Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Before we proceed with regular programming where I start telling you how some dried berries, flour, rolled oats, coconut and nuts partied together in these crunchy outside chewy inside rounds of somewhat breakfast worthy concoctions, allow me to indulge you with a preview of how we spent our recent short getaway. It involved a humongous 75,000 years old super volcanic lake, an island within an island on it, its beautiful Batak people and, needless to say, eye-opening, jaw-dropping local Batak food. Though most of my friends from Medan I've spoken to have never been to Danau Toba, I found it quite fetching, especially since I really prefer to dip into still fresh water instead of rocky salted waves. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly can't thread very well to keep herself afloat - even in a quiet lake I had to hang on to a beach ball.
After four days of waking up to this blue and serene calmness, we are now back to the grind in Singapore. Vijay quickly descended into a stage of post-vacation depression while I vegetated most of the day away yesterday, dragging myself to the kitchen only to boil water and half-heartedly stir up a mug of Milo. We didn't even bother with breakfast or lunch, taking naps instead. Luckily there are cookies, the only edible item in the house requiring just, in Nigella's words - "apply to face", which I specifically baked for this foreseen emergency before we hopped on the plane for Medan.
With only 11 days and counting to you-know-what day, chances are 'holiday baking' is marked with big red circles on your extra large calendar. If you'd like to stuff something other than mounds of chocolate, spiced ginger or peppermint into your cookie jars, this may just be what you're looking for. Having never baked oatmeal cookies before, I first saw these big fat ones at Sneh's and they had my name all over it because of one ingredient - coconut. I love coconut anything and if these are able to get some oatmeal into my system (as an alternative to this supershake), all the better. Yes, before you roll your eyes, there's also butter, sugar and corn syrup but no, it's 11 days to jingle bells and I won't apologize for butter and sugar, here and now.
More than half of these went away as gifts - some for a good friend visiting from Australia, some for Najah and quite a few into a care package for the sweet Joanne. December baking is all about sharing the love, so wrap your goodies up in pretty jars and shower your best peeps with some homemade, fuzzy warmness. In my books, a short run to the grocery store, a freezer stocked full with butter and a bit of workout around the oven to prepare boxes of edible present sound like a better deal than elbowing my way through the crazy year-end sale-crowds at Orchard Road.
If all goes well (read: when I snap out of the current back-from-holiday state of feeling like some leafy greens), cookie month at Life is Great will bring you more recipes next week. Meanwhile, I'll have to attend to the skin peeling off my sunburned face, loads of still damp Toba-soaked laundry and a mild case of sambal Batak withdrawal (more about the sambal soon, I promise).
Blueberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies [Printer Friendly Version]
Recipe adapted barely from Sneh Roy's Big Fat Pecan And Sultana Cookies at Cook Republic.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 10 giant 10-cm round cookies or 20 smaller 6-cm round cookies
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 140 grams salted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan with a wire rack placed in the middle. Grease or line two large baking trays with parchment.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, flour, pecans and blueberries. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar and corn syrup, stirring constantly until smooth and combined, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk boiling water and bicarbonate of soda. Stir this into the butter mixture with a whisk. Pour butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well together with a spatula until combined.
At this point, you may freeze the cookie dough, wrapped in baking/wax paper and layers of cling wrap, should you wish to bake it later, on Christmas Eve perhaps? If you want to bake straight away, roll the dough into 10 to 20 balls depending on the size of cookie you want. Place on prepared trays and flatten each ball slightly with the heel of your palm. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on trays until firm, about 2-3 minutes, before storing in air tight containers.
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
“Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”
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