One of my favorite characters in one of my favorite TV shows utters the line, “There is literally no one in the world that I don’t hate right now.”
He was only half-kidding. Sort of. Sometimes, we all have days like that. Traffic. Meetings. Mail, e-, voice- or otherwise. Fires. Taxes. Phone calls. Malfunctions. Weather.
You know what makes those days better? Cookies.
Specifically, a cookie with a smell that can envelope you like a warm, comforting quilt. For me, that nixes chocolate. There’s just something competitive about chocolate — something edgy and not a little aggressive. Chocolate is more of a drug than a balm. Toby Ziegler (the aforementioned character in the aforementioned show, “The West Wing”) Days need a balm. Cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, butter. Balm.
The comfort cookie also needs a soft texture, with just enough structure to keep it from utter collapse. It needs a little tooth, too, to give your jaws something to get hold of. And something that might sort of be considered a health food to assauge any guilt.
Those days call for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. These cookies not only taste great, but they give off a smell that is exponent of happiness, banishing all the fires, phone calls, malfunctions and other assorted aggravations in an instant. It’s a quick recipe, too. Just cream the butter, shortening and sugars, then dump in the rest of the ingredients. Not a fan of raisins? Try dried cranberries or cherries. I prefer walnuts, but pecans, peanuts, almonds and just about any other nut do great in these as well. I like letting the dough rest for a few minutes in the fridge, but it’s not necessary.
Ten to 15 minutes later, your house smells heavenly and you’ve got a warm, delicious cookie in your hand.
Take that, stress.
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at bcolvin@the advocate.com.