So, I’ve been thinking for several weeks about oatmeal lace cookies. You know the ones…they are impossibly thin and crispy, yet full of oats. They are as delicate as lace and I assume that is where the name comes from. I have searched high and low for the perfect rendition and I’m getting the impression that it is a very relative thing. The disparities between the recipes I have seen are significant. I think this is just one of those things that you do like your momma did and that is the recipe that you like.
My momma was more of a thick and chewy oatmeal cookie gal, so I’m flying blind and testing every Junior League Cookbook recipe that jumps out at me. I’m convinced this will be a community cookbook find. But this wonderful cookie was birthed in the lace cookie process and it is worth sharing. In fact, I love it and I hope you will try it. It is thin and it is crisp, but it has some substance to it. It is a legitimate cookie…not a confection. Lace cookies are in the borderland between cookie and confection. The crisp and simple texture and flavor of this cookie make it great for kids and adults. There are no scary ingredients like nuts or raisins if you are catering to the whims of the little or picky. Store them in an airtight container and they are equally wonderful on day two. Mine did not make it to day three.
This recipe is adapted from the Oatmeal Wafer Crisp recipe in the Junior League of Dallas Dallas Dish cookbook which has been out since 2005. This is one of those books that is like the French Laundry Cookbook in its loveliness. It is one of those rare cookbooks that you not only use but display. It is a well thought out collection of recipes, and the photography and design are wonderful. There are but few “community” cookbooks that rise to this level of physical elegance (though you know I adore all of them in substance). I need to remember this the next time I venture out of state and need a hostess gift. I have the same affection for The Artful Table by the Dallas Museum of Art League and Stop and Smell the Rosemary buy the Junior League of Houston.
Suffice to say the title made me think it was going to be a lace cookie. But it is not. I now have three known categories of wonderful oatmeal cookies, thick and chewy, thin and crisp like this one, and lace…which is being as elusive as the sasquatch at the moment. But, no worries, I will hunt it down soon. When I told my friend Natalie that I was doing a crisp oatmeal cookie, she gave me a “bummer” look…so Natalie…if you are there sweetie…follow this link to the chewy oatmeal cookies that have organic coconut, pecans and maple sugar in them. It was posted a while back and it is a really wonderful cookie for those of you who can’t bear the thought of a crisp oatmeal cookie.
Here goes…this goes fast.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Beat until it is light and fluffy.
Add the egg to the butter and sugar and beat this for one minute. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Reduce the speed and add the flour and oat mixture. Mix to combine.
Using a tablespoon-sized scoop, place balls of dough on a silicone baking sheet at least 2 to 3 inches away from each other. Press down the dough with the tines of a slightly wet fork (doesn’t stick that way). Bake for approximately 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about two minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Makes about 25 to 30 cookies.
Note: When I make a big batch of cookies, I always use two cookie sheets, each topped with a silicone baking sheet. By doing this, I can allow the sheet to cool completely between each batch, so that when I load it up with dough again, the dough doesn’t start to melt before I get it into the oven. If you don’t have two sheets in rotation, consider taking the few extra minutes to let your sheet cool before loading it again. Your cookies will thank you. Your belly will thank you.