OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE THROWDOWN + STATIONARY SWAP + 20,000 WEDNESDAYS

One of my best friend’s boyfriend loves oatmeal raisin cookies. He gave his stamp of approval for my version long ago and I have stayed loyal to it ever since. I saw a WSJ article last week with supposedly the ‘best’ oatmeal raisin cookies ever, so I thought ‘Why not?’ Challenge accepted. These are flatter than the Smitten Kitchen version that I usually make and they require you to soak the raisins first in hot water to plump them up. Both recipes recommend refrigerating the dough for a richer flavor and while I did not do the four days on these, I did refrigerate them for most of my Sunday while I was out and about running errands. I wanted this to be a fair taste test, so I refrigerated the dough for as long as I refrigerate my go to recipe. That and I needed to mail these to my friends sometime this year. Also, I think four days is a little much. Unless I made the dough and then someone happened to kidnap me for the week, the four day wait is not happening.

What’s the verdict? T Man says they are two very different cookies. So, you be the judge. I agree that my version is oatier and shaped more like a biscuit. If I had to choose, I’m a Smitten Kitchen fan all the way.

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The cookie taste test was prompted by my Labor Day mail-a-thon. In a perfect world, my day would consist of writing letters, mailing cookies, watching too much news, and baking. So, that is exactly what I did on my day off. One of my colleagues at the PR firm where I used to work introduced me to ‘stationary swaps.’ I still consider her a mentor and she left about the same time I did, which made leaving my job a little less painful. She worked at our main office in DC, so I loved every chance I got to go on client trips. She exposed me to a lot of great food on those trips – Seattle, Palo Alto, LA, and of course DC. It was always important to her to include me and also make sure I actually used my expense allowance on a nice meal before we flew home. I could make a meal on the overpriced banana at the airport and the Kind bars I packed in my suitcase. Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in LA and the W Hotel in Seattle are two of my favorite memories with her. People remember how you made them feel – Maya Angelou knew what was up!

On one of these trips we got to talking about how much we both love stationary, but we get tired of having a set of twenty of the exact same card. So, we do a periodic swap via mail! It is such a treat to get that envelope of random cards and postcards and the swap allows you to have a little bit of everything without having to buy a set of them. I sent a swap to my friend in Ohio and her boyfriend patiently waited for her to get home (expecting oatmeal raisins), only to be disappointed!

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Now onto the 20,000 Wednesdays. A lot of my friends have posted this article on Facebook and I couldn’t agree more with the author’s sentiments. You need to find someone that can turn the mundane into the exciting. The everyday into an adventure. My favorite part of the article is the ‘Traffic Test.’

“The Traffic Test is passed when I’m finishing up a hangout with someone and one of us is driving the other back home or back to their car, and I find myself rooting for traffic. That’s how much I’m enjoying the time with them.”

I always referred to this as ‘not wanting to remove them from the couch after a few hours.’ So, I had the couch test, but the traffic test is an even better analogy. I have only ever had one person in my life pass the couch test and while he is not still sitting on my couch and we parted ways due to a lot of issues out of my control that I will never post here (that’s why I have Winston – he’s a great listener), I learned a lot about myself in the process. It doesn’t diminish my worth a single, tiny, fraction of a bit. Reading this article reminded me that I have the characteristics to make it work. You have to want it to work and this applies to both people. I’ll end this rambling thought with the importance of loving yourself first. This is HUGE. The guy that dazzles me better love himself like there’s no tomorrow. Not in an egotistical way, but a healthy self love that allows them to be fully present.

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‘It’s Fall and Indy is gorgeous right now’ photos. I wore a vest to work, which means it kinda feels like September!

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The view of downtown from outside my office – it never gets old

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Mornings with Winston

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WSJ’S OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

Recipe via Melissa Weller of Sadelle’s, New York City

1 cup raisins
1¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1½ sticks slightly softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 egg
1½ teaspoons vanilla

Soak raisins in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Using an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in oats, followed by drained raisins, egg and vanilla.

Use an ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto a baking sheet. Flatten each blob with base of measuring cup. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for as long as you possibly can.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until cookies are golden-brown on the outside but still soft in the middle, about 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

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Plump those raisins up!

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Friends always ask me how I resist eating the entire batter before I get it into the oven: peanut butter, my friends. It is my go to snack. The celery is there as the scooper, but who am I kidding? Most of the time it’s the jar and a spoon.

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