Feeling your oats? Then you’ll like today’s food holiday. March 18 is National Oatmeal Cookie Day!
Oddly, April 30 is also designated as National Oatmeal Cookie Day on some calendars. Turns out oatmeal cookies are honored on both days. We’d rather not celebrate the same food twice, and April 30 is also dedicated to raisins, so oatmeal cookies are on the menu today.
Not very long ago, oats weren’t considered fit for human consumption. They were seen as food for horses. Kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, Loch Ness Monster-harboring Scots were the first to incorporate oats into their own diets. In a friendly little bit o’ UK rivalry, the English used to say, “A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” The Scots fired back,“England is noted for the excellence of her horses; Scotland for the excellence of her men.” This was proven true on the battlefield: when Rome invaded England they had no trouble dispatching the British army, but Scottish soldiers – who were fond of carrying around oatcakes for nourishment – put up a real fight. Lest you think that’s a coincidence, health studies show that a diet consisting of oats lowers cholesterol and contains large amounts of fiber, vitamin E, selenium, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, and protein. Oats are good for you (though you may set off an airport metal detector if you consume too many pre-flight). Oatcakes were more like a pancake back then, but eventually evolved into cookies in the 19th century. The first known recipe for oatmeal cookies appears in Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Boston Cooking School cookbook.
Raisins are a common ingredient in oatmeal cookies, but Tara uses Craisins instead. Plus white chocolate. She whipped us up a batch this evening, and my mouth was watering while they were still baking in the oven. I love these cookies! Here’s the recipe:
3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375 F and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Meanwhile, combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat until well blended. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in Craisins/white chocolate chips. Drop 2 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes.