With our wedding just around the corner, I thought my mind would be consumed by color swatches and centerpieces and how I can ban the YMCA and Electric Slide from the play-list for the entire night, but no - I've been dwelling on what is to become of my father once I move out and he no longer has full access to baked goods day in and day out.
You see, he's had his choice of cakes, cookies, scones, and all the other beautiful things that come to be when you combine butter, sugar, and flour, for the past fifteen years. With the exception of the few months I lived out of state, he's had a steady intake of sweets, usually after bedtime with a glass of bubbling soda and now that I think about it, I can't believe he's not a diabetic. Well, it's diet soda, after all.
I've been trying to give my mom a little more room in the kitchen so she can master the art of Feeding the Beast, and she's really pulled through with chocolate chip cookies and that lemon cake he likes so much, but baking just isn't her thing. I can't help but feel a little guilty about it. Sure, she makes the finest grilled cheese sandwich this side of Texas (the trick is to smear enough butter on the bread to cover it, then add more), and she's made a handful of birthday cakes in her life, but I just don't foresee her sweet supply meeting the demand of the bushy-mustached head of the household.
That is just one of many reservations I have about leaving home after all this time, that and the fact that I have to live with a boy who will probably leave smelly socks and beef jerky wrappers all around the house, but there are some pluses to the upcoming transition. Like when the rechargeable batteries disappear and nobody knows anything about it - I'll be spared from Dad's rampage on how "they just grew legs and walked away." I know my clothes and earrings won't mysteriously disappear only to show up again on my sister's body the next day. (She goes by the "it was in my room" law when it comes to ownership.)
The real victim here is my poor mother. She'll have to endure the daily conversation about early retirement and all the camping trips to be had; she'll be left to fend for herself against the blind rage of my hormonal kid sister when she can't find her favorite shoes; she'll be icing cakes at midnight when Dad gets a craving; she'll have to watch Glee with my Dad who is famous for nothing if not constantly rewinding and asking her if she heard that last line and how funny it was.
So in my final few weeks at home, I try to pacify everybody with treats to keep the peace, like oatmeal cherry nut cookies, maybe with a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between if it's been a particularly stressful day of wedding planning and final details. These cookies remind me a bit of a sexed-up version of trail mix, studded with crunchy walnuts and bits of sticky dried cherries, the smoky heat of cinnamon in the background warming the back of your throat. Don't let the word "cookie" deter you from crumbling a few into your morning yogurt. Just sayin'.
Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies
Adapted from Baked
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at time, beating a full minutes after each addition. Mix in the vanilla, scrape down the bowl, then add half the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the flour mixture just disappears, scrape down the bowl, add the second half of the mixture, then mix again.
Add the oats, walnuts, and cherries and mix on low speed until just combined. Cover the bowl tightly and chill the dough for at least 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart and place the dough balls onto the baking sheet. Baking for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are crisped and the centers are slightly puffed. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.