When I explained the theme of last week’s Spoon to my Book Loft co-worker, Heidi Honeyman, she stepped up to the plate.
She offered her son and Solvang Coffee Company’s popular barista Erik’s famous recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
Quicker than a flicker, I took her up on it, baked a batch and took them for a taste test. They are definitely cookies that should be in everyone’s repertoire, and Erik should be more famous than Amos.
I hit Heidi up for a little history.
“I loved having both my sons, Erik and Matthew, help in the kitchen and they both enjoyed learning how to cook,” she said. “Erik especially loved baking. He is a master at Christmas cookies and birthday cakes.”
She went on with the history of this week’s recipe, saying that in middle school he developed his own oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.
“I think he was inspired by both his grandmother's recipe and my 1970s “Joy of Cooking” cookbook,” she said, “but he changed them up and made his own version.”
By the way, Erik’s grandmother is everyone’s favorite librarian, Erma Honeyman Lawton, now retired and living in Santa Maria. He tailored the recipe to include his and her love for cinnamon.
Erik’s culinary creativity resulted in a cookie that’s simple to make. He came up with uniform measurements and it is easy to tailor via variations for any occasion and personal preference. Some changes have included swapping chocolate chips for raisins or dried cranberries.
The uniform measurements make this a kid-friendly recipe. Adding to the appeal of the ease of Erik’s recipe is that all measurements are either full or half, no thirds or fourths to fiddle with. Add in that you use an electric mixer, don’t have to sift the dry ingredients, and while Erik greases the cookie sheets, mom Heidi doesn’t. Easy, easy, easy.
Erik recommends a 1-inch-sized cookie scoop for uniform size, and baking on insulated cookie sheets.
So folks, with Erik’s as a lead-in, send me your favorites. Important to remember, there are no guidelines here. They don’t have to be simple. Maybe your favorite also calls for oatmeal, and we all know you can’t have too many oatmeal cookie recipes. Christmas or not, how about something ethnic? Danes are not the only ones who make great cookies.
And while you’re at it, share the recipe’s history as well as how and why it’s become a family favorite.
Erik's Famous Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ stick (½ c.) butter flavor Crisco
½ c. brown sugar, packed
½ c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk
1 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream Crisco and sugars, add egg, vanilla and milk and mix. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix. Stir in oatmeal, then stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at for about 9 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool briefly before removing from pan. Makes 2 dozen.
Here are some of my favorite oatmeal cookie add-ins. Try toasted nuts of any kind — I like walnuts the best — coconut and any dried fruit. I like to toss in fresh cranberries, because they swell up during baking, burst and allow juices to spread. The cranberries end up tart, sort of sweet and tender. Another interesting addition to any cookie is millet. This little round seed, usually found in bird seed mixes, doesn’t go soft during baking and adds an unexpected “pop” as well as a pleasantly nutty taste.