One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies (Stranger Than Fiction) is when Ana (Maggie Gyllenhaal) tempts Harold (Will Ferrell) with a warm cookie.
Ana: After a really awful no-good day, didn’t your mama ever make you milk and cookies?
Harold: No. My mother didn’t bake. The only cookies I ever had were store bought.
Ana: Hm. Okay. Sit down.
Harold: No, I’m —
Ana: No. Sit down. Now — eat a cookie.
(She places a glass of milk and a plate with a cookie in front of Harold.)
Harold: I really can’t…
Ana: Mr. Crick, it was a really awful day. I know, I made sure of it. So pick up the cookie, dip it in the milk and eat it.
(Harold does so.)
Harold: Mmm. Oh. That’s a really really good cookie.
Here’s the thing though, a cookie isn’t just a cookie. A cookie, making cookies and giving someone a cookie, is an act of love.
It’s been a hard week for America and for Americans. Maybe you’re afraid or angry or hurt or sad. Maybe you’re feeling misunderstood or maybe you just can’t quite understand someone else.
Enjoy a soft, warm cookie just out of the oven. Smile.
Then, give some away. To your neighbor or co-workers or mail carrier or your kid’s teacher or your sister. Make someone else smile.
Do I think cookies will save the world or fix everything? No. But I do believe that love will. And cookies, in some small way, equal love.
I’ve made these cookies for my boyfriend, for a “Food Lovers Book Club” cookie exchange, for a complete stranger on the other side of the country, and (sans booze) for my little sister before finals. I’m going to continue making them – not only because they are amazing but because it feels really great to make someone smile.
Oh, and once it warms up outside, I’m going to sandwich some creamy vanilla ice cream between two of these cookies. Instant happiness!
Scotchy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Averie Cooks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp scotch
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour *
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice **
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
Flake sea salt
* Note: You can also use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour instead of 1/2 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.
** Note: You can omit if desired but it will lend a depth of flavor versus cinnamon alone.
Directions: Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg, vanilla, and scotch.
Add oats, flours, spices, and baking soda. Mix until just combined (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in chocolate chunks.
Form a dozen equal sized balls and flatten slightly on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle flake salt on each cookie. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or up to days). Don’t skip this step because your cookies will spread too much!
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Separate cookies between two cookie sheets. Bake 11 minutes for soft, chewy cookies. The cookies will firm up as they cool, so don’t worry if the center seems slightly under-baked. For crisper cookies, bake for 1-2 minutes longer. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet.
Note: Unbaked dough can be frozen (in freezer safe bags) for about 3-4 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before baking.