30 Days of Biking, Day 19: Cookies

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies -

Endangered species in our house: oatmeal peanut butter cookies.

Today passed quickly, with lots of rain interrupted now and again by a brief bit of sun. Between reading my Kindle, chatting with the daughter who’s at college on the East Coast, and taking an occasional stab at a flooded e-mail in-box, I missed those sunshine breaks. Then we embarked upon a family movie fest, and before I knew it the light had nearly left the sky.

Out of nowhere my husband suddenly exclaimed, “Cookies!”

“Yes, cookies!” the cries broke out.

“Check the butter supply,” my husband directed the youngest, standing by ready to make an emergency supply run if needed. Butter supply confirmed. Flour, sugar, eggs, check. Oatmeal — always on hand. Hey, peanut butter! Time to test a variation on my family’s crispy oatmeal cookie recipe.

“Okay, cookies it is,” I said. “But first I have to go for a bike ride.”

Lucky me — cookie mania had struck during one of the breaks in the rain. The night, the wind like a giant animal breathing in the treetops, the sweet air washed by the rain — no ride is just a check-the-box ride. Once out the door I wanted to ride much longer, but cookies.

Enough toying with you — here’s the oatmeal cookie recipe. These would make a fantastic part of your food plan for bike touring or a day ride. Or, in our case, a family movie fest. We’re also big fans of pie, but when you’re thinking about travel foods that pack well in bike panniers, pie is not the first thing that comes to mind. Oh, wait — hand pies! Mental note.

Today’s picture shows the 3 cookies I hid from my family out of the third pan so that I could get a taste after the first two pans vanished within microseconds. Fair warning: Double this recipe because cookies.

You can make this nut-free if need be; just use all butter and leave out the walnuts.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Cream together:
1/2 c. butter (don’t use shortening—it makes all the difference in the world! And for even more amazing flavor, brown the butter first)
1/2 c. peanut butter (best if you use 100% natural with no added salt/sugar, stirring it first)
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

Sift together, then add to the creamed mix:*
1-1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (yes, you can use white if you must)
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
Optional: 1-2 T. ground flaxseed**

Stir in:
1-1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts and/or pecans (optional)

Prepare a bowl of cinnamon/sugar mix:

1/3 c. white sugar
1 T. cinnamon

Roll dough into balls the size of small walnuts, then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mix. Place on cookie sheet and flatten gently with your thumb or the bottom of a glass. They don’t spread too much with peanut butter; if you use all butter they spread a bit more.

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, then hide a batch for your snacking pleasure before you give your family a taste. If you put two cookie sheets in the oven at once, then halfway through rotate the pans top/bottom and front/back for more even heat distribution.

After you take the pans out, let them sit for 1-2 minutes before removing from the pan.

Devour.

Day 18 in the 30 Days of Biking, 30 Words, 30 Pictures series

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*That sounds so official and cookbook-like when I say to sift together and then add. My usual technique? Measure ingredients, dump in, stir well. The cookies turn out just fine.

**The ground flaxseed adds omega 3 for vegetarians along with an additional touch of nutty flavor. This also adds a bit of oil but doesn’t materially change the cookie’s baking characteristics. Disclaimer: I don’t work for Cook’s Illustrated so this assertion is not backed up by 400 different tests of this cookie.

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