Tuesday, September 25, 2012

COOKIE CAPER

My youngest sister called on Sunday afternoon to tell me she planned to come down and visit our mom. I know she loves oatmeal raisin cookies and a few weeks ago she asked, "Where are my cookies?", so I promised to bake some for her the next time she visited. I used to think I baked decent oatmeal cookies but lately they have fallen short of my expectations. For years I used the tried-and-true recipe for "Famous Oatmeal Cookies" on the box lid of Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and then added a few touches of my own - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins, and chopped walnuts. Those are the ones my sisters loves. I'm not sure why I don't have the recipe memorized, as I do some of my others (I make chocolate chip cookies from memory with no problem). I did seem to remember I never used as much flour as the current box lid recipe indicates is needed. I searched online for oatmeal cookie recipes and found quite a few. To date, I've baked cookies from four different recipes but none turned out looking or tasting like my original ones. I went to the Quaker Oats website and inquired but was given the current recipe for "Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies": 
http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipes/content/recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?recipeId=474
The recipe didn't look the same as the one I'd used for so many years but I was at a loss to figure out exactly what was different. I have two vintage Quaker Oats tins displayed on a shelf in my kitchen so I took them down tonight and sure enough, each has the OLD recipe on it. Quaker did indeed change it - mystery solved - but I still don't know why it was changed. If it worked well in the past, why did it need to be "improved"? I was right about the amount of flour. The newer recipe calls for 1/4 cup more and that can be a lot in a cookie recipe. The 1/4 cup of water was omitted and that might explain why my cookies have been too puffy. 
 
 VINTAGE QUAKER OATS TIN WITH ORIGINAL RECIPE
 ANOTHER VINTAGE QUAKER OATS TIN  
LATELY, MY OATMEAL COOKIES LOOK TOO PUFFY 
MY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES USED TO LOOK LIKE THESE 
 
I did make my sister a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies Sunday afternoon but they turned out a bit thicker than I wanted them to be, since I used the newer recipe. Glenn said they were "pretty good". He's my toughest critic and if he says, "pretty good", that usually indicates he likes them but doesn't love them - and I'm always going for the LOVE. My sister wasn't able to come afterall, so I froze the cookies, but I think I'll let Glenn take them to work and when Sis decides to try it again, I'll bake the cookies she always loved - from the original recipe. Mystery solved. I just knew that recipe had been changed. It sure is nice to be right about something once in awhile. Here's the ORIGINAL "Famous Oatmeal Cookies" recipe from the Quaker Oats Tin: 
 
FAMOUS OATMEAL COOKIES
 
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon soda
 
Perheat oven to 350* F. Beat together shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla until creamy. Add combined remaining ingredients; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350*F. for 12-15 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 
 
For variety: add chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or coconut.     

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