Yesterday morning saw me furiously working in the kitchen at 8:30 a.m. beginning to bake bread, including Monkey Bread for brunch. I measured and mixed and kneaded and covered my bowls with plastic wrap and set them aside to rise. And they just sat there. Worried that my yeast, which I keep in the freezer, was losing it’s effectiveness but suspicious that my kitchen was just damn cold, I put the oven in proof mode and sat two of the three bowls in there. That seemed to do the trick, and we only had to wait until 12:30 to eat. *sigh* Well, it’s called “brunch” for a reason, I suppose.
I also put a roast in the crock pot; when that was ready, I made some beef gravy from the drippings in the crock and we had that with homemade egg noodles (I love the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid mixer) and some sort of green vegetable…I think. I’m reasonably sure there was something green on our plates that Beloved and I ate because it was there and The Young One ignored because it was, well, green. In a couple of days we’ll reheat that beef and gravy and have hot, open faced sandwiches for dinner because I’ve got all that bread hanging around the kitchen (two loaves of white and one loaf of cheddar) and because it sounds damn tasty.
I also baked the promised carrot cake for Beloved and fully intended to bake a batch oatmeal cookies as well, mostly for The Young One’s lunches. Oatmeal cookies are Beloved’s favorite but The Young One won’t turn his nose up at them, either. They are also pretty darn economical; they don’t require anything you don’t have in your kitchen already…and if you don’t have these very basic items, well, we’re just going to have to talk that one over. Really.
However, after baking Monkey Bread, 2 loaves of white bread, 1 loaf of cheddar bread, a carrot cake and making homemade egg noodles for dinner, I kind of pooped out. Oh, well, it’ll give me something to do tomorrow evening while I’m heating up the leftover beef and gravy for those hot, open-faced sandwiches.
This recipe is another one of my grandmother’s and has been handed down with all of the reverence of a fragile and valuable family heirloom. In many ways it is. You can add to it – raisins, nuts, butterscotch pieces, chocolate chips, or whatever strikes your fancy, but they are simply marvelous just plain. Note that the maximum cooking time is 12 minutes – not a minute longer! They may not look quite “done” but if you cook them any longer, they will become hard and crumbly as they cool. Also, use the shortening – butter will make the cookies spread too much and you’ll be left with hard oatmeal pancakes. Quick cooking oats are fine (although I use just regular rolled oats), but never use instant oatmeal for these.
makes about 3 dozen
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the water, egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until well mixed.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder then add to the wet ingredients in three additions, mixing well after each addition. With a large spoon or spatula, stir in the oats, then any additions, until well blended.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (I use a small ice cream scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2″ apart. Bake 10 – 12 minutes (no longer than 12!!), turning once midway during the cooking time so they will brown evenly.
Let them cool for 1 – 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack with a spatula to cool completely. These will keep several days in an airtight container.