I can’t believe this is my first cookie recipe on the blog! Well, I can sorta believe it because I’ve been holding onto all of my original Runaway Apricot bakery recipes in a secret vault, i.e. a black binder of handwritten notes in my special baking short-hand. In the binder most of my baking recipes are marked with few instructions: little brackets to note which ingredients should be added at the same time or one-word notes for ‘alternatingly’ when adding milk and dry ingredients to a cake. This shorthand is perfect for baking because most variations of flavors are built from base recipes with the same steps:
- Cream butter and sugars together
- Mix in eggs
- Stir in dry ingredients
- Add raisins/nuts/chocolate chips/etc.
- Drop onto baking pan
- Bake in 350° oven until golden brown
Nearly all of the drop cookie recipes you’ll see will follow this pattern. And that’s not so hard to do or memorize, is it? I love mastering these easy oatmeal cookies because with just one recipe I can make a million and one different variations based on what’s in my cupboard. The experimentation first began when friends turned up their noses to raisins in the classic, and by my opinion flawless, recipe. Not discouraged, I moved on to dried apricots, dried cranberries with walnuts and now these cookies made with antioxidant trail mix full of cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and almonds. I’m naming these “Trailways” Oatmeal cookies because I always buy the bags in the last minutes before my bus departs Port Authority for destinations across the East Coast.
The particular bus trip that inspired these cookies was last week’s visit to Boston for the Boston Marathon’s Jimmy Fund Walk supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For the second year I walked alongside my Aunt Robyn who is an 8-year, 6-cancer survivor thanks in large part to the treatment and care provided by Dana-Farber. This year she was chosen as a Walk Hero to spread her infectiously joyous and positive spirit. After speeding through the 5-mile route she didn’t miss a stride heading into Copley Square to find her Hero Poster and dance to the live band. Donate here to support my fundraising in her honor.
These cookies also support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month through #OXOGoodCookies, a program by OXO which will donate $100 for each tasty cookie post in September. OXO sent a package of their ingenious products to pull together each recipe and, after using a spring-loaded scoop to portion cookie batter, I am never turning to two spoons again! Having even just a few of the right tools makes baking these cookies barely more effort than break and bake. OXO is also making it possible for you to help raise funds. For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers in September. And get baking with these cookies!
Trailways Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon hot water
1 cup Antioxidant Trail Mix, or mix of dried fruit and nuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
Cream butter and sugars together in a mixer. Add eggs and mix well. Using the stir setting, or with a large spoon, stir in flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and oatmeal. Mix in water, trail mix, and vanilla.
Using a cookie dough scoop or two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough on to prepared cookie sheet for each cookie, leaving at least an inch of space between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on parchment or a wired rack. If stored in a well-sealed container, these cookies will stay fresh for days or weeks.
|You really can get creative with the additions to these cookies. I chose to make this batch with my favorite trail mix that I always snatch before a bus trip.|
|Set your butter out well before starting so it can come to room temperature.|
|Cream together butter and sugar is the first step.|
|Always level off measuring cups to make the quantities more accurate.|
|I’m never going back to two spoons again! The scoop makes placing the dough so much faster and more uniform.|
|Leave some space on the parchment, but these cookies won’t spread too much.|
|Perfect, uniform cookies.|
|One trick if you’re making a lot of cookies is to work with multiple sheets of parchment. Just slip off the layer and let it cool while you bake the next batch.|
|Always store in a well-sealed container. These cookies keep well, so they’re perfect for holiday baking.|
* In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.