Thu 20 Dec 2012
Hello lovely readers, I’m looking to hear your opinions on this one:
Have you ever been subject to the ”it’s good, but it’s just not as good as my mom’s”? (Insert other name here: Grandma’s, cousin John’s, Penelope’s)
In Mr’s family there are these rolled out oatmeal cookies that they traditionally have at Christmas. His mum makes them from a recipe that came from her grandma, Mr’s great-grandma. Being that these are the years that Mr and I are going to form the Christmas traditions for our little family, I thought it would be good to get the recipe and include it in the list of Christmas Baking recipes.
Mr’s mum, Heather, gave me the recipe and some very helpful hints: the cookies don’t work if you switch out a different fat for the lard, and never ever EVER add cinnamon. (You know what I said about listening to your Mum? The same goes for future mother in laws, they’re smart cookies too!)
Doing my best to not mess with tradition, I weighed carefully, measured precisely, and followed the recipe to the tee. Hurray for cookie cutter fun, and hurray for some mightily tasty cookies!
Mr was very pleased with the results of our labors; he helped me roll them out and cut out the shapes. And when Mr’s parents came over, they were as well. But then Tom, Mr’s dad, said: “These are good, but they aren’t quite the same as Heather’s.”
Now I’m not upset, really I’m not. Part of me is wondering could it be that despite my care I just did it a little differently, or do you think that they’re different simply because they know Heather didn’t make them? Maybe I copied the recipe out wrong?
The differences in variables are pretty minimal; we’ve got the same recipe and I followed it closely. I mixed them up in a metal bowl, maybe she uses a glass one. Superstitious bread makers claim the type of bowl you use effects your dough, maybe it is the same for these cookies. Could that really be the difference though? Maybe I worked in too much flour in the rolling out process, but the recipe directs you to use flour to make the rolling process easier.
I guess, what I’m really trying to ask is: Do you think that the person making a recipe can effect how it turns out? Is it that the minute ways in which things are done differently by different people that leads to the food coming out noticeably different? Or is it more psychosomatic, our brains tell us that what you’re eating can’t be the same because it didn’t come from the same person so we taste them differently?
These things have been mulling around in my head; I’d be curious to hear what you think.
Rolled Oatmeal Cookies
(recipe from Grandma Chegwin)
2 Cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 pound lard
1/2 pound margarine
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp hot water
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 Cups flour
5 Cups oatmeal
- Cream together the brown sugar, lard and margarine.
- Dissolve the baking soda into the hot water.
- Mix the baking soda-water and vanilla into the creamed mixture.
- Work in the dry ingredients.
- Put the dough in the fridge to cool.
- Roll the dough out thin, using flour to keep it from becoming a sticky mess, and then cut out shapes.
- Bake in a 350 ° oven for 8-11 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.
- Eat plain, or sandwiched together with raspberry jam.
These are such a lovely cookie. I know you might be thinking, oatmeal cookie – kind of mundane, but this is not a mundane cookie. They’re crispy without being overly crunchy. The oatmeal toasts up during the baking and makes the cookies almost nutty. They stand up pretty well to being dunked in milk.
If you don’t know what you’re going to leave for Santa this year, I can tell you that he would like a rolled oatmeal cookie.
Mr says: These literally taste like Christmas to me. A holiday classic!
This time last year: Caesar Cocktail
And the year before: Lemon Roasted Potatoes