Friday, July 27, 2012

Traveling Back to Time on Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies reminded me of my grandparents' deli. The store had everything a kid could dream of--cigarette candies, gold coin chocolates, chocolate balls wrapped in soccer ball pattern foil paper. My favorite of all was the peanut butter cookies. They were stored in a large plastic jar and placed high high high on the shelf. Maybe it was the only treat I couldn't reach and the only one thing my grandparents won't give me, the peanut butter cookies were my favorite. I always sat below the cookie jars while I peeled lotus seeds. They gave me motivation, perhaps today is the day when my grandma would award me a piece of cookie.
Chocolate soccer balls

I don't remember if I ever get to try one as a kid. My grandparents never had time to attend to their grandchildren. I only found out later that my grandparents didn't own a deli, they owned the biggest snack wholesale in Southern Taiwan. When I finally tried the cookies, I think I was in second grade already. Can you imagine longing for something throughout your childhood and only to have that wish satisfied years later? What can I say...the longing and the grease made it the best cookie ever. It was so greasy I got shiny lips and finger tips. 

It was the last and only time I had a peanut butter cookie from my grandparents' store. Traditional cookies and candies disappeared slowly in Taiwan. Supermarkets replaced corner delis, and Snicker bars, M&Ms, potato chips filled the shelves. Occasionally I spot some of my childhood candies at hip candies store, but they're much more expensive now. It's funny how the suggested retail price is 10NTD when the store charge you 50NTD.

Replication of a traditional deli at a tourist spot in Taipei

That's my little story about peanut butter cookies. I didn't make peanut butter cookies. It was the idea of making cookies that brought back my memories. What I made last night was oatmeal raisin--thick and chewy. Something about eating cookies make me feel like a kid again. 

What you need to make 2 dozen small cookies or 1 dozen large cookies:

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
100g brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
95g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100g raisin *(I used dried blueberries)
120g old fashioned oatmeal
90g walnut pieces
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

In a bowl, cream butter till fluffy, add sugar and beat for another 2 minutes until butter and sugar are incorporated. Alternatively, use your hand and mix the two ingredients together. Add the egg and mix till you get a smooth paste. Add salt, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. With a spatula incorporate everything until they just come together. Add raisin, oatmeal, and walnut. Make sure they are equally distributed among the batter. Don't over mix. 

Using a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop (or measure out 28-30g of cookie dough), drop cookies one inch apart on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. While you're waiting for the cookies to chill, turn on the oven to 350F. After chilling in the fridge, bake for 10-12 minutes or until sides are slightly browned.

For larger cookies, use a 4 tablespoon ice cream scoop or measure out 50-60g of cookie dough.

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