E and I went along to a family picnic at the zoo for my nieces’ birthdays last weekend. It felt like summer as we sat on rugs on the lawn under the shade of trees to keep out of the hot sun and the flies swarmed to join the picnic. As usual there was an abundance of food: roast chicken, falafel, bread rolls, crudités and dips, asparagus, chocolate cake and fruit. My contribution was to take along some choc chip oatmeal cookies.
I’d made cookies the previous day with a recipe from Gwen Steege’s The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. I’d had a yen to bake for the first time in ages and as usual, the recipes made so many that it felt like we were drowning in cookies. So I took a swag along to the picnic, filled a biscuit barrel and put another swag of them in the freezer.
Although, this cookbook is filled with fascinating versions of the classic recipe, I decided to use a fairly plain recipe and resisted temptation to add all sorts of flavourings/textures. They were straightforward, except when they came out of the oven and as usual filled my wire racks to overflowing. I began to move them to make room for the next tray of cookies and burnt my fingers on the molten hot chocolate chips – it had been a while since I baked!
After lunch, my family set off to explore the zoo. As someone commented, it was like the army on the move. We saw the restless tiger, the elephants being washed and scrubbed, the butterflies landing on my dad’s hat, the koala climbing the tree, the languid kangaroos and the wombat lying on his back. But my favourite animal is the graceful giraffe. I still am dreaming of the day I get my own pet giraffe – I am sure he would love to nibble on my choc chip cookies! The zoo is full of fascinating facts – the best one we heard was that the cuddly wombat (E’s favourite) has a deadly hard bottom that he uses to squash his enemies.
Choc Oatmeal Cookies
(adapted from Gramma’s Choco-o-Chips Cookies in The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie)
250g butter or margarine
1 cup castor or raw sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
2 cups plain flour (more or less)
2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
Mix butter, sugars, salt, baking soda, eggs and vanilla. Add oats and flour (she says this makes a stiff dough so I increased the 1⅓ cups flour to 2 cups because it was very soft). Add chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and drop spoonfuls onto it. Bake at 375ºF for 8-14 minutes. I made 72 cookies (but the recipe says it yields 4 dozen).
On the Stereo:
American Beauty: Grateful Dead