Tag Archives: raisins

Lunchbox oatmeal raisin cookies

18 Oct

I was always a hot lunch kid in elementary school, which I found delicious and a fun way to explore what I’ve pretty much always thought of as “white people food” that I couldn’t eat at home.  Chicken nuggets, sloppy joes that everyone would get excited about which I thought were super gross, fish sticks… basically anything fried and/or covered with cheese.  Also, quick google of my elementary school shows that you can look up the lunch menu online!  This is incredible!  I used to bring $40 checks to school for my lunch (fun fact my PIN number was 32367, I think.), which would last somewhere around two months- maybe $1.25 a day.  Now it costs $2.50 a day for lunch.   Still so little, and probably still so tasty and nutritious (I loved school lunch).

But some kids brought lunch to school.  I’m about to say something fairly unrelated but I promise there’s a segue coming.


I loved this stuff.


There is a connection between these.

Every day in just about every math department I’ve been to, there’s a tradition of afternoon tea, generally at 3 p.m. in the math lounge, with tea and cookies.  Back in Santa Barbara everyone came out and chatted for half an hour to an hour, sitting around on ratty old couches, while at Yale I was always surprised to see the grad students/professors/postdocs scurry out of nowhere to grab cookies/tea, then break into clumps around the room to talk math at the chalkboards.  At UIC it seems like just graduate students show up on Monday through Thursday.  But we have the special Friday teas at 4:15 after colloquium, and then we have the super special Wine and Cheese tea once a month.

Last month my friend Ellie and I decided to host the Wine and Cheese tea (tea is often run by graduate students).  We had a bunch of department money and some time on our hands (our advisers were out of town that week), so we grabbed a Zipcar and went to town at my favorite place in Chicago.

Here’s the email I sent to the department:

It’s been a long week/month and by now, everyone should be settled in and back to the routines of the school year.  Do you remember, back in the day, those elementary school lunches?  Packing or unpacking lunchables, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, baby carrots, and best of all, homemade cookies?  You can re-live it all again today at 4:15 in SEO 300, and since we aren’t little kids anymore, you can also enjoy those apples and peanut butter with a glass of wine.  Or, if you prefer, a juice box.

Even though I didn’t bring lunch, I still have a wave of cultural nostalgia for all of these things.
I knew I loved you before I met you

I feel rather like a savage toward school lunch.  Like a Savage Garden: I knew I loved you before I met you

This was a very long way of saying that Ellie and I baked cookies a few weeks ago.  I made oatmeal chocolate chip off of the box top, and she did chocolate chip derby day cookies that she will one day guest blog for me.
Oh right I forgot my promise:
If Moby was here I would kick him out of the kitchen because I'd be scared he'd drop a beat(er) and then we'd have to clean it.

If Moby was here I would kick him out of the kitchen because I’d be scared he’d drop a beat(er) and then we’d have to clean it.

These cookies are pretty straightforward: beat the butter and sugar, then add in egg and vanilla and beat that.

The electric beaters really help you get a lEGG up in your baking

The electric beaters really help you get a lEGG up in your baking

Next add all of your dry ingredients.  You should as a matter of principle whisk together the dry ingredients ahead so you don’t get baking soda clumps, but I’m not very good with principles (seriously it took me a very long time to understand induction) so I just throw them all in there.

Dry ivgredients really drive forward the recipe.

Dry ivgredients really drive forward the recipe.

Then toss in the oats and the raisins, make your lil balls, and bake those suckers!  I made little 1/2 TB sized balls which made a ton of adorable teeny cookies to feed the 50 or so people who come to wine and cheese tea.

2013-09-27_09-37-09_631 2013-09-27_09-30-26_77


Oatmeal Raisin cookies copied exactly from the Quaker container:

  • 1/2 Cup(s) (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 Cup(s) raisins

Beat butter and sugars for awhile.

Add eggs and vanilla, then beat it.

Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.



Cranberry cookies from the bag recipe

9 Mar

Whenever I’m idling somewhere I have a tendency of reading everything in sight.  For instance, at the dentist’s office I like trying to anagram the words on the posters while I’m waiting.  (Cancer: nothing.  Medicine: I end mice!  I am the mouse destroyer!  Rawwwr!)  Anyway, I was eating oatmeal the other morning and noticed a recipe on the brown sugar bag, so thought I’d try it!  Yum!

You cran do it; put your bake into it

You cran do it; put your bake into it

There’s not too much to these delightfully fluffy, slightly spicy fruit cookies (it’s like light fruitcake in a cookie).  I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I also use yogurt in place of mayonnaise (like egg salad etc.)- just add some lemon.  Anyways, I thought I’d make a challenge to myself to wash as few dishes as possible: one bowl, one whisk, one measuring cup cookies.  I ended up adding a measuring spoon too.


I wonder if the author of Mme Bovary’s friends ever said things like “That’s so Flaubert.” (a la that’s so raven). And maybe they’d shorten it to “that’s so flau”. Or if there was something he’d really like more than the first thing, it’s ever more flau, or flau-er. Probs not cuz they were French and it was the 1800s.

Usually I use two bowls: one for wet ingredients and another for dry, then mix them together.  This time I whisked up the flour, baking soda, and spices in the bowl, and then dumped the blend onto some parchment paper (which I would later use to bake on, so I wouldn’t have to wash the cookie sheet).

Next, as usual, you should cream your butter and sugar.  Since this was on the brown sugar bag it called for only brown sugar, which was surprising but also great.  Brown sugar has this beautiful depth to it which really works with the spices and fruits.  There’s a reason sugar cookies are made with white sugar.

Oh sugar sugar, you are my cookie base... and you got me wanting you

Oh sugar sugar, you are my cookie base… and you got me wanting you

Next we finish off the wet ingredients with yogurt and an egg.  Next time I’d probably also add a splash of vanilla.


Yo yo yo yippee yo yippee yay-gurt

I couldn’t take a picture of me putting the flour into the wet ingredients because it used both hands, but be assured it was awesome.  I just picked up the parchment paper and the flour easily slid right down the chute.  So great!


These raisins sure are raising the bar for these cookies. (But really it’s the baking soda that does that.)

Finally you mix in a handful of golden raisins and a handful of dried cranberries.  To make pretty cookies, the next step is key, which is why I didn’t do it.   Use a tablespoon or even a tablespoon and a half measuring spoon to make perfectly round little mounds on your parchment paper.  These cookies don’t spread very much so how you plop them is basically what you get.


Drop it like it’s hot makes sense, but for cookie dough you more drop it like it’s lukewarm.

Bake that for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  When these babies came out I thought they didn’t quite have enough flavor, so I heated up some leftover coffee until it was almost boiling (aka for 45 seconds in the microwave) and the stirred some chocolate chips into it.


Do you want less cha? No, mocha!

Then I drizzled this very beautifully over the cooling cookies while my lovely children played quietly in the garden with the buckets of 100-dollar bills we had won last week in the raffle.  I’m just kidding, my kids would never play quietly.  But I’m seriously kidding, I don’t have buckets of dollars.  Or kids.  Anyways.  I threw the chocolate on the cookies.


Oof I better wrap this post up because I’m running a little (choco)late

These were pretty good at first, but they were AWESOME after a few hours of sitting.  The sweet chocolate was a perfect offset to the warm spicy rich flavors with a curiously light and fluffy texture.

Recipe, adapted from the Domino brown sugar bag:  I only made a half batch because I ran out of flour, and it’s sort of closer to a third of a batch also.  This recipe makes some number of cookies (about 2 dozen):


1/3-1/2 c brown sugar (I used 1/3 to offset the sweetness of the chocolate, but if you don’t want to do the chocolate drizzle, use 1/2.  You should probably use 1/2 anyway.)

1 stick butter

Until creamy.  Then beat in:

1 egg

1/4  c yogurt

Separately, whisk together:

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg

Beat wet and dry ingredients together, then stir in:

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/2 c golden raisins

Bake 8-10 minutes at 400 until the edges are lightly brown and the tops look dry.  While letting cool, heat up:

1/3 c coffee

And then stir into the hot coffee:

1/2-3/4 c chocolate chips

Until the chocolate chips are melted and you have a good texture.  Then drizzle your melted chocolate-coffee beautifully over your cooling cookies (parchment paper is good for this).

These are best after they’ve cooled, with a cup of tea.

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