Written and Developed by Cathy Collins
We all love those little packages of instant oatmeal with all the great flavors. There is one problem with those, when you go to the food pantries, typically you only get one or two little envelopes. If you are lucky you might get a whole box (at total of 6 or 8 envelopes). These little packages are good, but they don’t go very far. I’ve noticed that when the pantries have instant oatmeal, they also typically have big containers of rolled oats or quick oats and they are more than happy to give you the whole, great big container!
I love oatmeal, especially the old-fashion rolled oats. They are a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs, filling breakfast, especially in the winter. I will take the container of rolled oats over the instant flavored oatmeal anytime. It is a much more versatile option. It doesn’t take that much longer to cook than the instant oatmeal, I can add anything I want to flavor it … cherries, blueberries, bananas, canned peaches or pears, raisins, dried cranberries (just to name a few). Add yogurt, chocolate chips, nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or vanilla. Load it with brown sugar, honey or syrup. Put jelly or jam on it. You name it, you can add it. You don’t even have to cook them. I have been known to just pour a bit of cream and honey on the oats and eat them cold! Yes, cold raw oats. They really are good that way.
On top of the myriad of ways you can serve oatmeal; plain, old-fashion rolled oats can be used for LOTS of other things; things like granola, added to muffins or zucchini bread or zucchini cake (see “Have Your Cake and Eat Your Veggies too”). Use it as a binder in salmon patties and meatloaf. But best of all you can make cookies with it.
The other thing to love about oatmeal is that it is one of those foods the medical community and all the health experts are encouraging us to eat more of. I like my grandmother’s take on the “Oatmeal is good for you” campaign. She used to eat one or two Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies almost every day! She told us she ate them because they had oatmeal in them and oatmeal was good for us. Then she’d wink at us, smile mischievously, and hand us an oatmeal cream pie. My grandmother lived to be 97 years old… she might have been right about oatmeal cream pies after all.
That said; this recipe is inspired by some friends, the couple of boxes of chocolate oatmeal they got from a pantry and their dislike for oatmeal as a cereal. The conversation went a bit like this:
“Hey Cathy, we got this oatmeal and aren’t going to eat it. Maybe you can do something with it.”
“Oh? Well, I can try, how do you feel about oatmeal cookies?”
“We’d eat oatmeal cookies; you think you can use this?”
“Sure. Why not? You willing to be my guinea pigs?”
“We sure are!”
“I’ll see what I can do. How do you feel about peanut butter? I have lots I need to use up.”
I love to cook, they know that (and so do you at this point). I’m always up for a cooking adventure and willing to try my hand at a new recipe. Since my friends and family are willing to be my test subjects for these cookies! Everyone wins!
Now, let’s make cookies! Anyone “Got Milk?”
A quick note on this recipe:
I almost always use real butter for baked goods. You can substitute margarine or shortening if you want or need to. I also use real vanilla, but that can get expensive so imitation vanilla will work too. In this recipe, I used the powdered egg mix available on a fairly regular basis at the pantries, but real eggs are fine too.
Since the oatmeal already had cocoa powder, chocolate chips and sugar in it and I don’t know how readily available the dark chocolate oatmeal is, I did provide an alternative using regular rolled oats, cocoa powder and plain sugar. Add the chocolate chips or leave them out. Maybe add peanut butter chips or both. Wouldn’t that be yummy!