Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like many young girls, I had a dollhouse. Mine was a large, Victorian creation that was exactly the opposite of the flat, faux California-style house I actually inhabited in my New Jersey suburb.  My passion for collecting dollhouse accessories and making furniture for the small home seems strange in retrospect, since there are few adult duties I despise more than housework.  However, as a child you can't control your world, so it becomes strangely empowering to create a dresser drawer out of a stack of matchboxes.  (For my male readers of a certain age who are tempted to snigger at my tiny world, I respond: Star Wars figurines and GI Joe.  Need I say more?).

I loved stories like The Wind in the Willows about itty bitty animals living in teeny-weeny places, 'making do' with whatever they could scavenge.   I was fascinated with books about children who ran away from terrible circumstances, and lived alone in boxcars or even in museums. Some survived on hot dogs roasted over a fire and the berries they picked. From reading those types of prepubescent survival manuals, I learned that if you had to live on the pocket change you found on the ground, you should always get ice cream, because it has milk in it, and eat candy bars with nuts for protein.

Flickr: PetitPlat

Some things that seem cool as a child--using flashlights during a power outage, sleeping in a sleeping bag in someone else's room, and eating leftover cold pizza and Girl Scout cookies for dinner on the floor--begin to lose their charm as an adult.

As an adult, the idea of 'scraping by' and 'making do'  seems vastly less appealing.  I've matured into the type of person who tends not to get the new repairs for the house when she can't afford precisely what she wants, who doesn't buy new clothes if she can't find the perfect outfit.  And while I have stayed in youth hostels during all of the trips I have made as an adult abroad, finding a room with my own bathroom was a must.

These oatmeal cookies are in the spirit of my 'old self'--making do with what I had on hand. I was going to make oatmeal raisin cookies, but I had neither butter nor raisins.  So I Googled 'oatmeal raisin cookies with oil' and cobbled together this concoction.  I was actually surprised at how well they turned out and the good reviews they received.  Not only do they have no butter, but they also have very little flour. This gives the cookies the texture of chewy granola bars.  The kind of granola bars that your mother packed in your lunchbox as a kid, not the sort you find at health food stores.  Just the perfect cookie to make when you want to go camping in your backyard, or run away around the block with your plastic doctor's bag stuffed with Girl Scout cookies, granola bars, a Fisher Price flashlight and crayons.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (with oil, dairy-free)

--makes 24 cookies, adapted from All Recipes--

1/2 cup neutral-tasting oil (canola or vegetable)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large, beaten egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Mix oil, sugar, and eggs together. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Incorporate 'dry' mixture into 'wet' mixture. Then fold in oats, followed by the chocolate chips.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over-bake.  Cookies will still be slightly underdone when removed from the oven.


  1. I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. To this day, I can't look at a wishing fountain without thinking of it. Though if I were going to run away and wanted to live comfortably, I'd probably have chosen a good department store instead. A person could live quite well forever (or at least until the trespassing arrest) in a Nieman Marcus.

  2. @flurrious--I feel the same way about fountains! I often wish that the Metropolitan Museum would do a 'Frankweiler' day, giving kids a tour of the museum and letting them spend the night, just like Claudia and Jamie. I'm short enough to perhaps pass as a 8th grader, so I could tag along! I like the idea of a department store, but I think the ultimate 'hideout' would be Harrods in London, given the quality of the food court as well as the shopping.

  3. Are you trying to compare your little wussy doll house to my Castle Greyskull? I think not!.. hahaha *kidding* :)
    Book wise I was all about the Hardy Boys when I was a kid. So my imaginings typically manifested themselves as puzzles and mysteries needing to be solved, coupled with a good dose of Transformers and He-Man :).
    I am a person constantly at the whim of what is available, mostly due to laziness, which is why I'm now in love with Crisco and oil based cookies :). These sound fantastic, and the more "granola" texture sounds really good to me :).

  4. @Adam--haha--quite frequently, when my male friends came over to play, there would be a bloody 'death match' between Star Wars figurines, Matchbox cars, and my little doll family. And don't forget She-Ra, Princess of Power! The Hardy Boys were great, and I also loved the Happy Hollisters and The Secret Seven, which were a 'family' of crime-solving kids and a group of British friends dedicated to making the world safe. I am totally the same way about ingredients, and probably will continue to use up the oil before I decide to buy butter. Cheapness also plays into a factor with me...

  5. These look really good! And it's perfect b/c I just found out the neighbor is pregnant....I love trying out recipes for a 'purpose!"

  6. @The Blonde Duck--congrats to your neighbor! What fabulous news! And I love the idea of baking cookies to celebrate--a nice, old-fashioned gesture!

  7. I never had a doll house but always wanted one! I love these cookies. Oatmeal and chocolate chips are one of my favorite combinations!

  8. @Candy--oh no! Never had a dollhouse! I suppose we all have that 'one toy' (or more) we always wanted but were denied...for me it was the Easy Bake Oven and the Barbie Dream House...but I had other doll houses, so I was hardly deprived!