Kenwood Press

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At the Kitchen Table: 11/01/2011

Fall weather is just right for baking cookies

Fall weather makes me want to hunker down, browse through my many cookbooks and cook or bake. The noticeable weather changes are a jolt that open my eyes and senses to my surroundings. When the weather changes, I also think differently about what I will eat. No longer does a cool cucumber and tomato salad sound as satisfying as a hot bowl of soup or stew. Luckily, the plants are with us on this one. They are a step ahead and are ready with their fall bounty of chards, root vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, celery root, fennel, persimmons, and even a winter squash or two making a fresh appearance. All of these fruits and vegetables help us to maintain good health through the winter months.

Fall is soup weather, stew weather, and baking weather. Dishes that warm our bodies and souls make us feel good inside. Is someone you know working too hard or feeling under the weather? We can make tasty abundant dishes to share with neighbors and friends. I love the tantalizing smells of dinner cooking, or cookies baking, with the warmth from the oven an added bonus. There is always the temptation to eat too many cookies when they come out of the oven, but I either freeze them into a roll to bake later, or bake a few extra and drop them on a friend’s doorstep (properly wrapped, of course).

My mom’s chocolate chip cookies are famous in our family and she shares them willingly with all of us. When my one of my brothers was living by himself on the other side of the country, I would chance to call her when she was in the middle of making a care package of chocolate chip cookies for him. Really, Mom, isn’t he an adult now? She was sending him love in a box of cookies. That is how my family does it.

Share your food, and with it the spirit of caring. You can’t go wrong with a plate of cookies!

Grandma Nora’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom’s cookies are such a hit that when she travels to visit other family, especially grandchildren, she takes a tin with her to share. As I said, love in a box. These are the real deal and you will quickly gain many followers…look out.
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 5 cups of oats
  • 24 oz. chocolate chips
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: handful of dried Montmorency cherries or chopped walnuts

Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender or cuisinart to a fine powder. Set aside. Cream the butter and both sugars, and vanilla, then add the eggs and mix. In a separate bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, salt, and baking powder. Add chocolate chips and mix in dried fruit or nuts, if using. Mix thoroughly until all the flour is incorporated. Scoop out a teaspoon of cookie dough at a time and bake a sheet pan full for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

If not baking right away, roll into a log for freezing and wrap with Saran wrap, then cover again with foil. When ready to bake, slice individual cookies one by one until you have a sheetpan full, or bake them individually in a toaster oven. Watch carefully.

Makes about 100 cookies.

Recipe by Tricia O’Brien

Tricia O’Brien writes the Vegetable of the Month column for the Oak Hill Farm newsletter and lives in Glen Ellen. You can visit and follow her blog at
Email: tobcaters@gmailcom

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Community Calendar

Food Bank comes to Sonoma Valley
Funky Fridays concerts at Hood Mansion
“Fantastical Family Night” at Jack London
Oakmont Farmers Market
Walk ‘n Wag
‘Forest bathing’ hike
“Fantastical Family Night” at Jack London
Kenwood Community Church service
Butterflies and dragonflies hike
Al Anon meeting
Bingo at Rincon Valley Grange

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