Editor’s Note: Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi will write about her passion – cooking – every month. If you have a food topic you’d like addressed, you can find her e-mail address at the bottom of her first-ever column.
Even though it’s officially fall, we know that the cooling off process can take a while and teases us a bit, with temperatures spiking back up for a few days here and there. While I back off on some cooking for the summer, by this time I’m ready to bake again.
What to do? I still don’t want my oven on for a long time. My compromise is to start with cookies.
Here’s the trick: rather than bake the entire batch, make up a dozen or so. Take the rest of the dough and roll it into tablespoon-size balls and freeze on a cookie sheet. Store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When you want or need some cookies, thaw some out for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature and bake them. I prefer balls to logs of dough since they make a more nicely-rounded cookie.
There are a couple advantages to handling cookies this way at this time of year: your oven is not on for long, and if you only make up a dozen at a time you are not tempted to eat an entire batch of cookies in two days. Let’s face it, homemade cookies, unless shared or removed from the premises, end up disappearing disturbingly fast. Where the evidence of their consumption shows up (also in a disturbingly fast manner) and stays for a disturbingly long time (forever) is a situation that is best to avoid. If you are one of those rare creatures blessed with homemade cookie consumption self-control I admire you greatly and hate you just a little bit. If you have the kind of genetics that allow you to consume mass quantities of cookies without physiological evidence surfacing, well, I have nothing to say to you. Really. Nothing.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi began collecting recipes at age 14, but her real love affair with cooking started after picking up a December 1989 Bon Appetit magazine. Today, she shares her love of the kitchen with her two kids, Nathan, 11, and Nicole, 8. If you’d like to get in touch with Lori with a question or idea, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies:
1 cup butter, softened ¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar 1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats 12 oz. package chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cinnamon (prefer Penzey’s Vietnamese Fancy)
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar at medium speed. Once everything is well blended (no lumps of brown sugar!) and lighter in color mix in egg and vanilla at low speed. In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture and stir well. Stir in the oats. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (can also freeze balls of dough at this point).
• Bake between 8 to 11 minutes. If you like a chewy cookie, go with less time. Crisp, go long. Cool for a minute on the sheet then transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack.
Test cookie. Sometimes the dough looks a little softer than I’d like, so I bake a single test cookie just to make sure the dough will not spread out into an unappetizing amorphous blob. Should your test cookies come out this way, work in a little more flour, a little at a time until the dough feels stiffer. Then try again, or if you’re just ready to be done with it, bake up a sheet and see what you get.