Back in the dim past of my youth, cookies were almost always made with shortening or butter. When the health czars announced that oil was better for us than shortening, I came up with this cookie recipe that not only uses oil instead of shortening, but is also chock full of protein. The cookies keep well in a tightly covered container, but they hardly ever last long enough to be kept anywhere here at Earthsprings. Here’s the recipe, with some helpful hints thrown in for beginning cooks.
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 powdered milk (use a good brand; the cheap ones clump)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn oil, canola oil, or safflower oil (not olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ
Walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine and mix well brown sugar, powdered milk and salt.
Add oil, eggs, and vanilla flavoring, and beat on medium speed for about two minutes or until very smooth.
Add oatmeal and wheat germ and stir all together carefully. (If you use the mixer for this step, be careful: the mixer blade cuts the oatmeal smaller; if you just stir with a big spoon, the oatmeal is coarser, which you may or may not prefer; I just use the mixer blade very, very briefly, just to get it all mixed together but not to completely pulverize the oatmeal.) The mixture will be very stiff.
With a big spoon, stir in raisins and nuts; the amount can vary; use enough to make yourself happy.
Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet or onto the very handy parchment paper for baking placed on a cookie sheet. You’ll have to push the dough off the spoon; the dought is very thick. Be sure each cookie mound has some nuts and raisins in it. Don’t make the cookie mound too tall; these don’t melt down too much and you want the centers to cook well before the bottoms burn.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for ten to twelve minutes, or until the tops of the cookies begin to brown. Just how long to cook them is tricky. Do not overcook; the cookies will feel soft when removed from the pan (may even be hard to get off the pan without smooshing up), but they harden up some when they cool, so be careful to see that they are not gummy in the middle but don’t leave them in the oven until the bottoms burn (which is easy to do, depending on your own oven’s temperature). Usually I end up with some cookies that are well cooked but soft and some cookies that are crisp and crunchy, and both kinds seem to disappear with equal speed.
Cool the cookies before serving. These are great for breakfast when you are in a hurry or for a bedtime snack with a glass of milk. When I am preparing for a group of twenty people here at Earthsprings Retreat Center, I make four times this recipe and have none left after the weekend!