Comfort food, ch. 3: Oatmeal Turners

Ok, so I know oatmeal isn’t exciting. And I know a lot of people could careless. But let me put this out there: I freakin’ love oatmeal. Yes, I am a living on the edge wild child for the fibre treat. I love hot porridge, I love oatmeal skin products, I love the way it feels to sift through a bag of oats with my hands, and I love to fucking destroy a plate of oatmeal cookies.

The oatmeal cookie and all it’s simplistic glory calls to the Midwestern genetics in me that my mom has worked so tirelessly to destroy (but somethings can’t be helped; this love of sweat pants and trashy TV didn’t evolve on its own, Mom). They’re filling, but not too sweet, so you can eat about a million of them before you feel sick. And, you can convince yourself that since it’s oatmeal, butter, and brown sugar, you’re basically eating a bowl of oatmeal. That makes them a breakfast food. Aw yeah. But more than that, oatmeal cookies remind me of dad’s mom, Gramma.

My Gramma Turner was known for a few things: her incredible piano skillz (she had her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and owned two black Steinway baby grand pianos and a room FULL of sheet music), her swift intelligence, her quilting talent, her art and calligraphy, buying us amazing toys and “forcing” us to do crafts (damnit I wish somone would force me to do crafts now); but she was not known for her cooking. I can’t blame her, she was born and raised in the mid-west, famous for Mayonaise and meatloaf. But these cookies. They made me say gat-damn. 

She had this recipe that just killed. I’ve never had a cookie that tastes like my Gramma’s cookies. They were basic oatmeal cookies, but they were white — which is weird. And they had this taste to them that I’ve never been able to replicate. It was like a raw cookie dough taste, rich, savory, but fully baked. It was plain, but it was haunting.

I couldn’t get enough of them. And whenever we’d visit, she’d always make a batch just for me, and keep them in a big, round, blue tin on the top of the fridge. She’d only let me have two at a time, and it drove me crazy. And I’d get in trouble when she realized I had snuck in there and eaten a handful. #worthit We have her recipe and have tried to make them a few times, but they don’t taste the same. By the time I had the interest to sit down and talk recipes with her, she was deep in the throws of dementia. And then she passed away. Whatever secret ingredient or method she had, she kept a secret.

Enter: Oatmeal Turners.

They’re a hybrid of my Gramma’s cookies, and my mom’s Exceptionally Badass Oatmeal Cookies. They’re fluffy, soft, rich, delicious little oatmeal bites, and they’re the closest cookies I’ve come to my Gramma’s. Every time I make them, it’s like a trip back in time. With one bite, I’m 7 years old, and sitting in my Gramma’s sunporch in Lexington, Kentucky, playing with our Barbie Dream House, waiting for her and my mom to go shopping so I can sneak more cookies.

So get a gallon of milk, make these cookies, and have a good time. You won’t regret it. Fun fact: I’ve also made these Vegan for my plant-friendly pals by using unbleached sugar, and swapping the eggs for Arrow Root powder + water, and the butter for canola based margarine. And they’re still good. Like they always say, getchu a cookie that can do both.

Here’s the low down:

Cast of Players

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ACT 1

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Combine the butter, sugars, vanilla and almond extract
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In a separate bowl, mix the flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda and coconut
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I wisk it all together because it makes me feel fancy
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Cream the wet stuff, 2-3 mins
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beat in eggs one at a time
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SLOWLY mix in the dry stuff (or dump it all in at once. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. It just depends on how much you like cleaning up flour bombs.) Also, scrape scrape scrape to make sure the flour mix is well incorperated.
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The best part of baking is licking cleaning the beaters.

ACT II

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mix in the oats
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realise that mixing this with a utensil is futile, and use your hands — trust me, it’s the easiest way to go about it
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et voila. This is also the stage where you add goodies like white chocolate chips and walnuts, but I opted for classic flavour this time
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using a 1/4 cup measure, make big cookie balls. I use grease paper instead of a buttered pan because it makes the bottoms come out perrrrrrfect
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bake em up! at 325*F//260*C
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I use my trusty “10 mins first” and then “3 mins more” method until they’re done

ACT III

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The trick is to leave them just slightly undercooked. It helps to retain the fluffy softness, and super rich flavours. After about 13 mins, the skewer should come out clean, but slightly damp. That’s when you know they’re done. They’ll be ridiculously soft, so be careful when taking them off the tray (as evidenced by that dented cookie on the left). As they cool, they come more durable.
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Dat bottom. The bottom should be golden brown like the top. If the cookies overbake, then they’ll become extra crunchy when they cool. Like a Nature Valley bar.
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Enjoy!
Oatmeal Turners by Kim Turner
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flower
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shaved coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • optional: 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • optional: 1 cup white chocolate chips
  1. combine butter, sugars, vanilla + almond, set aside.
  2. combine flour, almond meal, salt and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. cream together butter and white and brown sugars.
  4. add eggs one at a time.
  5. slowly mix in dry ingredients.
  6. slowly mix in oatmeal and coconut and other mix-ins (pecans, white chocolate chips)
  7. use 1/4 cup scoop to make balls of oatmeal dough deliciousness, and distribute them on baking sheets
  8. bake for 8-10 minutes at 325*F//260*C
  9. remove immediately from baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
Mom’s pro-tips:
  • you aren’t baking successfully unless you’ve dirtied up every measuring device you own.
  • pull the cookies out when they’re almost done. They’ll continue baking when you bring them out of the oven, and it maintains the soft texture/crispy edge harmony.
  • For every baking sheet you bake, you get one spoon full of raw dough to eat.
  • Therefore, use every baking sheet you own.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go eat the rest of these cookies, because I had an IUD fitted today and my uterus is furious with me. But more on that later.

How do you bake oatmeal cookies? Let me know!

xo

the cookies that almost weren’t

Because this winter has been expensive, I’ve decided to curb all unnecessary spending for a while. Which, unfortunately means no more spending heaps on butter, sugar, baking bits, and baking supplies. And that really sucks, because when I’m at home, hanging out, all I want to do is bake. Like, I think I have a biological cookie clock that starts ticking around 11 AM every Saturday. Even if it’s just to make the World’s Best Chocolate Chip cookie, or a pre-packaged pumpkin bread, I need to bake something.

This is where my mom comes in. For Christmas, she and dad sent Joel and me a few boxes of cake and cookie mixes. Being that it was the middle of summer and I was loathe to turn the oven on if I didn’t have to, so I didn’t get around to baking. Later on in the year, I was making everything from scratch, so the boxes stayed in the cabinet, tucked away for emergencies. And last week, when my Bake-ological Clock started, I considered it an emergency.

So I grabbed the package of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cupcakes, because I had just enough butter and eggs. First problem: I don’t have a cupcake tin, so I would have to make a cake – no big deal. Second: it came with cinnamon creme frosting, which required 2 cups of powdered sugar – which I only had barely 1 cup. I literally didn’t have enough money to go out and buy more, and instead of just making half the frosting, I thought I’d wing it and do what Google suggested – blend together corn starch and sugar. I didn’t have a blender or a food processor, so I thought mixing it might do the trick. yeeeeah. After I cleaned up the cloud of corn starch dust that blew everywhere, I was left with, basically, slippery sugar. I added it to the frosting mix, and ultimately got a gritty sugar paste. Lesson learned: if you only have half the ingredients, just make a half recipe.

The pie was still good. And that’s all that counts.

I give you, "Pumpkin Sugar Grit."
I give you, “Pumpkin Sugar Grit.”

Today, I decided to make the Ugly Christmas Sweater sugar cookies she sent. Christmas in August! Yay!

I emptied the box, and was a bit skeptical.

After baking from scratch, pre-mixed ingredients look somewhat unholy
After baking from scratch, pre-mixed ingredients look somewhat unholy

And I decided to make woodland creatures and dionsaurs, in addition to ugly sweaters.

DSCF2159The directions on the box stated “combine cookie mix, 1 egg, and 4 tablespoons room temperature butter with mixer on low speed.” I waited til the butter was room temp, and added it – looking more skeptical.

DSCF2160I folded in the mix with the egg and butter as much as I could, and then took it to the mixer, hoping this wouldn’t happen. But then it did:

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Flour bomb. It had to be the one day I wasn’t wearing a sassy apron. Also, twice in one week – flat learning curve.

The next step on the back of the box said to spread the dough on a lightly floured surface:

DSCF2163Yeah. It was basically cake dough. And the more I tried to form it, the stickier it got.

DSCF2168I was about to call the whole thing off, and just throw the dough out, when Joel gave it a shot:
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DSCF2171We ended up with 3 blobs and a squirrel, all covered in “100s of 1000s” or, as they’re called in the States, nonpareils. 100s of 1000s is much cuter.

DSCF2176 DSCF2177But they turned out great! Fluffy, and surprisingly not a single over baked spot on the bottom. Actually, thinking back, they tasted like those store bought, frosted sugar cookies. Like the ones made in Target’s bakery and always have some sort of super sugary seasonal icing on them. But still, not bad.

The squirrel got a bit bloated.
The squirrel got a bit bloated.

And thus, team work made the dream work. The dream of cookies.

DSCF2184Tune in tomorrow for another round of Broke Bakers.