When my brother was in high school and I was in college, I used to get home for summer just in time to see his tennis season, which he always dominated. And since I usually had a lot of time on my hands with him at school and my parents at work, I would bake things for the team for every match. Now, Pete’s a freshman at University of Chicago, playing for the tennis team there and doing just as awesome if I’m to believe what I’ve been hearing. So, to continue my theme of baking something for other people during Lent, I’ve decided to revive that tradition and make a treat that I could mail out to him and his team.
The trick was trying to think of a treat that I could mail to Chicago without any serious repercussions to the treat itself. I remembered that in college my roommate got a care package of chocolate chip cookies from a relative, and figured that would be an easy thing to send to Pete. And of course, if I was going to be making chocolate chip cookies, I had to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had: Ann Mullins’ oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Usually, when people think of oatmeal in cookies, the go-to is oatmeal raisin. I’ve always found oatmeal raisin cookies to be disappointing, especially since the raisins almost look like chocolate chips and then they’re squishy. But, when you replace those raisins with chocolate chips, you have an instant masterpiece of texture and crunch. And no one makes them better than Ann, who used to have them in a jar any time we were at her house for something.
So without further ado, my best attempt at making her cookies, which I hope Pete enjoys when they make it out to him!
First, cream together the shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and smooth.
Then, beat in the eggs and hot water. I just used my hottest tap water and spooned it in out of a measuring cup.
Next add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) and beat until combined.
Blend in the whole oats – make sure not to use the instant oats since they won’t give the cookies the right texture.
Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. You can’t have too many chocolate chips, so I used heaping cups when measuring.
Spoon the dough by the rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. I use the double spoon method – scoop with one and push it onto the sheet with the other. Make sure there’s enough room for the cookies to spread a little bit.
Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. The middles of the cookies may still look pretty doughy – that’s OK, when they cool they will solidify. Just make sure the edges are brown and you’re good to go.
And now comes the secret to making them that perfect texture of a little chewy and crunchy at the same time: remove the cookies from the cookie sheet to newspaper to cool completely. No wire racks. The newspaper absorbs some of the cooking oil (which with a full cup of shortening isn’t insignificant) to dry them out just enough.
These are one of those recipes I mentioned while making Magic Bars – I love them so much that I have to actively plan to make them when I can’t eat every last one. Lent provided that opportunity for these cookies, which though I know would look great in my new cookie jar (thanks Mimi!), will reach more people if I send them to Chicago where Pete will (hopefully) share them with his teammates. Go UChicago Tennis!
Ann’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole oats
- 2 heaping cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Cream shortening and sugars until smooth and light.
- Beat in eggs and water.
- Add dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Blend in oats.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350°F for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Remove to newspaper to cool completely.