Oatmeal Crisps

Oatmeal cookies are the Rodney Dangerfield of baked goods. They get no respect. My son Brandon thinks you’ve got one foot in the nursing home door if you’re snacking on these. But there’s something so comforting about a hefty oatmeal cookie, chocked full of raisins. It’s kinda like a hug from your Mom. Speaking of Moms, I got this recipe from mine, who found it in a Better Homes and Gardens “new” cookbook printed in 1963. (Apparently, I liked these enough to warrant my name being recorded beside the recipe, but I guess I dissed the cup of chopped walnuts. So she used raisins instead. Thanks, Mom!)

Chewy when first baked, these are the perfect after-school snack with a tall glass of cold milk. Once cooled, they crisp up a little, and are great for dunking in a mug of hot coffee or tea. And these would be especially welcome after all that rich Thanksgiving fare, so keep this one handy for after turkey day.


Makes 2 to 2½ dozen

Rating: easy

1 cup shortening
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In large mixing bowl, cream shortening. Add brown sugar and cream again. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla. In separate medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir. Gradually add to creamed shortening and sugar mixture, stirring down sides occasionally. Add oatmeal 1 cup at a time with mixer set on low. Remove from mixer stand and stir in raisins by hand.

Drop large tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet, 12 per sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tops of cookies are lightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Store in airtight container.

NOTE: I like my cookies soft and chewy, and these start out that way if you bake them for 10-12 minutes. If you like cookies crisp (Sherie Lindvall, I’m talking to you…), bake them 15 minutes or more.

Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

IMG_0968Pretty much everyone has a recipe similar to this chewy peanut butter cookie, just like everyone has a favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. But I’ve had numerous people tell me mine are especially grand. I once brought these to work, and after her first bite a fellow employee said, “I bet lots of men wanted to marry YOU…” For the record, I’ve only had one marriage proposal, but I’ve had tons of requests for my cookie recipes. I think it’s the addition of the Reese’s peanut butter chips that takes these cookies from good to great.

But I have to admit I wasn’t always such a rock star with this recipe. At the ripe old age of 11 or 12, I wanted to treat my family to a batch of PB Cookies. Once I got to the dough-rolling stage, I felt like something was amiss. “Mom, this dough feels kinda like Play-Doh. Is it supposed to feel like that?” It also looked a little different than I remembered—more sparkly than usual. One pan came out of the oven, and we broke off chunks to test, and promptly spit them out. They tasted like Play-Doh, too!!! What went wrong? My mother and I went back through the ingredients one at a time, and she asked me if I’d put in this and that, and then quizzed me on the amounts. When she got to salt, she said, “Half a teaspoon salt?” and I froze. I’d put in half a CUP of salt. We laughed as we pitched that whole inedible batch in the garbage, and I remember that crazy mistake every single time I make these cookies. As I carefully measure the salt.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup shortening (not butter or butter-flavored shortening)
1 cup Skippy’s super chunky peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 of 10 oz. bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. In large mixer bowl, cream shortening and peanut butter. Add white sugar, then dark brown sugar, and cream ingredients until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and cream. Add vanilla and cream ingredients again.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and stir until combined. Dough should not be overly-sticky to the touch (too little flour), but also should not be crumbly. (If dough is crumbly, that means you have too much flour in your dough and cookies will be tough, not soft and chewy.) Stir Reese’s peanut butter chips into dough with wooden spoon until chips are incorporated.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on baking sheet, 12 to sheet. Using tines of fork, make cross-cross pattern on top of cookies, pressing to flatten slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges of cookies are lightly golden brown. Let cool at least 5 minutes before removing to wire rack or container. Store in air-tight container.