This holiday season I have decided to take a resolution. Yes, it is better to have a resolution for just one month than the dreaded life long one in January. This way I can always concentrate on better stuff in January, like the chocolate covered cupcakes.
So I have resolved to cook more inglish kind of dishes this month. Now inglish does not necessarily mean English; it can be Italian or Moroccan or anything but Bengali. Inglish as in stuff my Grandmother had never heard of and would probably refuse to eat otherwise, stuff my Mother might have heard but never been interested to try them at home, stuff I have heard, probably tasted, some not tasted but never been too enthu to try them out at home.
But all that is going to change for I have had enough of being the "Bong Mom" and cooking or at least blogging about more or less "Bong Food". Six or some uncountable years ago when I started this blog I couldn't cook a charchari from a labra. I couldn't make an ossobuco or pasta carbonara either. But true to my family roots and some crap about passing on my Bengali legacy to my daughters, I went the charchari route. And now see what has happened ? Every person from Madhyamgram to Mangalore and Patuli to Patna is cooking Beef Burgenoff (or maybe stroganoff) and Mushroom Risotto with a flourish and baking perfect pots of de la creme or something. And what am I doing ? Cooking bandhakopir ghonto and still trying to figure out how or why a dessert spoon is different from regular spoon. See what a disgrace I am to my Mother, the poor thing who not only sent me to a inglish school but spent a good part of her life to get me the perfect bloomers for phys ed ? Instead of apple crumble I write posts on kopir datar charchari. And it is not that my finesse in those stuff is exemplary or something and can be compared to anyone's grandmother.
Just plain ordinary, everyday.
But let me also tell you. The entire thing is not my fault alone. Now that I look around, I see grandmothers in Malda were apparently making tarts and vanilla bean cookies at the time mine was merely stirring a Paayesh. No wonder I have no heirloom recipe for such delicacies and am forced to write sentimental posts about Ilish Maacher Tauk. Chhayh !!!
So enough of all that ghyyant-charchari-jhaal-jhol-ombol for December. Ossobuco here I come. Wait, that is too much of a leap for me. For now we will take baby steps with cookies. So oatmeal raisin cookies here I come. And since I have no hand-me-down recipe for such I am following exactly what Smitten Kitchen has.
The larger part of Saturday, I spent making cookies which failed miserably batch after batch. That story I will tell you in the next post. It was this batch of oatmeal raisin cookies which saved us and led to the source of the problem. The wrong oven. As in our new toaster oven which due to its newness or something was blaring off heat at 400F when we set the temp at 350F. No doubt the cookies crumbled or rather burned. The oatmeal raisin cookies being larger in number were baked in the larger, regular oven and that seemed to solve all our troubles.
Though I must say here that we had many self-doubts while beating the butter and sugar, while mixing the flour with the butter and sugar, while adding the oats at which point I asked the husband-man to come and lend his expert hand and also Alton Brown-esque knowledge. He said something about the dough not having enough elasticity.
Loads of crap.
They made pretty good, golden colored oatmeal cookies. They were thick and chewy. They did not taste as good as a Pepperidge Farm Soft-baked oatmeal raisin cookies but then I am partial to soft-baked cookies and I have not grown up with oatmeal cookies to compare against. Given that this recipe was from Smitten Kitchen and looked like hers , I am sure this is how oatmeal cookies should be. BigSis loved and ate many. LS merely liked and used them to draw imperfect circles.
AP Flour -- 3/4th Cup
Baking Soda -- 1/2 tsp
Salt -- 1/4th tsp
Quaker Oats -- 1&1/2 cup
Butter -- 1 stick (at room temperature. This is important)
Egg -- 1 large (at room temp)
Brown Sugar -- 1/3 Cup
Regular White Sugar -- 1/3 Cup
Vanilla Extract -- 1 tsp
Raisins -- 1/2 cup
* I added about 1/4th cup of chocolate chips though the recipe did not ask for it
1. In a bowl whisk together the AP Flour, baking soda and salt.
2. In a wide mouthed bowl cream together the butter and sugar. I used my hand mixer for this which I am not very prone to use. Once the butter and sugar have come together to a creamy consistency and tastes smooth and sweet add the egg. Now beat again until you get a smooth end result.
3. To the wet ingredients aka butter+sugar+egg, add the flour mix gradually. I mixed with a rubber spatula until the flour blended into the buttery goodness
4. By this time the dough was pretty tight and it seemed impossible for 1& 1/2 cup of oat to mix into it. But voila !!! As you mix the oat in with the spatula it does all go in. Be patient. Stir in the raisins next. And the chocolate chips if using.
5.Chill the dough for half hour.
6. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Meanwhile scoop out portions of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Don't crowd them and give them enough space, for those blobs will expand.
7. Bake them for 10-12 minutes. Now this time will totally depend on your oven. In my larger regular oven by 12 minutes the cookies started having a golden edge. However in my new toaster oven, by 8-9 minutes the edges were getting burned.
8. Take out the cookies when the edges are golden but the center is still a tad soft. As Smitten Kitchen's Deb says, let them remain on the hot cookie sheet for 5 mins. Only after that cool them in a rack.
These oatmeal raisin cookies were thick, chewy, very oatmeal-y. The two adults and the almost 9 year old loved it. The four year old was more in love with the baking process than the cookie itself.