All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homage to Sheila: oatmeal raisin cookies

Such a sad day when I learned of Sheila Lukins death. Her first cookbook, The Silver Palate Cookbook, became one of the bibles in my kitchen, and I will always be grateful to her, and Julee Rosso, for their inspired cooking.

My children will remember the cookies: the infinitely variable chocolate-chip, the moist and chewy oatmeal-raisin, the meltingly tender Linzer Hearts. But the cookbook was so much more. It brought fresh, herby lushness to even beginner cooks. The recipes always worked, and always tasted delicious. I've given it to everyone from college bound students who have never cooked, to young marrieds, to bewildered suddenly solos. Just read the chapters: finger food, crudites, savoury meats, baking in foil, pasta perfect, sunday night soups, catch of the day, the charcuterie board, cheese & breads, the brunch bunch, significant salads, essentially chocolate, and on and on. The only wish I had for the book was a sturdier spine ; when I bought a new edition in 2007, the pages began falling out almost immediately.

When I briefly ran the kitchen in a Carmelite monastery, what was the only cookbook on the shelf there? Yes, it was Silver Palate . When the new chef took over, I remember several monks cornering me in the kitchen and pleading with me to deliver their beloved oatmeal cookies and lemon cakes on the sly.

Here are those Oatmeal Cookies:
(from The Silver Palate Cookbook)

12 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 extra large egg
2 T. water
1 t. vanilla
2/3 cup King Arthur flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
3 cups Quaker rolled oats ( they specified quick cooking oats, but I prefer the rolled oats)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line two baking sheets with foil.

Cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy.
Add the egg and beat.
Mix in the water and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and mix in.
Add the oats and raisins and mix well.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cookie batter onto sheets, 6 to a sheet ( this should make between 10-12 giant cookies)
Gently press down on each scoop of batter to slightly flatten.
Bake sheets one at a time, for 17 minutes each.
Remove to cool.

Enjoy - and a final loving wave to Sheila.

16 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

A lovely tribute!! I just found out also..I remember loving Florida even more when Parade had her in that section at Thanksgiving when we visited..
Icons..both of them..I love my book too..thanks for singling this out.~

katrina said...

Thank you, Nana! Sheila ( who followed Julia in Parade, though I don't remember Julia writing for it) brought fresh, tasty cooking to millions of those Parade readers, I'm sure.
Icons, indeed, and we are richer for them.

kellypea said...

Craving weather cool enough to bake cookies, and remembering fondly my first experience baking from Sheila's fabulous cookbooks.

katrina said...

Ah, Kelly - it's been perfect here - cool in the mornings, slowly warming up to sunshine. As you say, perfect for baking. That first book, especially, was such a bombshell, wasn't it? Still love it, still find inspiration in there.

Karina Allrich said...

Lovely- I have a spattered and dog-eared copy of the Silver Palate cookbook. I haven't cooked from it in years. The oatmeal cookies sound wonderful.

katrina said...

Hi Karina - I'm on my second copy of the original Silver Palate book, and I do use it quite a lot - often when I have some memory of a recipe and can't remember it all - or just for pleasure. As a lot of foodies do, I tend to read cookbooks at night like a good detective story:) It's held up very well considering its age.

Sophie said...

Your cookies look awesomely delicous!!

How can you fail with this yummie recipe?

katrina said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sophie! And it's not totally fail-proof - many is the time I've softened the butter too much, or the cookies spread instead of plumping up so nicely - but that's the mystery of baking, isn't it?

lululu said...

hi, katrina, thx for stopping by my blog!
i love oatmeal and raisin and cookies! totally irresistible!
your blog pix is so adorable. is she your kid?

katrina said...

Good to meet you, Fanny - and no, that's a picture of ME at 4 years old!
I think you'll love these cookies!

The Gourmet On A Diet said...

Those look AMAZING. I've seen so many good cookie recipes today and I want to make them all!

Becky Cawley said...

I made this recipe today and questioned from the outset the quantity of flour called for. I decided to let the formed cookies "firm up" in the refrigerator, something I commonly do with chocolate chip cookies. When I did bake the cookies I ended up with flat somewhat gelatinous looking wafers sitting in pools of butter. I've baked lots and lots of cookies and I've never had this happen. Is the listed amount of flour accurate? 2/3 cup of King Arthur seems pretty scant. More recent iterations of this recipe call for decidedly different proportions of flour butter and eggs. I'd try the newer recipes BUT I'm not crazy about the idea of using the Silver Palate brand oatmeal, particularly b/c the authors are silent on what a suitable substitute would be. A little too proprietary for my taste. Thanks.

Katrina said...

Strange, and sorry the recipe didn't work for you. I always use Quaker Oats when I make these, and have never had a problem, 3 cups of oats provide the starch, which is why the recipe calls for only 2/3 cup flour.

Becky Cawley said...

Thanks you for you response. By Quaker Oats, do you mean rolled oats of instant? I had some "quick cooking" steel cut oats on hand and used that. The dough set up well but the butter separated from the rest of the ingredients within 5 minutes of being in the over. I have made this recipe before many years ago and I can't remember what kind of oats I used. I assumed that the steel cut oats would lead to a crunchy cookie. Boy was I mistaken!! Thanks again for your quick response.

katrina said...

I always use Quaker Old Fashioned Oats - never the quick cooking. Was the butter room temp and soft? That could be the problem . Best of luck - my cookies are in the oven as I write this, so I do feel relieved the recipe still works (and there was no typo!). Best of luck, Becky!

katrina said...

Yes, that should be the Quaker rolled oats, also known as Old Fashioned oats.