Ever since I can remember, I have enjoyed being in the kitchen. My mom is the one who got me started, always letting me help in the kitchen when she was cooking. I would carefully stir, cautiously pour in ingredients that were magically pre-measured, taste test everything, and grin from ear to ear when someone said he liked the food, because I had stirred, poured, tested.
Recently, I came across my first ever cookbook. It was filled with recipes that any child could master on her own – as simple as “Perfect S’mores” and as quirky as “Squirrel Sandwiches.” I remember flipping through those pages often, finding my favorite recipes, coloring the black and white pictures, and using the provided stickers to “rate each recipe.”
As I flipped through the pages, I came across a section in the book with blank recipe cards – and the first recipe I have ever written. I called my creation “Treat Pizza” and even though it was nothing more than bread with a few sweet toppings, I pretended it was the best tasting thing ever. I’m sure my parents pretended so too.
Eventually I began to use more complicated recipes to bake cookies, brownies, and sweets of those sorts, but I always seemed to stick to the recipes. I wasn’t as imaginative as the girl I was a few years back, and I just wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. And that meant following every ingredient and every step exactly as the recipe called.
It wasn’t until these cookies that I began to experiment a bit. I wanted to make oatmeal cookies, but at the time I despised the little shriveled up raisins most oatmeal cookies have tucked inside. I thought they looked and tasted like poo. However, there was no way I was making plain oatmeal cookies, as that was just not perfect either. So instead, I did what I had to do, I added chocolate. And then I couldn’t stop, I had to add extra spices too, then make them bigger than the wimpy teaspoon size the recipe called for.
These cookies were a turning point for me and my approach to food. It was no longer all about exactness, but about putting my own flair into what I make. It’s about being myself in the kitchen, not mimicking Betty Crocker. It’s about trial and error, with lots of love and sharing in between.
I like to call this recipe Dad Cookies, because my dad is always the one to remind me to make these every once in awhile. They make the whole house smell inviting while they’re baking and come out with a perfectly imperfect look to them, just like cookies should. These oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy but crisp on the edges, with melty chocolate and a kick of cinnamon and nutmeg. They will call out your name, and then there’s no turning back.
Dad Cookies (Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Spice Cookies)
¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 t ground coffee
½ tsp salt
2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Optional Topping –
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsn brown sugar
2 tsp butter
½ tsp cinnamon
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars on high until light and fluffy. Mix in egg. In another small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, coffee grounds, and salt. Gradually add this to the butter mixture, beating until thoroughly combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
To make topping, combine sugars, butter, and cinnamon, working until all is incorporated.
Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Add a bit of the sugar topping to the tops and optionally the bottoms as well. Gently flatten the cookies a bit, then bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.