2010
Think back to your school lunches... what was your favorite food to find inside? Did you get sandwiches or hot lunches? Storebought foods or homemade? Did you get notes from your mom wishing you a good day?
My mom can't cook/bake or boil water (no exaggeration). Additionally, my parents both worked full time so time was always an issue. As a result, my school lunch memories revolve around pre-packaged food with my most vivid association being with Grandma's soft oatmeal raisin cookies.
It's silly of me to think of sharing a piece of my childhood with my son by putting these cookies in his lunch-bag, but the truth is it secretly makes me happy. It does a little tug at my nostalgic heart strings. At least I'm packing him the homemade version - preservative free and fresh from the oven.
GrandMa’s Cookie Company was founded back in 1914 by Foster Wheeler, but it wasn’t until 1977 that the company introduced the "Big Cookie". This large, soft cookie comes in a 2-pack. The company offers several varieties.
These cookies are soft and chewy even after they cool. The secret to their softness is the moisture from the pureed raisins in the dough itself. Be sure to take them out when they are just beginning to turn light brown around the edges. Even if you aren't a raisin-lover, don't click away just yet! You can use the same technique with dried apricots or other dried fruit. Just be aware of the sweetness of the dried fruit is and adjust the sugar in the recipe accordingly, because raisins don't have as much sugar as say, dried mangoes or pineapples. These keep really well without drying out. Grandma knows best!
This recipe is from one of Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Recipes" books that has copycat recipes of famous or restaurant foods. It also qualifies as an entry for Cookbook Sundays hosted by Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. I love the simplicity of this group. All you do is make one recipe - any recipe - from any cook book - then post on Sundays! It's so simple yet such a great motivator to get busy in the kitchen.
Grandma's Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
adapted from Top Secret Recipes | Makes 20
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine 1/2 cup raisins with water. Puree in a food processor until very smooth.
2. Combine raisin puree with the vegetable shortening, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour with oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pour this dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix well until ingredients are incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup raisins.
4. Roll 3 tablespoon-size portions of the dough into a ball in your hands and press to 1/2" flat on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until just browning around edges. Be careful not to overcook, or the cookies will not be chewy. Cool then store in an airtight container.