So psyched about the Dancing with the Stars—yep, it’s back. Season 18 is underway; congrats and welcome to Erin Andrews as co-host! The girl is rockin’ it from the get-go. Some folks just have it goin’ on. (Okay, so I is a junkie when it comes to this show. It’s feel-good and fun.)
Last week’s post was prompted by the daily prompt at WordPress. This week’s write-up ties into another one. Since these prompts bring music to mind, here’s the link to a video that bears the prompt’s title—remember this one? Some songs will always make you move.
Do you have a clue what the title of the WordPress prompt is yet?
Rather than write about my favorite sweet—seriously, how do I narrow THAT down? Guess I’ll go with what came to mind first: a room-temperature square of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate.
Then I thought about the nicest compliment I got just the weekend prior.
I have very kind neighbors. The Vietnamese family on one side has sent the best egg wraps on several occasions since they moved in a little over a year ago. Filled with shrimp and Asian veggies, these are oh-so-yum and always a welcome surprise of a treat. (Somehow, the wraps come when I have no idea what I’m making for dinner. Go figure.)
My neighbor across the street has kept us supplied with ‘salt’ during the winter storms the east coast dealt us, this past stormier-than-usual winter.
I said thank you to both families with a tray of oatmeal-raisin cookie bars I make from scratch. Honestly, it’s one of my easy favorite recipes; love these things. They’re lightly sweet and can be crumbled into milk as breakfast.
One of the neighbors caught me as I was getting in the car and asked how much I charge for my cookies! How nice was that? He compared them to two bakeries I’d heard of, too. He also caught me a bit off guard, as I have never asked for any payment on something I very much enjoy doing. (And I get the—questionable—benefit of having fresh cookie dough to chomp on regularly, right?) Hmm. Maybe I can move into another career direction…
Anyway, figured I’d share the recipe. This is off the bag of brown sugar sold at Aldi’s, the market where we do most our family’s food shopping. Owned by Trader Joe’s, they are the best kept secret for feeding a small family and saving big $$$ on the grocery bill. And I can recognize most of the ‘name brands’ they contract with from the packaging. They also bring in weekly specials of food, household items, etc, most of which are excellent quality.
The original recipe, right off the bag.
The finished product :)
So here is my version of the recipe:
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter (=1 stick), softened, not melted (I use ONLY salted butter. Margarine works but will give a different texture)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or to taste)
1 large egg
2 cups oatmeal (I always use regular, although the recipe calls for quick cooking)
1 cup whole wheat white flour (all purpose flour is fine, or you can come up with a mix of the two—your choice how much of each)
1 tsp of baking soda
1 cup of raisins (chocolate chips work too, should you prefer those or just in the mood for something different)
13 x 9 cake pan (foil, glass or metal all work)
cooking spray (or butter or margarine, to grease the pan)
waxed paper (optional, but SO worth it when spreading the dough)
Preheat oven to 350º F. (My oven has a Speedbake option that simulates a convection oven. I keep it OFF–I feel that it makes the finished product dry).
In a bowl (or large measuring cup) mix together all your dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a separate, larger bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg and beat until lightened in color and fluffy. (An electric mixer is very helpful to make this step go quickly.)
My momma’s vintage GE mixer. She loaned it to me ages ago and wound up buying another one for her. This baby is still kickin’ batter-dough’s butt. She might have gotten it by collecting Green Stamps. (Yes, I just dated myself. Oh well, guess if I’m not my age, I am not.)
Hand-stir in the dry mixture, about 1/3 of it at a time, mixing until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated. (Try not to over-mix. It could make the finished product tough. Also, this tends to be a thick dough and requires some strength to mix. For this step, you might consider employing someone with strong arms—whenever hubby or one of my boys is around, I do. If I’m the one doing it, I figure it will only benefit my forehand in the end! ;) )
Stir in the raisins or chocolate chips. (Heck, add both if you like. I’m thinking a li’l bit of coconut would add to the yum-value here. BTW, hubby wondered if you can just add the raisins or chips to the dry ingredients and do everything in one step. You probably can, though most cookie dough recipes typically add them separately.)
Spread dough into your pan. This dough is pretty thick. (I spray a pan-sized piece of waxed paper with cooking spray and use that to press the dough all the way to the corners of the pan. Makes this step ridiculously easier.)
Bake for about 18 minutes then check for doneness. Edges should be browned. Bake about 5 minutes longer if you prefer crumbly (vs. chewy) cookie bars.
Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. (I then cover the pan with foil or a flat cookie sheet—makes for treats that are a tad more moist and chewier.)
Cut into bars when cool. (A pizza cutter works well here.)
I know, I know. Seems like a lot of steps, but once you know them this is a quick, go-to recipe you can make in a pinch. All things considered, it’s pretty wholesome too. Crumble a bar or two into oatmeal, add milk and eat cold. I promise it works! Cut them up and arrange in a pretty basket or baking dish for an elegant display.
Do you have a favorite recipe? I’m always open. Feel free to post a link to it here, or post at your place and let me know. If you feel so inclined, please share. (And don’t forget to dance a little to Def Leppard.)
Have a great week,