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

Living on the Edge: Oatmeal

Or, as they call it here, porridge. But, being an American and not an orphan, I call it oatmeal.

I’m a big fan of instant oatmeal for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. It’s filling and delicious. When I was a kid, I would only eat either the Quaker Maple Brown Sugar flavor, or my mom’s stove top oats with added brown sugar, real sugar, and milk. I was picky eater. And I had the metabolism of a hummingbird, apparently.

Because I was super picky, I have – and still have – a huge issue with textures. For example, I loved oatmeal because I could add enough oats until it became a solid mass, whereas Cream of Wheat cereals were always too watery and gritty. And I had the unfortunate experience of eating a bowl of Cream of Wheat while watching Alien 3 at the part where the alien explodes out of the dog’a stomach and the entrails bore a striking resemblance to the cream of wheat and there are some things you just don’t forget.

[This would have been where I put the screen shot of the dog’s stomach exploding, to give you a visual reference, but I decided to be nice and forego it. This time.]

This texture obsession thing has always dictated how I eat my oatmeal. While I’ve branched out to different flavours (vanilla or strawberries n cream are delightful), the way I eat it remains the same.

  1. Rip open oatmeal pack, pour into mug (always a mug)
  2. Put the recommended amount of water
  3. Microwave for 90 secs
  4. Mix in second pack of oatmeal and stir until a solid mass
  5. Cut into slices and eat

Just kidding with that last step — but two packs oatmeal to one pack water makes it gummy and solid, and I love it right down to the bottom of my weird little soul. I’ve tried using one pack and adding less water, and it works in a pinch for when I only have one pack, but it leaves me hungry. And eating two packs means I’m full until late afternoon, so that’s also awesome. Also while the second pack combines with the first pack, I like to say things like “emulsify” and pretend I’m a scientist, even though I know that it’s not really emulsifying. I don’t know what the term is for oatmeal expanding with water – probably expanding – but I like the word emulsify and I don’t get to use it often enough. I’m really cool.

So I look forward to my oatmeal ritual. And I look forward to oatmeal. Yes, the older I get, the more I know that feel, Calvin’s dad.

maybe I’ll build some character, too.

All this to say, the other day I forgot my lunch at home. Or we didn’t make lunches. One or the other. But I was short on cash and short on the will to go outside, so I decided to eat some oatmeal, since I skipped breakfast in lieu of second coffee. Solid fiscal decision! But something went horribly wrong with my water measuring, and it was still too soupy after two packs. So I thought, “why not add a third pack? I like oatmeal. Sure!”

What I ended up with was like 16 oz of oatmeal. And I are all of it. Halfway through I thought “fuck, this is too much oatmeal.” But I grew up in the Great Depression and I hate to see food go to waste, so I was determined to eat it all. My hands were shaking with the last spoonful, as the 16 oz of oatmeal seemingly expanded to 36 oz of deathmeal.

They say oatmeal makes a good breakfast because it “sticks to your ribs.” More like, it stuck to every blood cell I had. All afternoon, I felt like I was going to throw up. And drinking water to help push it all through only made me feel more like spewing.

After all the oat fueled trauma, I survived. It was about 7:30 that night before I was hungry again, but my stomach didn’t explode with an oatmeal alien like that dog’s stomach in Alien 3.  And uh, yeah, let’s not talk about all that fiber.

This morning, 3 days later, I made one packet of oatmeal. I used less water. It came out perfect. I nearly puked with flashbacks of oat-stomach, but I finished the serving. Take that, breakfast food.

So, Audrey: 1, Oatmeal: 0

#LivingontheEdge