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06 December 2010

The beginning of the Baking Season

I call it the Baking Season. It's the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas when I stock up on flour, sugars, and all the necessary items to bake, a lot. I make pies, rum cakes, cheesecake, but mostly I bake cookies. I will bake a cookie a day, especially in the 2 weeks before Christmas.. which means it started yesterday. I pulled out my tattered and well worn culinary school textbook "On Cooking, v.2" and found the recipe for "Spiced Oatmeal Cookies" with my little penciled in notes along side of it. The recipe had called for orange juice concentrate and I had made a note to use strong brewed chai tea instead, and to use all dark brown sugar instead of the standard white granulated. This is a really great cookie, and they keep and travel well too. And what a way to start off a dreary Sunday morning but with the magical smells of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg...with coffee brewing in the back ground!

The Recipe
Adapted from On Cooking 2nd Edition Recipe 32.37

2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 eggs
2 TB strong brewed chai tea
1 TB lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups oats, old fashioned
1 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. If you are having an issue with the brown sugar clumping, place it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it and it will incorporate into the shortening better. Add eggs, tea and lemon juice and beat until well incorporated and fluffy.
Blend flour and spices together in a separate bowl and add them in batches to the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and raisins. Portion the dough, walnut sized drops, onto parchment paper covered or lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Store in air tight container if they last longer than a day... 

Feels like you're right there, huh?

Since this is the first cookie of the "Baking Season" I will be reporting on more traditional Italian cookies too, like biscotti and pizzelles.. because I found my pizzelle iron. Took me 2 hours on a rainy day digging through all the boxes in my storage, but I found it. Enjoy these Spiced Oatmeal Cookies with a glass of milk or as breakfast with your coffee...

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