02 December 2010

My Attempt at Being Ecumenical (Guest Post)

When I first met Matt, I was a freshman at Liberty University. My best friend from high school went to Catholic University and lived on the floor just below him. Just saying that on this blog, which I can only assume has a predominately Catholic readership, takes me back to that awkward evening on Flather 4 where I was introduced to Matt, along with his obnoxious friend who thought it would be a bright idea to recite the Top 10 Reasons Martin Luther is Evil to me within the first five minutes of my visit. So there I sat with my feet propped up on his printer (sorry, Matt) in all my 18 year old insecure glory, trying to smile as the swarms of devout Catholics poked me with questions about Dr. Falwell, if it was true that we had separate sidewalks for boys and girls at my school, and why I had not yet seen the Catholic light. I’d just like to cover my own backside here – I was baptized Catholic and according to my personal Capuchin source, that makes me Catholic for life. So get off me about it.

Matt and I have kept the postal service in business the past seven years with a steady stream of packages and letters between us – I send him cookies, he mails me Catholic prayer books; I send chocolate covered toffee, he sends me thank-you notes and clippings from Capuchin Today or whatever magazine it is that he reads. I think it’s a pretty fair trade, even though I feel like an awkward mess trying to recite those prayers, but I like to give liturgy the ol’ college try whenever I can. (Must be a side effect of the baptism water.)

So, while Matt is rambling on and on about who knows what over on my blog, I’ll be here to entertain your tastebuds with a little song and dance about cookies – chocolate oatmeal drops, to be exact. These cookies are en route to Matt as we speak, so if you’re in the area and he’s telling you he doesn’t have any cookies, he’s lying. Isn’t that a shame? A lying friar. What’s the world coming to? 10 Hail Mary’s for you, Matthew.

Because Matt thinks I’m Southern (I guess being South of the Mason-Dixon means something when you’re from Jersey – his accent makes my ears bleed), and Southern ladies have good manners, I try to avoid sending him the same thing twice. Thankfully, he is a very willing eater and has graciously plowed through an indefinite number of cookies, pumpkin bread, toffee, and a batch of black cocoa brownies that I am proud to say came from my kitchen. Since we consistently have a few hundred miles between us, I’m somewhat limited to baked goods that have enough backbone to make the cross-country trip and still show up looking their best.

A few years back, Matt sent in a special request for oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-chip cookies. I balked at first, thinking it was overload for a cookie, but after one bite, I was singing a different tune. They were chewy and sweet, a little salty with a handful of chocolate chips freckled throughout each one. So when I saw this recipe for oatmeal chocolate drops, I thought of Matt and his not-secret-anymore fetish for cocoa-oatmeal combinations. These are sort of like a brownie/cookie hybrid – they’re chewy like a brownie with a heavy hit of chocolate flavor, but they’re mellowed out by the earthy flavor of rolled outs and a slip of cinnamon in the background. With a glass of ice cold milk, they’re a perfect distraction to that awful Jersey accent.

Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, tablespoon of water, brown sugar and chocolate together until it is smooth. Take care not to overheat the mixture or the butter will separate from the chocolate – if you’re concerned about it getting too hot, you can do the same process in a double boiler.

Once the mixture is melted together, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before whisking in the eggs. Combine the chocolate mixture with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the oats.

The batter will be thick and pourable like a brownie batter at this point – don’t panic. Refrigerate the batter for at least four hours or until it is scoopable.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop the cookie dough with a cookie scoop or with a spoon (about the size of large bubblegum ball) and place on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly crisp and the centers are still soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  In an airtight container, these cookies will keep for about 5 days.

Brittany Logsdon is an avid cookie enthusiast and writes the award-winning blog, If You Give a Girl a Cookie.

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