Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chewy Oatmeal Cranberry-Raisin-Ginger Cookies

It was perfect weather for sleeping in this morning. There's something comforting about the sound of trickling rain on the window pane and the coolness of the air in the bedroom, while I'm tucked in warmly under my duvet. Rainy and damp weekends are a bummer for those who look forward to spending this time of leisure outside to gather with family and friends, to play sports, or to lazy around on a hammock. For a homebody like me, rainy days are often graciously welcomed to catch up with sleep and cooking. They're also wonderful occasions to take fabulous close-up photos of plants and flowers with rain droplets hanging from the tip of their leaves or petals. What more can a new photography and blogging enthusiast need more? It's interesting how gloomy days are perceived negatively by most, and is automatically tagged as a boring day, because there is nothing to do. What do you mean, nothing to do?! Even if we had a day planned ahead to do things outside, it's a great opportunity to catch up with stuff that our hectic schedules would seldom allow us to do. To name a few, there's reading, catching up with movies on DVD, experimenting with new cooking recipes, spending valuable time alone to reconnect with oneself, and my favorite, catch up with sleep!

My close friends and work colleagues know how much sleep is important to me. So much they know me that right before a weekend forecasted with showers for the entire two days, my colleagues will tease me and ask me with an ironic tone "Oh, look at that, they're announcing rain ALL weekend Q. So what are your plans for this weekend...?". It doesn't stop here. Same teasing happens as soon as I arrive at the office from a rainy weekend. I definitely built a reputation at work, that the teasing has become an inside joke between my colleagues and me. Others, who don't know me well, will go as far as believing that I have a sleep condition and start preaching me about going to have my condition checked out! It's hilarious. I love sleeping. period.

All this to say, that rainy days are great to do just about anything simple and soothing, like slowly sipping hot green tea infused with fresh ginger and nibbling on homemade chewy oatmeal cookies, at the comfort of my own home.
Recipe "au pif":
3/4 whole wheat flour
3/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
pinch of baking powder
5 cardamon seeds crushed
2 cloves crushed
2 sticks unsalted butter (or 1 stick butter and 5 tbsp margarine) softened at room temp.
1/2 cup raw sugar cane
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
1 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
1 cup dried cranberries (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
1 tbsp minced ginger mixed with 1 tbsp warm honey (or 1 tbsp ginger jam)

Preheat overn to 350F.

Oil two large cookie sheets or line them with waxed paper

With whisk or electric mixer, beat butter/margarine until creamy. Add sugar cane, eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, cardamon and cloves in a separate bowl.

Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add in rolled oats, raisins, cranberries, ginger and honey. With spatula, fold mixture until all ingredients are well blended.

With ice cream scooper, place cookie dough onto cookie sheets leaving at least 2 inches between each scoop.

Bake for 20-25 minutes,until edges of cookies are golden brown but center is light beige. Do not overbake them, otherwise cookies will not be soft and chewy.

Makes about 15-18 cookies.
The cardamon seeds and ginger make a huge difference in the flavours of this cookie.

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