February 11, 2014

Moove aside, margarine...butter is better

Away Laura flew, still holding her piece of bread-and-butter. It's so delicious to have an excuse for eating out of doors, and besides, she loved having to arrange things; she always felt she could do it so much better than anybody else.
—"The Garden Party," Katherine Mansfield
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
As both of these passages indicate, butter is a wonderful companion when you're seeking a cozy and delightful time. I grew up eating margarine, not butter, on my bagels—Blue Bonnet, Imperial, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter...whatever brand was cheapest or on sale. It wasn't just cheaper than butter; people believed it was healthier, too.

This perhaps explains why I still enjoy its particular flavor, but since that whole nasty business of the trans fats has come to light, I've replaced it with butter, its original, more wholesome cousin—and I've discovered just how delicious it can be. Better late than never, right?

I don't like butter in my vegetables, but I do love it on my carbs. In particular, I enjoy it on a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel, or a slice of whole-grain toast. And who knows? Maybe someday I'll progress to more creative outlets like coffee.

For now, I'll stick with cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies, to be precise.

The best part about these cookies? Since they have oats in them, you can eat them for breakfast without feeling (quite as) guilty. :)

I've also had luck freezing the dough and baking it up whenever my inner Cookie Monster awakens. If you'd like to follow suit and freeze some of the dough for later use, feel free! Just follow the directions as written, but instead of dropping the tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet, place them on a plate or tray (making sure they're spaced out enough so that they don't touch one another) and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Then transfer to a resealable bag or container and freeze until you're ready to bake them.

Tasting notes: This cookie is cake-like, but satisfyingly chocolatey. Especially if you use high-quality chocolate like this one:

85% cocoa. Mmm. I found this brand at ALDI for a good price. I think it was about $2. Worth every penny. I broke it up into chunks for this recipe, but you can feel free to substitute chocolate chips if you like.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(adapted from Allrecipes)
Yield: 14-18 cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and stir until combined.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
Pour yourself a glass of milk and dive in!

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