Dear Lord: The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done. -Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)
For the past two months, I've been a member of Foodie Pen Pals, and I honestly can't say enough good things about this program. It's well organized and the participants are really enthusiastic; you find out your match on the 5th of the month and have 10 days to get everything together and to mail out the package. Then, on the last day of the month (for example, today; I still can't believe that May is basically over!), you get to "reveal" the contents to the Foodie Pen Pal community. It's a lot of fun to figure out what to send to your pen pal and even more fun to receive your box and sample all the good things inside. Really, it's kind of like a game show, but fortunately the kind on which everybody gets to go home with an exciting prize.
When I opened the box my foodie pen pal, Amanda, sent me this past month, I was thrilled to discover the recipe for White Chocolate Chip Craisin Oatmeal Cookies inside. And things didn't stop with the recipe, either; it turned out that Amanda had also measured out all the ingredients for me (minus the butter and eggs, of course) in two separate, ready-to-pour bags. In short, a triple treat: the joy of receiving mail, the excitement of a new recipe and the pleasure of getting to bake the cookies myself...and to eat a few while they were still warm and gooey.
If that wasn't enough (and it really felt like it was), there were a few other exciting things in the box: iced coffee packets, instant oatmeal in tantalizing flavors like blueberry muffin and dark chocolate, as well as a tangy strawberry fruit peel and hot chocolate mix.
Best of all, when I wrote to thank Amanda, I asked her if I could share the cookie recipe with you all. Since she doesn't have a blog herself (she's a reader though, which is how she found out about the program), she was more than happy to share the measurements of the dry ingredients. I baked the cookies this afternoon after a busy day of running around campus and an even busier few days of hiking in Lake Tahoe (more to come on that front later), and let me just say that it was wonderful to have a kind of "ready cookie mix." It's been years since I've baked anything from a box (once you realize how easy it is to go beyond the box, there's no reason to go back!), but the appeal of just having to pour and mix in the wet ingredients came rushing back to me. It was nice to know, however, that, instead of a machine, a living, breathing human had thoughtfully done the work for me. And the cookies themselves are wonderful; it's not a recipe I would have thought to make myself since I've always preferred both milk and dark chocolate to white, but the sweetness of white chocolate sets off the tartness of the dried cranberries perfectly. Plus, the addition of oats and nutmeg gave the cookies the kind of texture and mildly spiced flavor that I like. I'm somewhat sad that, due to my summer travel plans, I'm not going to be taking part in Foodie Pen Pals in June or July, but, so as to allow this box to keep on giving, I've put some of these cookies in the freezer--for either a rainy day or a midnight snack for my eventual jet lag.
Amanda's White Chocolate Craisin Oatmeal Cookies
Yields about 3 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
6 oz. (3/4 cup) dried cranberries
-Preheat oven to 375 F.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
-Using an electric or a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
-Add eggs and mix well.
-Add the flour and oat mixture into the wet ingredients in increments, waiting until the dry mixture is fully incorporated before adding more.
-Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
-Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
-Cool on wire rack.