Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grandpas are Nice*: Toasted Walnut Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

*Or what happens when you Google "oatmeal, butterscotch, walnut"

I have a thing for old men: grumpy, dirty, or otherwise. Butterscotch reminds me of them and, more specifically, grandfathers. I've been lucky enough to have 4, though I've only known 3 (my paternal grandfather died when Dad was 17, but that's a story for another time).

My maternal grandfather was a barrel-chested, tall, jolly sort. When not in the yard making slip-and-slides out of tarp and cinder blocks for his older grandchildren, he was in the woodshop making toys for the younger ones. Though he bore no physical resemblance to one, I will always associate him with the Muppets; he often fell asleep on the living room floor--feet up on the davenport--while watching Sesame Street. I used to do my homework in the kitchen; his snoring adding a little something to the sing-a-longs. I think he smelled like butterscotch.

Grandpa Bob, my stepmom's dad, was similarly jovial and kind. And better still, generous with the butterscotch candies he kept in his pants-pocket.

Dick married my paternal grandmother before I was born. He had a tough act to follow and though we always knew he was not our "real" grandfather, he surely acted the part: silly jokes, awkward tickles, stories about nothing. A kindly chap who liked a bit of cribbage and a bit of booze. Nothing wrong with that.

Toasted Walnut Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
*1 c all purp flour
*1 teas baking powder
*3/8 teas baking soda
*1/2 teas salt
*3/8 teas grated nutmeg
*Tiny pinch teaspoon allspice
*8 T butter, room temperature
*1/2 c brown sugar, packed
*1/4 c gran sugar
*1 egg
*1 1/4 teas vanilla
*3/4 c rolled oats
*1 c butterscotch chips
*1/3 c chopped walnuts, toasted and cooled
*1/2 c coconut

*I doubled the recipe and added toasted coconut. To toast the walnuts and coconut, set oven to 400F. Spread walnuts and coconut on pan with 1+" sides. Bake for 5 minutes, check, stir, etc. You want the coconut brown, but not too dark. Let cool before adding to cookie dough.

-Preheat oven to 375F.
-In small-medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and allspice.
-In mixing bowl, beat butter on HIGH 'til smooth. Add brown sugar, beat until incorporated before adding granulated sugar. Beat 'til combined. Add egg, then vanilla.
-Add the flour in two additions, beating on LOW-MED each time, until combined. Scrape the bowl with spatula.
-Add oats, then butterscotch chips, and toasted walnuts and coconut.

-Drop on cookie sheet, 3" apart.
-Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until brown on the edges.

The finished cookie, both salty and sweet, was washed down with a glass of milk. It was almost as good as the best awkward tickle/hug my grandpas ever gave me. Definitely as good as, or better than, a Werther's.

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