a year of baking cookies

dark chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies

 jump to the recipe

chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies recipe

The first thing I ever learned to make was chocolate chip cookies. I know this to be true, because upon enrolling in the first grade at Havelock Elementary, every time a classmate would ask me why I had not been with them in kindergarten, I would confidently answer, “I preferred staying home with my mother and baking cookies.”

It was a simple answer, met with puzzled expressions. I suppose they were picturing me exhausted, covered in flour, whipping together batch after batch of cookies with an aching arm all year. In reality, “baking cookies” was my summation of one last year of freedom. I did of course bake cookies, but I also ran through the corn fields, hosted tea parties for my most distinguished stuffed animals, chatted with my dad while he was checking the feed bins, explored the woods for treasures, and climbed the biggest hill to sing at the top of my lungs.

I asked them what they did in kindergarten. “I don’t know. Crafts and stuff.” Well then.

77% dark Ecuadorian chocolate

Learning to bake cookies is such a vital part of culinary education for kids. Why? Because it’s fun! And the process is so simple and easy to remember, like a nursery rhyme.

You mix your wet,
you mix your dry,
you mix it all together.
You bake them hot,
you serve with milk,
it’s good in any weather!

OK so maybe I just made that up. But I’m sticking to my guns on this: There is something so comforting about baking cookies.

Feeling as passionately as I do about the importance of cookie making, I was shocked when my husbands’ two little nieces, who had come to visit us in Canada with their parents for the first time, asked in their sweet, innocent voices, “Qu’est ce que c’est ‘couquillse’?” Mat had just told them that tante Kaleigh was going to teach them how to make cookies.”Did they just ask me what cookies are?”, I asked my husband in disbelief.

It’s true. My adorable French nieces knew all about les biscuits français, but nothing of our soft, chewy, plop it with a spoon onto a pan, chocolate chip cookies. It fascinated them. It fascinated the whole family, including my Mat!

I’ll never forget my beautiful Liz et Lorna, eyes wide as they took it all in. Cheeks dotted with pink when I snatched some cookie dough into my mouth and gave them the go-ahead to do likewise. Warm faces pressed against the oven window. And finally when the cookies were out and slightly cooled, giggles galore as they dunked them into their glasses of milk.

We did a lot with them on that trip, including exploring Northern Quebec and even seeing Niagara Falls, but my highlight was unquestionably, staying home to bake cookies with my nieces.

soft chocolate chip oatmeal cookies recipe

dark chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies recipe

makes 48 cookies (plus a little extra cookie dough for munching)

1 cup margarine
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
a few pinches of salt
3 cups rolled oats
150g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

So you know how it goes!

You mix your wet,
you mix your—

Yeah, you know.

Why margarine rather than butter? Because it’s cheaper, and that’s how I grew up making it. So go ahead and cream your margarine (or if you prefer, butter) and sugar. Cream until completely blended and smooth. (Well, you know, as smooth as grains of sugar can be…)

how to make the perfect cookie

Add eggs and vanilla and beat into the mixture.

baking cookies step by step

In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

With the oats, the key to a super chewy cookie (which I love) is pulsing the oats in a food processor for a few spins.

Here’s what I am excited to introduce into the basic cookie recipe: the chocolate! I used a blend of two Ecuadorian chocolates, one from Manabi, and one from Esmeraldas, both 77% dark chocolate, both delicious.

Esmeraldas and Manabi 77% dark chocolate

ecuador chocolate amazon

Before opening the wrapper, break it up with your hands. Open up the wrapper and slide onto a cutting board. (I use a flexible board.) If you want smaller chunks, chop the rest up with a large knife, but do it quickly, as the chocolate will start to melt on the blade. If you do this step at the beginning, place all the dark chocolate chunks into a bowl and refrigerate until ready for use.

storing dark chocolate

Once ready, add oats and chocolate to other dry ingredients.

making cookies step by step

making cookies - dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, slowly incorporating until blended.

making cookies - combining dry and wet ingredients

cookie dough recipe

Using a small spoon, shape into a ball and drop onto a baking tray lined with parchment or wax paper.

shaping cookie dough into balls with a spoon

chocolate chip cookies recipe

Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10-12 minutes. The trick is, take them out before they look done, when they are still a little wet and glistening on top. Perfectly soft cookies, every time.

melty soft chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies recipe

Might I suggest a cookies and milk picnic?

cookies and milk picnic

chocolate cookies and milk picnic

chocolate chunk cookies and milk recipe

I could have made crafts and stuff. But I’m happy I baked cookies.

posted in lend me some sugar, tea party .

39 Responses to a year of baking cookies

  1. Emma says:

    I wouldn’t trade Kindergarten in, because we got to dissect an octopus. And I broke my ankle and got special treatment. And I got to watch a kid draw a turkey really well. Okay, so maybe I would trade Kindergarten in, if it meant doing the amazing kid activities you got to do:)

    I wish I could say I liked drop cookies, and although I love the raw dough, I just don’t like how they taste once baked. But maybe these ‘coquillse’ I could get into;)

  2. I always enjoy seeing posts in which mothers have spent the afternoon in their kitchen creating with their kids. Especially since schools are evolving to cutting back on creative classes. Maybe not so with the elementary but certainly so with the older grades.
    Your cookies look amazing! Obviously, that extra year around the house has benefited you!

  3. Brittany says:

    I love your sing along song about baking. I think I will sing this every time I bake. These cookies look so good, I want to make them everyday and then eat them all.

  4. Miam! Les biscuits ont l’air délicieux

  5. omg do these cookies look fantastic! and i love your post, i think it is awesome that you have a cookie baking song 🙂

  6. You are a good aunty! Teaching the nieces about the finer things in life!

    These also look divine!

    And I like your rhyme.

  7. Cookies=comfort. I totally agree. I just wrote an entire blog post yesterday about cookies being a comforting, soul soothing food. Stick to your guns, girl. These cookies look and sound amazing. Love your site!

  8. Do you know how lucky you are to be able to actually introduce a chocolate chip cookie to little girls? What a treat!! I totally agree that there is nothing more comforting than baking a big batch of cookies and it delights me that this was the first thing you learned to bake. Your cookies look awesome and I love that you used dark chocolate in them. I bet you can get some fab chocolate in Ecuador.

  9. kale says:

    Emma – Kindergarten biology, eh? That’s heavy stuff, I’m impressed! Raw cookie dough – soooo good, right?!

    Tina@flourtrader – I agree, creativity and imagination are so important to cultivate. Maybe I cultivated a little too much imagination running around the farm all year… 😉

    Brittany & Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) – Thanks! I was feeling quite inspired. hehe

    Cerises & Gourmandises – Merci! Je ne suis pas trop patissière, mais faire des cookies c’est tellement un classique. Je me suis vraiment amusée à les faires avec mes nièces!

    Jen @ Juanita’s Cocina – I see you’ve got some mad rhyming skills of your own!

    Jennie @themessybakerblog – Thank you so much! Those ice cream filled chocolate brownie cookies of yours look awesome, btw.

    Maggie @ Kitchie Coo – It was such a special thing to share with them! You’re right, the chocolate here is pretty outstanding, although I’m not an expert. Clearly I will need to eat much, much more chocolate to educate myself… At first I was bummed out because you cannot buy chocolate chips here, until I realized how much better authentic dark Ecuadorian chocolate would be anyway!

  10. I love this post. What a wonderful story you tell, and how fun to teach your darling nieces how to make such a delicious treat that we take for granted.

  11. They look wonderful Kale-so glad to have come across your lovely blog 🙂 And I love your opening story too – I’m sure if I had the choice I’d much rathered that I stayed at home and baked cookies with my mother 😀

    P.S. re your comment about the $15 pancake, I know what you’re saying, things are so expensive here and I guess I am used to it so I never batted an eyelid 😉

  12. donna picard says:

    What a sweet, sweet memory to share….
    think I will teach my grandson to make some
    as well….thanks

  13. Parsley Sage says:

    I kind of sort of really want to have a year like your anti-kindergarten year. Like…right now.

    Swoonable cookies, darling.

  14. Eftychia says:

    My husband is crazy for oatmeal cookies. Thanks for the recipe. I am sure I will enjoy them too with a glass of milk…

  15. the first thing i learnt to bake were chocolate chip cookies too 🙂

    sounds like u had a great childhood, i wish i lived on a farm (i am assuming u lived on a farm, sorry if im wrong :P)

  16. kale says:

    Kristi Rimkus – Thank you, Kristi. It’s so true, I took baking cookies for granted for a long time!

    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella – I heard that about Australia. Things are even cheaper here in Ecuador than they were back home, so now I find almost everything expensive! haha

    Connie the Cookie Monster – You assume correctly! The early years were pretty good, it’s true. 🙂

  17. Kristina says:

    Hahah thats too cute, staying home to bake cookies with mom 🙂 I grew up baking chocolate chip cookies too! Only they were my dad’s favorite so he’s the one that taught me. I love your dark chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe, they’re chocolate chippers all grown up!

  18. This is such a cute post! I would have loved to stay home from kindergarten & make cookies! There definitely is something about making cookies that’s just comforting. It’s definitely one of the first things I even made with my grandparents and my mom. There’s nothing quite like a warm, chewy, delicious cookie. Your cookies look absolutely fantastic! I’m sure your nieces will always remember the first time they made cookies! So sweet.

  19. Such a great story! And these cookies look fab! Especially love the dark chocolate!

  20. Asmita says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. It’s really very sweet.
    The cookies look so chewy, chocolaty and delicious!

  21. kyleen says:

    These cookies look amazing! Ahh cookies are definitely a huge part of my childhood too. It was the first thing I learned to make by myself and the first thing that my younger brother was inspired enough to make on his own!

  22. It was the same for me.. Although I wasn’t lucky enough to start so early. My mom wasn’t one to bake. However I did go on a school bake sale in my elementary and everything changed since. Nevertheless, cookies are my weak spot. I can never seem to get it right… The crisp to chewy ratio. Anyway, thanks to you, I now know what my next post would be about.

  23. These cookies look perfect – I love that you baking the first thing you started your amazing skill with 😀

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

  24. kale says:

    Kristina – That’s so cool your dad taught you! My dad was more into teaching me how to drive the tractor without running anybody over, haha. You’re right about the dark chocolate chunks; they’re so matured! 😉

    Lacy @ NYCityEats – Thank you for your kind words! Love that you even baked with your grandparents.

    kyleen – Way to inspire your bro!

    Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen – I’m so happy you enjoyed! I really find taking them out before they appear to be finished cooking makes all the difference for that chewy middle!

  25. I can’t believe that your nieces were not familiar with chocolate chip cookies! Some of my favorite memories involve making cookie or brownies with my mom.

    And I now have the urge to go make these at 10 am… 🙂

  26. Rita says:

    I used to often cook with my boys when they were growing up and now they are all very good in the kitchen; in fact one of them is a chef. Your recipe is almost like mine, but I really love the idea of adding chocolate chunks instead of chip.

  27. A picnic with just cookies and milk sounds terrific! These cookies look yum yum!

  28. Heidi says:

    just LOVED your story! and the cookies look pretty good too 😉

  29. I have a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies and they will always be my favorites!

  30. Katie says:

    Kale, what an adorable story! Your nieces are so lucky to have you. Homemade cookies weren’t really a part of my childhood, but I think I’ve more than made up for that by now.

    The cookies look great!

  31. grace says:

    teaching baking is important because it shows that sometimes we have to wait for our rewards–kids these days are way too used to immediate gratification. 🙂

  32. this post makes me smile. 🙂 and also makes me wanna have a chocolate chip cookie now!

  33. kale says:

    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table – Ooh, brownies. That’s a great memory!

    Rita – You must have been a great inspiration to your sons!

    Angie@Angie’s Recipes – Thanks Angie! We had our picnic indoors because we couldn’t wait for them!

    Heidi – Thank you!

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen – Me too. There’s something so special about baking cookies. And eating them!

    Katie – I just wish I could see them more often. France is too far away! 🙁

    grace – I couldn’t agree more.

    Jeanette @ Mary’s Pastry Lab – Two objectives achieved, then! 🙂

  34. Christine says:

    Ahhh, if I could turn back the clock…I would have had a whole lot more fun. These cookies look fantabulous! Those little nieces of yours are the luckiest girls on earth.

  35. Hi, Kale. I’m stopping by to give you the versatile blogger award. I love your site and all the delicious recipes you post. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Simply Life says:

    oh this story is too cute- and looks like you learned to make them perfectly!

  37. Megan says:

    Cutest story ever. And oatmeal chocolate chip is pretty much the best cookie ever! These look so tasty.

  38. That is the sweetest story!!! Aw 🙂 And these cookies look delicious!

  39. kale says:

    Christine – That’s so sweet. I wish I could see them more often. It’s hard being so far away!

    Jennie – Thank you!! You’re a doll.

    Simply Life – I’m sure there’s always more I could do to improve upon them, but thank you for the compliment!

    Megan – Aw, thanks! It’s my favorite cookie, too. It’s just so comforting!

    Kayle – They are super yummy and so easy, in fact, I think I should make a chocolate run so I can have some more!

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