Mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

For those who have spent any time with me, these cookies need no introduction. Elementary school classmates will remember them from bake sales and sleepovers. Childhood friends will remember baking them (and sneaking cookie dough) at my parents’ house. The same friends will remember, when we were in high school, eating two or three or four on afternoons at Ocean Beach. College friends in Boston shared the cookies when they arrived in care packages. And now I bake them, too, at least monthly. They have served as thank you’s, birthday presents, peace offerings, and potluck fodder. They are a chewy, chocolatey reminder of home, every time.

First they were Mom’s house cookie; now they are mine, too. We have found none better.

Let me tell you why. Have you ever felt that chocolate chip cookies are just bits of chocolate goodness buried in a broad, boring expanse of lackluster sugar cookie? I have. But not so with these. The oats and walnuts make the whole cookie chewy, interesting, and worthwhile. Freezing them before baking adds to the texture, preventing the cookie from flattening out into a puddle in the oven. The vanilla is present. And there is no shortage of chocolate. (Really, why do raisins usually get the oatmeal treatment?)

If you’re looking for a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe (or even if you’re not), try these.

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Mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (makes enough for about four baking sheets’ worth of cookies)
Originally published, somewhere, as “Barbara’s chocolate oatmeal cookies.” But since Mom clipped the recipe from a newspaper sometime in the 1980s–i.e., pre-Internet–it has been impossible to locate the original source.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1+ cups chopped walnuts
12 to 14 ounces chocolate chips

Instructions
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the two sugars, then beat in the eggs thoroughly. Add the hot water and vanilla and mix well, then add flour, soda and salt, beating until smooth. Stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate chips. (Don’t have an electric mixer? I’ve mixed the sugar and butter with my hands, a pastry cutter, and so on.)

Divide the dough into two batches, wrap one and place it in the freezer to be baked another time; wrap the other and place it in the freezer to chill until it is firm enough for making drop cookies. (Don’t skip this step–even 30 minutes in the freezer really helps make these cookies what they are.) Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheets and bake in a 350F oven until a delicate brown- about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not let the cookies get too brown.

Note: This recipe makes enough to keep half of the dough in the freezer. This can be great: my working mom and now I are able to make cookies on the fly for dinner parties or, you know, because it’s 3pm/9pm and we want cookies. But with great power comes great responsibility. This dough is criminally good, so refraining from polishing it off straight out of the freezer can be challenging. Good luck.

 

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