Two of the most ubiquitous Christmas cookies in my family - butter and oatmeal - come from my paternal grandmother, Maw Maw. For many years, these oatmeal cookies have always been my favorite (although it's VERY close). These cookies are unlike any I've ever tasted - they are not your traditional chewy oatmeal cookie, although they can be made chewier by adding more oatmeal or raisins/nuts (or accidentally leaving out an ingredient - see below!) I just like them plain.
They are typically a crispier cookie, so sometimes I heat them for 2-5 seconds in the microwave and have them with a big glass of skim milk. This most recent time, they ended up chewy and soft on their own because I forgot the powdered sugar, but there's just something about them that sets them apart - maybe it's the thinness, or the fact that the edges taste almost like toffee - it's really just indescribable. It's amazing how taste and smell can retrieve memories, perhaps even better than any of our senses, and to me, these cookies taste like Christmas.
Since this is my favorite holiday recipe, I'm using it as my entry in Chelle's KitchenAid mixer giveaway!
For some reason, we always decorate them using these colored sprinkles. Occasionally you'll see them with red/green sprinkles, but that's pretty rare. Who knows!
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar***
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups flour
3 or 4 cups oatmeal (old-fashioned)
nuts or raisins (or both) to taste (optional)
***Note: this last time I made them (as pictured), I accidentally forgot the powdered sugar; HOWEVER, the cookies ended up being really chewy, rather than crispy, and they stayed that way - I think this was a serendipidous discovery! I told my mom and she said that Maw Maw always told her that the powdered sugar makes them crispy - she was right!
Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, cream the butter, eggs, and sugars until well combined. (Omit powdered sugar for a chewier cookie). Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
2. Sift together baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flour. Add to butter mixture until completely incorporated.
3. Add 3 cups of oatmeal to the mixture. If it is too gooey to work with, add more until it can be rolled into balls. Add the nuts or raisins if using.
4. Place small balls of dough on a slightly greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly before baking. Sprinkle with decorations, if desired. Make sure to leave enough space between cookies as they spread quite a bit. If you omit the powdered sugar, leave even more space!
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will spread and be flat and crispy (adding more oatmeal and raisins/nuts will make them thicker and chewier). Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack immediately or they will stick.