Archive for the ‘Oatmeal’ Category

Chock-Full Oatmeal Cookies

Thursday, January 31st, 2013


I couldn’t let National Oatmeal Month end without at least one oatmeal recipe. This is your basic oatmeal-raisin cookie with a few extra touches to make it even more satisfying. The coconut in particular adds to the cookies’ chewiness.

These cookies offer my conscience a perfect compromise. At this chilly time of year I long to bake, particularly for my nephew Michael. I am aware that sweet baked goods are not the healthiest thing to feed him … or anyone else. These cookies still contain sugar and fat, but they are also chock full of fruits, nuts, and grains that make them healthier than your average cookie. If you use the white whole-wheat flour, the cookies are even less guilt-inducing.

You’ll note that I suggest using either butter or shortening. They both have advantages. The shortening gives oatmeal cookies a remarkable light consistency. On the other hand, butter gives them added flavor. Use whichever you like—or whichever you have more of!

The Cookies


1/2 cup butter (at room temperature) or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour (you may use either all-purpose or King Arthur Flour white whole-wheat flour)
1-1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut, firmly packed
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional if you have a child like ours who thinks he doesn’t like nuts)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and/or shortening with the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. Stir in the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, followed by the flour—and then the oatmeal!

Gently stir in the raisins, coconut, and pecans (if you are using those). The batter will be fairly dense.

Drop the batter in smallish clumps onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. (You may line the sheets with a silicone mat if you like.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should JUST be beginning to brown. They are best not overcooked to ensure maximum chewiness.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Jody’s Homely Oatmeal Cookies

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Jody's cookiesweb

Last month I announced the beginning of my monthly “Twelve Cookies of Christmas” series and asked for cookie submissions from readers.
Jody Cothey of Hawley, Massachusetts (my hometown!), sent in this month’s “Two Turtle Doves” recipe, which she calls Havrekaker (I have also seen it spelled “Havrekakor.”)
The recipe is Norwegian. Jody first found it in a small book from the 1940s called A Grandmother for Christmas. She has been making the cookies since she was about 13.
Jody describes these oatmeal clumps as “homely but yummy.” They are indeed yummy, and they’re homely in both senses of the world: they’re a little plain, and they speak of home.
Jody’s home is Tregellys Fiber Farm. It’s on the other side of town from the Casa Tinky and looks as though it’s in a different country.
The hills outside my door are small and cozy; the ones outside Jody and her husband Ed’s home are dramatic—more like the Andes or the Himalayas than our humble Berkshires.
The Cotheys raise exotic (mostly) fiber-producing animals and have an abiding interest in India, Nepal, and Tibet. Ed weaves lovely rugs and blankets from the fleece. The pair sell his handiwork as well as fair-trade international handicrafts in a shop called Tregellys World in nearby Shelburne Falls.
When Jody isn’t taking care of yaks, Icelandic sheep, or Bactrian camels she writes poetry under her maiden name, Pamela Stewart. Her new book of poems, Ghost Farm, is due out later this year from Pleasure Boat Studio.
I don’t know how she finds time to bake, but I’m glad she does. It helps that these cookies are very, very easy. They hold together beautifully.
Jody says, “This is a fairly stiff mixture so have a strong wooden spoon and an adequate bowl, especially if doubling the recipe.” Ed, who is a big fan of the cookies, adds that they freeze well. (We didn’t have any left over to freeze!)
A Bactrian Camel (Courtesy of Tregellys Fiber Farm)

A Bactrian Camel on a Hawley Hill (Courtesy of Tregellys Fiber Farm)

1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 cups raw oatmeal
2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the oatmeal and flour; combine thoroughly.
Drop or scoop cookies of the desired size onto greased cookie sheets. Ideally, you will have about 2 dozen cookies, but if you want them bigger or smaller, go right ahead.
Just remember that bigger cookies will take a little longer to bake, and smaller ones may take a little less time. Jody says, “Mine are small…. usually cookie size is personal, like bra size.”
Bake the cookies until they are firm and begin to get brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Makes about 24 cookies.

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I’m Honored

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award2

Bloggers love a little recognition. So I was thrilled yesterday to learn that Mattenylou of the charming blog On Larch Lane has given me the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks, Mattenylou!
This award is designed to share news of fun blogs. Each recipient is asked to post seven interesting things about herself (or himself, of course) and to pass the award on to seven other bloggers.
Mattenylou very sweetly wrote to me saying that if I didn’t have time to post seven things about myself she would understand. Naturally, I responded that for an egotist like me the problem would be finding ONLY seven things to write about!
Things about Tinky (they may be of interest only to me, but here they are!):
1. Let’s start with guilty pleasures: I read category fiction. This means I love mysteries and even the occasional romance novel. (I have also been known to TiVo “Ghost Whisperer” on television; I can’t figure out why, but it’s there in my queue every week.)
2. I have had crushes on a number of movie stars, including the following (not in order): Matthew Broderick, Fred Astaire, and Walter Pidgeon. Also Walter Cronkite (maybe there’s something about the name Walter?)
3. There are days on which I would kill for a truffle.
4. I talk to my pets constantly. I am certain that they talk back.
5. When I’m really frazzled I take a walk in the woods.
6. I love my friends and my family. I wish more of them played bridge with me, however; I haven’t played bridge in years! And it’s my favorite team sport.
7. I would love to be better organized. Also rich and famous, but better organized actually comes first!
Seven of My Favorite Blogs
These were really hard to narrow down. I read and enjoy a LOT of blogs.
1. Commonweeder, which muses year round on gardens and community.
2. Food & Think from the Smithsonian, which mixes science, food, culture, and fun.
3. Walking Off the Big Apple, the thinking woman’s (and man’s) guide to New York.
4. History Hoydens, in which historical-romance writers talk about their research and their writing with wit and passion.
5. Sugar Apple, which blends Southern American and island cuisines to maximize color and flavor.
6. How Does Your Garden Grow, which concentrates on local eating and doable recipes in my native New England.
7. Today at Mary’s Farm, in which journalist Edie Clark shares insightful essays on country life.
Please take a look at them—and, if you like, leave a comment to tell me about some of YOUR favorite blogs. I’m always looking for new reading material.
Before I go I have to post a recipe since National Oatmeal Month is almost over and I HAVEN’T POSTED A SINGLE AVENACEOUS RECIPE this January!
This recipe comes from Jody Cothey. I’ll tell you more about her in my next post, which will feature another of her favorite foods.
For now I’ll just let you know that she and her husband Edward own Tregellys Fiber Farm in my hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts. They have a longstanding interest in Tibetan and Nepalese people and culture.
The Cotheys learned to make this oatmeal dish from Nepalese friends and eat it frequently at this time of year. In Nepal it’s sweetened with honey, but in Massachusetts the Cotheys (and I!) tweak it with a little maple syrup.
If you like bananas and oatmeal, try this combination. It is surprisingly silky in taste and texture.
Nepalese Porridge
1 cup milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 pinch salt
2/3 banana, cut into small pieces
maple syrup to taste
In a small saucepan combine the milk, oats, salt, and banana pieces. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the porridge reaches the consistency you like (for me this is about five minutes).
Serve with maple syrup. Serves 1 to 2, depending on appetite.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Frank Loesser composed the song “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” in 1947.
According to Susan Loesser’s biography of her father, A Most Remarkable Fella, the singer of the song is supposed to be asking the title question in the early spring, thinking ahead and hoping that a new relationship will last until December.
“It always annoyed my father when the song was sung during the holidays,” the composer’s daughter writes.
When a songwriter publishes a song and sends it out into the world, however, the song can be reinterpreted over and over again—and Frank Loesser has clearly lost the battle of New Year’s Eve.
His song perfectly epitomizes the mixture of reflection, hope, and sleepiness we feel as midnight looms on December 31. It’s a lovely piece—slightly jazzy and easy to sing because the melody makes the lyrics seem effortless, like conversation.
Maybe it’s much too early in the game.
Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same:
What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?
I’ll definitely be singing it tonight as part of a set Alice Parker and I are performing at the Charlemont Inn. And this afternoon as I vocalize I plan to make bannocks—at least, my version of bannocks.
Bannocks are one of the traditional Scottish foods associated with the celebration of Hogmanay. This Scottish New Year holiday begins on New Year’s Eve (sometimes even earlier) and extends into New Year’s Day (sometimes even later).
Hogmanay is a major festival in Scotland these days, not unlike July 14 in France. A Scottish website,, documents many of the contemporary celebrations and offers some history as well as an opportunity to sing “Auld Lang Syne” by following a bouncing ball.
According to Hogmanay lore, the New Year will be prosperous if a dark stranger is the first person to cross one’s threshold in the New Year. The stranger is supposed to bring a token gift, often a lump of coal to keep the fire warm. The homeowner reciprocates with refreshment.
A typical refreshment offered is a bannock, an oatmeal cake that according to varying accounts resembles a scone—or a pancake—or a cookie.
I’ve never tasted an authentic bannock, and I encourage readers with recipes to send them in! In the meantime, I’m baking my version of this treat, which is distinctly scone like.
I love the word “bannock.” It sounds solid and practical. My bannocks are also solid (although not hard!) and taste pleasantly of country life.
It’s unlikely that a dark and handsome stranger will cross my threshold at midnight.
Snow is predicted late this evening in Hawley, Massachusetts, and the town tends to be geriatric so any handsome stranger who actually makes it up my steep hill will probably be silver haired. But a girl can always hope.
If no stranger shows up, we’ll eat the bannocks for breakfast on New Year’s Day.
Happy New Year to all! I look forward to singing and cooking with you in 2010…
Thanks to Pru Berry for the impromptu photo!
Thanks to Pru Berry for the impromptu photo!
Tinky’s Inauthentic but Tasty Bannocks
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup blended oatmeal (put oats in your blender and pulverize them into a flour-like consistency; then measure out 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-1/2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
white sugar for the top of the bannocks
Preheat the oven to 325 and lightly grease two cookie sheets (or line them with silicone or parchment).
In a medium bowl combine the flour, oatmeals, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter; then stir in the raisins.
In a mixing cup whisk together 1/2 cup buttermilk, the egg, and the vanilla. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. If the batter won’t quite hold together, add a little more buttermilk.
Drop the bannock batter into 12 mounds on the prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle a little sugar on the top of each mound.
Bake the bannocks for 18 to 25 minutes, until they are brown on the edges. Let the bannocks cool on the cookie sheets for a minute or two before serving them warm. (If you can’t use them right away, reheat them briefly before serving; they’re best eaten quite fresh from the oven.)
Makes 12 bannocks.

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Maple-Oatmeal Bread

Monday, March 30th, 2009



I have one final entry for Massachusetts Maple Month. This is one of my favorite breads in the world—slightly sweet and filling. I always make a mess when I knead bread. How flour ends up on my face, I really don’t know! Luckily, the end product is worth the clean-up work. 




1 cup old-fashioned oats (do not use quick or steel cut)

2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon butter

1 packet (about 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (not instant)

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons salt

5-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (more or less)




Place the oats in a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over them, add the butter, and let the oatmeal stand for about 15 minutes, until it is lukewarm. After the first 10 minutes, place the yeast in a small bowl. Cover it with the lukewarm water. Allow it to bubble up for a few minutes.


When the oatmeal is lukewarm, stir in the maple syrup, the salt, the yeast with its water, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir vigorously; then add 2 cups more flour. Stir again vigorously for a minute or two; get as close to beating as you can with a mixture this heavy. Scoop up the dough (add a bit of flour if it won’t hold together to scoop), and place it on a kneading surface—a floured board or a silicone mat.


Knead the dough for 2 minutes, adding a little more flour to keep it from sticking to the surface and your hands. After those first 2 minutes, let the dough rest for up to 10 minutes; then resume kneading, adding more flour as needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth.


Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp dish towel. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk; this should take about 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. If your towel dries out during the rising, be sure to dampen it again.


Remove the covering from the bowl, and punch down on the dough once with your fist. This lets out a lot of the air. (It’s also fun.) Cut the dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Butter 2 bread pans, and shape each ball into an oval about the same size as your pans. Smooth the balls as well as you can with your hands.


Place the bread loaves in the buttered pans, and turn them over so that both the tops and the bottoms have touched the butter. Cover the pans with a damp towel as you did the rising bowl, and allow the loaves to rise again until they double in bulk. This should take a little less time than the first rising, perhaps an hour or so.


After 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves have finished rising, uncover them, and bake them for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they are a warm brown color and sound hollow when you tap on them. Remove the hot loaves from the pans, and let them cool on racks.


Makes 2 loaves.



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