All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

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 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.


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!