Classic Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve never believed in a plain oatmeal cookie. What is a cookie without the chocolate? I would suggest that it is nothing more than a sweet biscuit.

However I happen to love someone who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth and when asked what kind of cookie he desired most it was: a classic oatmeal cookie. [Insert eye roll emoji here]. Despite my own sweet tooth, I set about to developing a lower sugar, classic oatmeal cookie recipe for this wonderful, strange man I love.

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I wanted to stay far away from anything too “grandma’s cookie” here. What I mean by that is crunchy, full of raisins and flavored mostly by cinnamon. Instead, I opted for browning the butter and pairing that with lemon zest for my primary flavor agents. The majority of time this recipe takes is spent on browning the butter, everything else is quick and easy.

I made a few batches before I rested on this recipe. In my first attempt I used only one cup of whole oats. These cookies were softer, and somehow more buttery. They were great! But. They just didn’t quite scream OATMEAL COOKIE. For my second attempt I actually cut down the butter and doubled the oats. Presto! Classic Oatmeal cookies with just the slightest hint of brightness from the lemon.

I of course split the dough in half and folded in chocolate chips to one portion. I will admit that despite my die hard love for chocolate, I do like the plain classic cookie better. The chocolate ends up masking the delicate lemon and I quite like the simplicity of the small oat drops.

Bake away dear friends!

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Pictured Left:  The final recipe  Pictured Right:  My first attempt. I still recommend it if you prefer a less oaty cookie.

Pictured Left: The final recipe Pictured Right: My first attempt. I still recommend it if you prefer a less oaty cookie.

Arlo's Carrot Cake

I love a good cake. More importantly I love an occasion that demands a good cake. This weekend was one of those occasions: two of my oldest and dearest friends were coming to visit. These are the kind of friends who bring out the teenager in me. When we’re together it’s goofy voices, dad jokes and giggles that turn into guffaws. We are rarely together. Since we first met in the smallest dorm on campus in Seattle we’ve been strewn across the United States and beyond. We’ve moved from struggling students, to being older struggling students, to changing careers, having a first child, finishing a first book, landing a dream job and a sprinkle of the rest of life. This weekend was the first time in five years that all three of us would be in the same place. This demanded a very special cake.

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I don’t know why I settled on carrot cake or on using this grand occasion to experiment with making my own recipe, either way, the stars aligned and this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake will henceforth be top of my favorite cakes list.

I have one rule about carrot cake: NEVER USE RAISINS. Raisins I are not friends. In my estimation, they are the surest way to spoil a good carrot cake. This recipe is built on a moist, tender crumb and a flavor that doesn’t require frosting. Honestly, this cake would be perfect without anything on top, however for the sake of tradition I’ve opted for a naked cake with the layers cushioned by citrus cream cheese frosting.

On seeing the cake, my friend’s son who’s just beginning to talk, announced “Arlo’s Cake” because naturally this cake was solely for him. Find an occasion, bake a cake my friends.

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