I believe there are certain times in one's life when cookies are required. One such time is when you miss someone you love, or that person is unwell and you want to give him or her a huge box of comfort. My grandma had a stroke recently, so she most certainly qualified for a gigantic box of home baked cookies on both counts. I had already been planning to make some cookies as a birthday gift for my best friend, so I decided to have a massive baking day to send them both some home baked hugs and cheer.
First on my baking list had to be some form of Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have a few favorite recipes I turn to for this quintessential and universally loved cookie, sometimes adding coffee for a mocha flavor, or peanut butter in place of some of the butter for a really rich nuttiness, or stirring in other crunchy bits such as dried cherries or walnuts. This time however, I stuck with a basic plain chocolate chip recipe I have made several times before, and just used really terrific chocolate, Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet baking chips. The recipe I used can be found here.
I also made a huge batch of my favorite Spice Cookies which are crispy on the outside like a gingersnap, and chewy on the inside. The scent of these cookies baking is so amazing! The dough is heavily laced with a mix of ginger, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As these bake, your whole house smells as if you live inside a gingerbread castle. I have the recipe posted here.
My stepmom has a really good Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe, so I made a batch of those as well. It was only after tossing in a huge handful of nuts that it occurred to me that my grandmother might not want nuts in her cookies. I tried to recall ever being served anything at her house that contained nuts, and while my head was filled with images of pound cakes, rice pudding, and lemon meringue pie, I could not recall a single treat my grandmother has ever made for me that contained nuts.
Then again, perhaps she thinks I dislike nuts, and therefore never made anything that contained them for me. I used to have a slew of so-called childhood food allergies, which included nuts, although to be very honest I ate them on the sly all the time and never once got sick. I knew full well why the doctor thought I was "allergic to nuts" - my great grandma and I had polished off two massive bags of family-sized peanut M&Ms in one day and that would make any kid sick.
Anyway .... I decided at the last minute to leave out the oatmeal cookies from my Grandma's box and only sent them to my best friend, who as it turns out loves nuts in his cookies but isn't terribly fond of raisins in them. /sigh
Luckily, I also tried out a new recipe for Lemon Crinkle Cookies that made up for the whole raisin-nut faux pas. Like the spice cookies, these were crispy and crinkly on the outside, chewy on the inside ... only these have a soft ribbon of delicious lemony goodness in the center that magically appears while baking. You can't quite see it well in the photo, but the outside is covered in glistening coarse white sugar. These were incredibly scrumptious and I really wished I had made a double batch.
Oh, and in case you were all wondering, my dad sent word that my grandmother is doing quite well. The women in my gene pool are a bit like rubber bands - we tend to bounce back from medical adversity really well. She made a full recovery after her stroke, and is back to her usual self, with no loss of any of the things you normally would associate with such a traumatic event. I know it would be quite romantic to think the cookies had some special powers, but actually she made this recovery before a single cookie had been baked.
And as for my best friend.. he loved the birthday cookies, even polishing off all of the oatmeal cookies, raisins and all.