26 January 2010

A synonym for health

One year zipped past, but I haven’t got any cleverer than I was in the january of 2009 when I, just like now, went to Russia wearing a flimsy woolen coat, hoping that it would solely protect me against perky way-below-zero frosts and merry snowfalls.

Oh silly, silly me!

Up there is a preamble to say that last fourteen days I spent in tight embrace of a nasty cold and its bosom friend -- misery. Not too much of a good time, you understand. Especially so, when more than ever do I now need my brains crystal clear. The whole January I have been tackling a task that requires a condition of an undiluted mental concentration on my part – I had to write three academic essays before February dawns. But no, the universe thought I’d have a time of my life penning those with my mind in thick haze and my nose dripping like a leaking faucet (sorry!). It was no fun, is what I want to say.

So with all that freezing, sneezing, shivering and coughing, I found myself obsessively hankering for oatmeal raisin cookies too. Isn’t oats a synonym for health? See?

Could there be anything easier on earth than to make oatmeal raisin cookies? You only need to schlep-schlep-schlep in the kitchen to cream some butter with some sugar; to beat in some egg; to fold in some flour, oats and raisins; and to mix all that well to form the cookie dough which you’d then scoop out onto the baking dish and send into the oven for fifteen minutes. Simple?

Not so.

The problem is that I chose the wrong recipe which, as I learnt, is better suited for a dustbin than for anything else. It was no fun to make oatmeal cookies that would look as bad as I felt. It wasn’t oatmeal raisin cookies. It was oatmeal raisin spookies. I even can’t call it that, because there was so little oatmeal in the dough that the only place where you could find some was in the recipe’s title.

Terrified, but not defeated, I took the recipe and tweaked it as I pleased, which included reducing the sugar level; upping the oats contents; swapping all—purpose flour for oat flour (we are talking health here, no?); and shaking a firm no to the original instruction to add water to the flour. It took me three batches in total to bring these poor souls to their normal cozy, pretty selves: chewy in the pale center, crisp around the slightly tanned edges, sweet enough to please but not to cloy, and most importantly, cold- and stress-eliminating. And isn’t it what we want from a cookie?

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Yuliya Vysotskaya, a russian cookbook author

Yields 8-10

100gr (1/2 cup) butter, softened
100 gr (½ cup) light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 medium egg, at room temperature
100 gr oat flour (which you can easily make by grinding oat flakes in a coffee grinder)
100 gr (3/4 cup) raisins
70 gr (1 cup) quick oats (not steel cut!)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl – you will only need one bowl for this recipe; isn’t it sweet? -- beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars; keep beating until fluffy. Beat in the egg.

3. Sift in the oat flour; stir. Fold in the raisins and oats and mix well. The dough will be sticky.

4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 mins; the cookies should be golden brown at the edges and pale in the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Upon exiting the oven, the cookies will be somewhat soft until fully cooled.


OS said...

Toothaches and runny noses - two things that can lead one to madness, and a willingness to take desperate measures.

My solution of last resort, which might be of questionable medical safety, is to dissolve some Vicks Vaporub in boiling water, covering my head with a towel and inhaling the vapors.

It numbs and scrambles your brain for a couple of minutes, but it's the equivalent of initiating a "shock and awe" strike on your sinuses, rendering them unable to continue their crusade of mucous warfare.

I'm sure the cookies would help you feel better after experiencing the trauma though.

... and here I am lamenting how winter wasn't cold enough this year. We should switch places.

Toni said...

Yes, Anya,that is what we want from a cookie. And you are hysterical, even in your foggy-headed misery! The good news? It will pass and your immune system will be strong like tractor!

Tiina said...

I hope you are feeling better already. Those cookies look lovely!