Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An exchange of goods and services

When I was a little girl reading the Anne of Green Gables books, I fell head over heels in love with the idea of kindred spirits.

At the time, I didn't actually realize all the different types of friendships a person can form over the years.

There are the Blast from the Past Friends. They're the people you see maybe once every two or three years, and when you do see them your conversation consists entirely of catching up, gossiping about other people you both know, and reminiscing about the good old days of high school/summer camp/community theater.

There are the Venn Diagram Friends, with whom you share only one or two interests that serve as the basis for your entire ongoing friendship. Drinking buddies, running buddies, dance partners...if you only hang out with them while engaging in that one activity, they're your Venn Diagram Friends. My most specific friendship in this category is my Jack White friend.

But I still believe in those kindred spirits. They're the friends who wander into your life in some unassuming manner and then stay there, because somehow you find that no matter how many turns your lives may have taken, within minutes of seeing each other again you will be having beautiful conversations about things that actually matter to you.

So it is, I'd say, with my friend Grace.

On Sunday, in addition to the usual gift of her wonderful company, she also offered me a few photography pointers while we baked together. And fortunately she was kind enough to accept payment in the form of chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies with dried cherries.

Isn't the barter system great?

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries
Adapted (very lightly) from Bon Appétit (September 2009)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries (6 oz)
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream the first 4 ingredients together. Add eggs and mix together. Add next 4 ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in cherries and chocolate chips.

Spoon batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until tops of cookies are golden brown. In my oven that only took about 9 minutes, although the original recipe states 14. I'd recommend checking them early and adding more time as needed because the bottoms seemed to darken rather quickly.

Transfer cookies to rack; let cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: About 4 dozen.

Note: Almost the entire batch came out beautifully, but there were about five cookies that spread so much on the pan that they actually looked like they'd melted. They tasted fine, but they weren't very pretty. I'm not sure what was different about those five cookies compared to the rest of the batch.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Yum!

    I think what happens sometimes with those "last few cookies" is that the dough at the bottom hasn't gotten mixed in as well, and so the proportion of butter to flour is off - not enough flour. So they spread more and might be a bit crisper.

    That's my theory, and I'm stickin' to it.

  3. You're probably right about the ratio of butter to flour. There were a couple on each pan for the last three pans or so. I've never had that happen before.

  4. Cookies spreading out is always an indication of too much fat/oil/butter--as I work my way through the dough I usually re-blend things a little bit at the end to help even things out that may have gotten stuck or not mixed very well at the bottom.

    These cookies do sound tasty!