No-fail Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Cookies are one of the few things you can easily make with kids at pretty much any age. For the very little ones, you can let them measure and mix ingredients. Older kids can help break the eggs, whisk, and do other more sophisticated tasks.

The kids and I have been making quite a handful of cookies in the last few months. Our favorite is the chocolate chip oat cookie. I adapted the recipe from The Great Big Cookie Book (Hermes House, 1999), which I bought years ago when I was still in Hong Kong. It’s a humble-looking book and not written by any famous chef or food writer. But I found most of the recipes very reliable. While you won’t find any groundbreaking ideas, the basic, easy-to-follow recipes have become my go-to resource when I simply want to make some cookies with the boys.

I like the idea of adding the oats to the cookies, which gives it more crunch. I called it no-fail because the steps are really easy. I normally don’t use an electric mixer, especially when I’m making these with the kids. For them, a big part of the fun is being able to mix things together with their own hands —  well, we actually use a fork or a whisk 🙂

Below is the original recipe from the book. I listed the adaptations I made in the notes that follow.

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Makes 60*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine*
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar*
  • generous 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease 3-4 baking sheets*.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer*, cream together the butter or margarine and the sugars. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly blended. Stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips. The dough should be crumbly. Drop heaped teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough about 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just firm around the edge but still soft to the touch in the center. With a slotted spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.

*Notes

  1. Every time we follow this recipe, we make about 2 dozen cookies, not 60 as suggested. I think if you do use an electric mixer, the dough would be fluffier and could yield more. Nonetheless, I would say our version still taste really good.
  2. Because of health and nutritional issues, I never use margarine, and I don’t recommend using margarine in any kind of cooking. It’s proven not to be the healthiest oil afterall.
  3. I normally cut down the amount of sugar by about 1/4 to 1/3 in most recipes, simply because I don’t like overly sweet sweets. I guess even after a decade of living here, I still manage to keep my Asian palette. For this recipe, I use a total of about 3/4 cups of sugars. You can adjust the amount according to your taste.
  4. I usually line my baking sheets with parchment paper, instead of greasing them.
  5. As I mentioned earlier, I only use a fork or a whisk to cream the butter and mix the ingredients. An electric mixer would probably work better.

Happy baking, everyone, and have a fabulous weekend!

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Happy Friday

It’s almost silly how happy I am about what I did at lunch today.

I was at Borders during my lunch break, and, as usual, I headed to the bargain section first. Then, I saw the 6th edition of Norton Anthology of American Literature on sale – at $3.99 per volume! I happily grabbed 3 volumes (C, D & E) – I wasn’t too much of a fan of early American literature and so I didn’t get Volumes A & B – and went to get lunch.

When I was at college, I had Volumes 1 & 2 of this anthology, which I think were the 1st or 2nd edition. At the time, all of us English majors called them “pillows,” since they resembled the traditional Chinese hard pillows, which were usually made of wood or ceramic, as far as I know. Each one of them is like 2 inches thick, and is a collection of writings from various American writers from different periods. We had to carry those around a lot, and it was quite an inconvenience because of its weigh.

A few years ago, the publisher decided to print volumes that are more portable* (thank god!) and launched the sixth edition of the anthology in volumes A – E. I haven’t seen them before, since obviously I’ve been out of school for too long to be looking for textbooks for myself. But now that I see them on such big sale, I couldn’t help but had to buy them. You see, each volume has selection of works by at least 20 writers. Some of the works are just 3 to 5 poems of one writer, but some are an entire book of fiction. So for $3.99, I get the equivalent of 10 to 20 books! It’s not a deal, it’s a steal! This should be more than enough reading materials for me for the next few months.

Oh, and did I mention lunch? I went to this fancy sandwich place (wichcraft, which happens to be one of my favorite lunch places here) after my book extravaganza and got myself a delish onion frittata, roasted tomato, and cheddar on ciabatta roll sandwich for less than $7 – their breakfast sandwich that are served all day long are the best kept secret. I’m all for cheap, yummy food.

It’s a happy, happy Friday for me!

*Note: Although each book is well over 1,000 pages, it’s still easy to carry around because they use very light weigh paper. So compare to the 2000+ pages volumes that I was using in college, this is truly very portable. Each book is maybe the same weigh as one or two regular paperback.