Brownsugar Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookie crumbles What you see here is basically Jennie Craig’s worst nightmare.  No joke.

I was feeling a little blue yesterday so I decided to take a page out of Weight Watcher’s Therapy packet and bake.  (That was another joke in case you didn’t realize.)

What is the better antidote to despair: alcohol or cookies?  For a 9:00 am remedy I think I made the better choice.

I hopped onto the Pioneer Woman’s blog as I knew Ree wouldn’t let me down.  My friends, Ree did not let me down.

As a Midwestern born girl and as someone who is theoretically opposed to baking, rather than bake cookies I schlopped all the dough onto my cookie sheet with a high lip and baked bars.  Usually I just add a little time and keep checking back (to me this is more palatable than scooping little balls onto multiple sheets, repeat, repeat, repeat…)  I’m not sure why, but I think these bars took about 45 minutes to finally finish.  I reset that timer for 5 more minutes so many times I lost count…

I like bars also because they can be cut into small little rectangles that I freeze and place into my three kiddo’s echo-friendly containers for lunch at school.  Healthy foods are the foundation of my meal planning, yes.  But everyone wants a little something sweet after their veggies and I like to be able to control the ingredients.  “Breaking the rules” is part of living a balanced life and this way I can use real foods!

So, it’s up to you, follow the Pioneer Woman’s making instructions for cookies (predictable) or go crazy and make bars (for who knows how long) like me.  Either way please be careful.  The crumbs you see in my hand, above, are the only morsels I’m allowing myself to eat (today.)  The rest of the bars are frozen and out of sight.  Dangerous I tell ‘ya.

Pioneer Woman Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients: 1 cup salted butter (softened), 2 cups packed dark brown sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups flower, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 3 cups old fashioned oats

Michelle’s Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Throw everything in a bowl and mix. Place balls onto cookie sheet for 12 0r so minutes if you want cookies.  Put the whole lot on the sheet and bake for, uh… a 45 minutes…? if you want delectable bars.

Ree’s Directions: check out the Pioneer Woman blog.  She takes her baking more seriously than I (everyone does) and follows a more methodical step-by-step type situation.  If you’re more like Ree we can still be friends!

Personal message to Ree which she’ll never even see: Thanks girlfriend!  I needed that!

Patience is a Virtue

AKA: why Michelle’ will never create something like you see here.

cookie
(AKA: Ndidiamaka don’t even challenge me, girlfriend!)

Homemade cookies.  Who doesn’t like’m?  And I wouldn’t mind making them either, if only there wasn’t all that measuring and accuracy involved.  And then all that scooping and same-size-making-strategically-placing-to bake evenly type situation going on.  Man does that get in the way of my happy kitchen vibe.

Lucky for me I’m from Minnesota.  I’ve decided that I must not be the only woman from my neck of the woods who has an aversion to the precision involved in good baking.

In the Midwest we make cookie bars, or just “bars” as they’re referred to at potluck gatherings and bake sales.

The premise is basically as follows: take the cookie dough and heave it onto a cookie sheet with an edge.

heave

Press it out till it’s evenly spread.

spread

How deep?  How should I know!?  The whole point here is that we’re cutting corners, thus, I shall not be bothered with details.  (OK though, If I had to give a number I’d say about a 1/2 inch or so–but don’t tell anyone I said that.)

There are actual recipes designed for baking bars (aka: I’m not making this up), but it is possible to wing it.  If your baking time is calculated for cookies, I would add about 50% onto the total and check what you’ve got.  So, if you’re taking a chocolate chip cookie recipe that bakes for 8-10 minutes and morphing it into a chocolate chip cookie bar recipe, you should set your timer for about 14-15 minutes and check.  Depending on how deep you’ve made your bars or what recipe you’re using, it could take up to double the baking time.

Don’t worry though.  The first time you make bars this way, you may have to check back once or twice.  But then you can just make a note of the new “bar” time and you’re set for the next time ’round.

Mix.  Heave-spread-press.  Bake.  Done.

I make cookie bars for my family’s lunches.  Everyone likes a little something sweet after lunch, and this way I control the portions and know exactly what’s in there.  No hydrogenated or multisylabic ingredients that can technically be consumed but are not, necessarily, food.  And of course there’s the added bonus that mommy doesn’t get all irritated while making them.  Yeah team!

I can cut these little honeys into 2 or so inch squares and freeze them for a couple of weeks of post-lunch treats.

Patience may be a virtue, but cutting corners is where it’s at.