It’s Like Buttah: Moving, Baking and Battling

| January 17, 2011

Moving is hard. It is not like buttah, meaning smooth and easy. You know how there are optimistic people who say that certain things get easier the more you do them—like exercising or public speaking? Well, moving across the country, time and again, is not one of them.

I have this romantic notion of myself as some sort of a wayfarer who floats along effortlessly from town to town, bringing only myself and the essentials—like a yoga mat, Nalgene water bottle and samurai sword. But the reality is that I’m more like a crazy lady who brings random stuff, including papers—A LOT of papers of all sizes, from post-its to flipchart paper all scribbled in what appears to be Sanskrit.

An example of my random stuff: A balance ball, Peruvian wall hanging, envelopes and, oh, yes, flipchart paper.

This is how I move from place to place.

Now that I have found myself in the southwest again after a stint on the East Coast, Midwest and West Coast, I’m finally settling in to a space that I can call my own. Well, at least for a little while anyway. And for a moment, the rush and madness of moving, unpacking, furniture-buying and settling in have stilled.

Beautiful stillness at the Grand Canyon

So I decided to take advantage of this moment by de-flowering my new kitchen with a baking spree. Mind you, I’m not a baker (or a candlestick maker, sorry I couldn’t resist the rhyme). But I do love to eat baked treats and find a sense of inner peace in making them. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s actually very stressful for me to bake—I constantly worry about things like making sure all the ingredients are in and in the exact amount, mixing versus folding, and I often find myself substituting ingredients, which my fiancée loathes. “But it’s healthier to use applesauce instead of butter,” I tell him, while he shakes his head and then punishes my effort to keep him heart-attack free by not touching the vegan-flourless-carob-wheatgrass-cardboard cake I’ve presented to him.

The Quaker Oatmeal man! This box reminds me of my childhood.

Yes, there are many debates on what is healthy and what is not, and loads of opinions on what tastes good and what doesn’t. Personally, I love my family’s alternative recipes that call for things like quinoa or sesame flour, agave nectar or maple syrup and applesauces and veggie purees in lieu of butter. But every once in a while, like my dear Buttah-man, I like something made just the way the recipe calls for it—butter, white flour, sugar and all—such as found in oatmeal cookies.

Mixing together the Crumbs version dough

There is something really comforting about a good oatmeal cookie, not to mention you kinda feel a teensy bit healthier by eating one. However, I could not decide just which oatmeal cookie to make. So I opted to try three different versions and to let the old Buttah-head be the judge of which cookie he preferred. Would it be the Crumbs version, perfected by Mia Bauer and her New York-originated bakery specializing in cupcakes? Would it be the Jessica Seinfeld Double Delicious cookbook version—a healthier alternative? Or the Quaker Oats recipe I remember from my childhood?

Quaker Oats version dough--wonderful and classic

After a couple hours of mixing AND folding, a few mistakes like making huge batches or adding too much salt since I’m terrible at eyeballing, I cranked out batch after batch on my two little cookie sheets.

Double Delicious version ready for the oven

What resulted was a taste test battle. (Drum roll please). All three versions were yummy, but Buttah-beard loved the Crumbs version and I loved the Double Delicious version: The Crumbs cookie is buttery and has a nice crunch to it, but can be somewhat soft at the center, making it perfect for butter-loving cookie enthusiasts. For me, the healthier alternative cookie was tastier, not because it was healthier with only 5 grams of fat per cookie, but because it was moist. And of course, because it involved chocolate chips. The moisture is due to the puree—Jessica’s recipe called for a sweet potato puree, but since I had pumpkin puree available, I used that, and it was awesome!

Crumbs oatmeal cookies: Big and buttery

Double Delicious/JS cookie: Moist, chocolatey and lowfat

Quaker Oats Vanishing cookies: A tasty, salty crunch and childhood favorite

Butter or not, if you are battling different versions of your favorite cookie, we’d love to hear about it! Which one did you pick and why? And by the way, Happy New Year! Wishing you much butter (in moderation), buttah and health in the New Year!

All three versions ready for eating. Mmmmmm!

Crumbs Oatmeal Cookie (Rise and Shine Oatmeal Cookies—by Mia Bauer, Crumbs Bake Shop in a Box, The Recipe Studio Publishers, 2008)

Ingredients:

3 cups of oats
1 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup butter (room temp)
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease cookie sheets
  3. Mix oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  4. Cream butter, white and brown sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla in mixer
  5. Fold in dry ingredients and raisins gently
  6. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop mixture onto cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 14-15 minutes
  8. Remove and cool

Double Delicious (Jessica Seinfeld version, slightly modified—Double Delicious: Good, simple food for busy, complicated lives, William Morrow Publishers, 2010)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups oats
1 cup white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup raisins
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp canola oil
½ up light brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolates

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray
  2. Mix oats, flour, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  3. In another bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix oil into the brown sugar until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree, egg whites and vanilla. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Add the flour mixture in, stir until a thick dough forms. Drop the dough by tablespoonful onto the cookie sheets
  5. Bake the cookies until brown around the edges or for about 12-15 minutes

Quaker Oats recipe (Vanishing Oatmeal Raising Cookies—taken right off the box top)

Ingredients:

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats
1 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
  5. Add oats and raisins; mix well
  6. Drop dough using rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden light brown.

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Category: Dessert, Featured Articles: Travel & Culture, Recipe Vault, Travel & Culture, US & Canada

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Comments (8)

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  1. How fun to taste all three side by side 🙂 They all look scrumptious!

  2. Kat says:

    Looking delicious! Coming from Ireland, I love oatmeal cookies 🙂 My favorite oatmeal mix comes in the shape of flapjacks.

  3. Patty says:

    Oh, Liz, you CRACK ME UP! This post was brilliant…baker? Candlestick maker? LOL! That is why we are kindred spirits. Also, nice shout out to your ‘moving crew’…Nice….

    I have never been a huge fan of oatmeal cookies, but my dad ADORES them and so does a very good friend. Will try the butter recipe you’ve got going here and see what they say. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Gera says:

    Baked heaven!! Adore oatmeal cookies and all those pictures are really making me hungry – shame on you 😉

    Cheers,

    Gera

  5. Simply Life says:

    hope the move went well – these cookies definitely can bring the sense of home anywhere you are!

  6. Wendy says:

    Thanks for sharing all of those oatmeal cookie recipes. I just love oatmeal cookies! YUM! Thanks for linking up to Tip Day Thursday.

    Wendy
    Around My Family Table