I have loved a lot of cookies in my life, but none so much as the oatmeal cookie.
It’s the kind of cookie that isn’t associated with just one character trait. They’re so versatile. You can have chewy, crispy, soft – any of the cookie adjectives, really.
In the summer, I make oatmeal cookies all the time. Especially weekends that we set off to camp or hike. They’re filling and portable, perfect for road trips. I have a killer peanut butter and chocolate recipe that has become known as “camping cookies” (they may or may not have ended up as the graham cracker in a s’more sandwich once or twice).
One night, we were supposed to go hiking with a big group of friends up Mount Katahdin in Maine. I wasn’t much of a hiker then and was pretty nervous. The plan was to start our hike at night and end to watch the sunrise from the peak. There’s a myth that Katahdin is the first point on the East Coast to see the sunrise, but it’s actually Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island for much of the year.
C. and I hadn’t been dating very long, so I really wanted to impress him. Plus, we were going with a big group of his friends. The night before we were supposed to set out, I made cookies, we packed our bags and went to bed early.
The next morning, I went home to get ready, but I didn’t get far. I was about ten feet out of the parking lot, a bumpy Saint John parking lot (for those who understand the state of city roads there), when I noticed my car was making a thumping noise. I went a little further, thinking it could just be the road. By the corner, I knew something was really wrong. People were staring at my car.
I pulled into another parking lot to find my front tire flat and flopping onto the pavement.
I immediately called C. and he said, “You better get back up here.”
Sometime in the night, someone came by and slashed a tire on both of our cars. It wasn’t linked to anything, just a random act. The police had caught the guy and been calling both of us all night.
After a few calls to the group, it became clear the trip was off. C. and I had been the only people able to drive everyone.
We all united in his backyard, determined to still make a night of it.
We booked the last of two campsites at a provincial park nearby, found some back up transportation and set out for what ended up being a pretty great night. We swam, drank beer, played stupid games around the fire and ate a full bag of my camping oatmeal cookies.
It all worked out, as everything does.
I always think of that whenever I make oatmeal cookies.
This particular recipe was inspired by an oatmeal cookie I snagged from a leftover luncheon service at work. It had so much punchy, gorgeous ginger flavour, I just had to try it for myself.
These oatmeal cookies are on the soft-chewy side of the cookie spectrum, with just enough spice to feel like the perfect fall cookie. I worked the ginger in by quickly caramelizing some minced fresh ginger and sprinkling in a bit of ground ginger.
They were the perfect companion for my Pumpkin Custard, crumbled up as a delicious, crunchy topping.
Caramelized ginger cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen
- 2 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups of large flake rolled oats
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and mince your fresh ginger until you have 2 tbsp. Add to a small saucepan with 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of brown sugar, cooking the three together on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. The sugar should be just starting to darken slightly. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- Cream your softened butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients and spices, except for the oatmeal.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing continuously. Add caramelized ginger. Add oatmeal. Mix again.
- Drop cookie dough by the spoonful onto your prepared pan, making sure they have room to triple in width. I did 12 per cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are a deep golden brown.
- Cool and eat!