Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall Flowers and Cookie Powers

The weather cooled off to the mid-70s last week, and I wondered if anything would be in bloom at the Botanical Gardens in Clemson.

My sister-in-law was in town, so she helped us "saddle up" Borga before hitting the trail.

It's still amazing to this Midwesterner to see, at the end of October, ferns unfurling their new growth.

So many flowers are still in bloom!  Mainly shades of purple...

...but also bright yellows and reds.

Still lots of bees at work.

Still ducks and geese in the pond.

For all my moaning and groaning about the continued warm weather (and yes, it's supposed to be 88 by Wednesday), I love these particular benefits!  The cats love the extra sunshine, too.

One more thing - I've been holding out on you.  For years I've been searching for the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (my favorite variety).  I've tried coconut oil.  Melted butter.  Browned butter.  Various combinations of brown and white sugar.  Various cooking temperatures and times.  All completely unsuccessful.  I'm terribly picky about it...I can't stand a flat cookie.  I can't stand a crispy cookie.  My perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie must be soft in the middle, firm around the middle, and fairly hefty.  The chocolate to oatmeal ratio has to be perfect - an overabundance of chocolate can easily overwhelm the latter.  Recipe after recipe has failed to live up to my exacting standards.

Until now.  I give you:  the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip recipe

Now, this recipe is heavily modified.  Based upon recommendations from other bakers and my own preferences, I increased the baking soda to 1 teaspoon and the flour to 1 3/4 cup.  I reduced the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup and the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.  I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.  I swapped out old-fashioned oats for the quick-cooking variety recommended.  I increased the baking temperature to 335 degrees.  And...perfection.

They don't look fancy, but I will never try another recipe.  I have achieved oatmeal chocolate chip perfection.  Give them a try!

Have a great week! 

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