Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Signal 8 alert just went up a few hours ago.

Typhoon Usagi has just swept through the Philippines and Taiwan and has been pummeling Hong Kong this afternoon and evening.  It is supposed to be the strongest tropical storm (technically, tropical cyclone) to hit Hong Kong in 30 years.

All airport activities have been suspended and the normally bustling harbor is quiet.

Considering that I returned from my last trip to the US in the aftermath of Typhoon Utor (this August), which caused my plane to head to Taipei after multiple, futile attempts to land, which then caused me to sit on the runway for nearly nine hours while the plane re-fueled, flight attendants re-staffed and the airport juggled twice its usual volume, I am for once quite grateful that I did not go away this long weekend!

What is there to do when there is strong rain and gale swirling about outside?

Read, bake, and read, and eat what you baked.

What joyous activities.

I discovered this recipe when I was desperate to find another use for all of the oats that my loving parents bought for me the last time I was home and casually mentioned that I might like some old fashioned oatmeal.  They immediately went to Costco and came back with a very generous bag of Quaker Oats.  A five pound bag.

So I searched for a while, to find an inspirational recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that used old fashioned rolled oats and did not use butter (I only had salted butter at the time).  I knew I'd found something delicious and perfect when I happened upon this recipe.

And now... and now.  I don't think any of that five pound bag of oats is going to go toward actual breakfast oatmeal after all (you know, the healthy version).  However, these cookies are so good that you could eat them for breakfast.  And they have so many oats in them that you could very easily convince yourself, as I have, that they are the healthy version.

Note that the batter is really crumbly, so this cookie takes a little bit of faith.  You didn't make a mistake (at least, I hope not).  The cookie will meld.  It will be cohesive.  It just won't be so in its raw form.

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (But because it can be hard to find chocolate chips in Hong Kong, I just bought a bar or two of the type of chocolate I wanted to use, and chopped it up roughly as chocolate chunks instead)


Brace yourself, this is really, really easy...
Preheat the oven to 176 degrees Celsius (just wanted the Americans to convert from C to F for once).
Grease the baking sheet or get smart and use parchment paper or a silicone sheet.
Mix everything together, except the chocolate chips, until evenly combined.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Clump the dough with your hands to form balls about an inch diameter, then place on the sheet.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat....
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

I find that baking a sheet of 12 cookies for 10 minutes works very well, because then they are molten and gooey, and their residual heat helps them cook a little longer and solidify perfectly while on the cooling rack.

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