Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Uncle Hector's 100 Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange


Chocolate is essential in these cookies, as are eggs, sugar, butter, oil and flour, but the rest of the ingredients can be mixed and matched, adding cereals, nuts, seeds, coconut or whatever you’ve got on hand to mix in.

We were living in Balikpapan when our elder daughter was born almost 25 years ago. I’d gone home to Houston to have her but we returned to Indonesia when she was but three weeks old, her passport photo just a tiny baby face, days old, swaddled in that ubiquitous pink and blue hospital blanket, with her eyes squeezed shut tight against the camera flash. Try as he might, her father couldn’t get a photo with her eyes open, as normally required. The passport lady took pity on him and processed it any way.

I’ve written about Balikpapan before, the small oilfield town on the southeast corner of Borneo without much to recommend it but the good friends we made there. There was no system in place in case of an emergency – no 911 or 999 to call in case of trouble or an accident, so I never felt comfortable leaving our baby with anyone, until she was one year old and we were being transferred away from Balikpapan. The person I finally entrusted her to, to attend our company going-away dinner, was my dear friend Margaret, also known as MJ. She is a teacher by profession and by nature, one of the best women, in every respect, who I am blessed to know. If you've reading along with me for a while, you'll know she is the reason I got involved with supporting the elementary school in Uganda.

One of the most challenging aspects of expat life is parting from dear friends who are moving on or moving away. I left Margaret once in 1992 and now, after almost three years together in Dubai, she’s leaving me, headed back to Canada after 25 years overseas. As she prepared to depart, she gave me the candy apple red Kitchenaid her own dear friend Carol bequeathed to her when she left Dubai last year. There’s no adequate way to thank someone for such a gift but I offered to use the mixer to bake whatever she’d like.

Isn't she a beauty?

She sent me this recipe for Uncle Hector’s 100 Cookies, so called because he said they could be made 100 ways.

Uncle Hector was her father’s brother, a doctor who had moved south from Canada to sunny California. After working all day at a stressful job, he’d come home and cook or bake to relax. These cookies were one of his specialties. When our Creative Cookie Exchange theme of Chips, Chunks or Bits was announced, I knew I had to ask permission to share this recipe. I am delighted to honor Uncle Hector and my friend, Margaret, by sharing them here, with her kind permission.

Ingredients for about three dozen cookies
1 cup or 200g white sugar
1 cup or 200g brown sugar
1 cup or 225g butter
1 cup or 240ml oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 90g Grape Nuts cereal (original, not flakes)
1 cup of 100g quick cook oats
2 cups or 400g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup or 65g freshly grated coconut
1 cup or 60g bran flakes

This is what I actually used because it’s what I had on hand. Margaret says nuts are good too but she avoids them because of allergies. Have a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions.

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Grease a cookie sheet or line it with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Cream the sugars and butter together in your mixer.

Add in the egg, oil and vanilla and beat well.



 Now add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix again.



Here’s where things get interesting. You can use the combination of ingredients I did or mix and match your own. Once again, take a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions. Plus nuts. As Margaret says, the only essential is chocolate, which I doubled. I think Uncle Hector would probably approve.

I added the chocolate, oatmeal and coconut first. And mixed well.



Then I added my two cereals and mixed well again.



Do not taste the dough or you may not bother to bake it. It's delicious as is and, as a bonus, also freezes beautifully.


Scoop your cookie dough out on the prepared pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom, in your preheated oven. Remove to a wire rack to cool.





Enjoy!




Many thanks to our Creative Cookie Exchange host this month, Tara from Noshing with the Nolands. Check our all the wonderful cookies with Chips, Chunks or Bits!


If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is traveling in Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!



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