My mother was an incredible baker. Hands down one of the best…ever. I am certain, by the stories she told me about her mother, my grandma Esther, that this was a skill that was, in part, handed down to her from her mother. However, I also know for certain that there was something special about my mother and her baking skills. Something God-given. And lucky for us who knew her, she was happy to share her talents!
She would bake for co-workers birthdays. When I was in college she would send me care packages of cookies. Cookies that sustained me when my budget was tight. When my husband and I first started dating and she knew we would be coming home for a visit, she always made sure that her goose shaped cookie jar was full just for him.
For many years, try as I might, I could never master the baking thing. Cookies were either soupy or stony. Cakes were crumbly or still wet in the middle. I couldn’t even imagine thinking about baking a pie. I was convinced that the baking gene had skipped a generation.
And then one day I discovered a timer… and a little later patience. And slowly, but surely, I discovered I DID have the baking gene!! Thank you mom, grandma Esther and all of the ancestral bakers before me! I am (kinda , sorta) a baker too!
Now, I will NEVER claim to be the baker that my mother was. But I do have one secret weapon that she gave me. A recipe book FULL of her own recipes, written in her own hand and assembled just for me as a gift from her. This recipe book is one of my MOST cherished possessions. It is one of the few things that I would be sure to grab in the event of a fire. Her recipes, though protected in plastic are well worn and well loved.
Actually, when I really think about it, she gave me a second, more important secret weapon. Now when I bake, I have the gift of my mother, herself. I have memories of helping her bake those treats for co-workers and learning to understand how this giving a little piece of yourself and your time can be one of the greatest gifts. I have memories of baking Christmas cookies with her and later assembling trays of those cookies to give as gifts and to take to holiday parties. I have the appreciation for those beautiful chocolate chip oatmeal cookies that sustained me through some rough college days. And I have the gift of her teaching me about something she loved to do.
So…. I bake. And I share with you my mom’s recipe for those AMAZING Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – from the kitchen of Mary Hissong
1 1/2 cup of sifted Flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp water
1 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
2 cups uncooked oatmeal
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I never put nuts in mine)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour with soda and salt; set aside. Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and water. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls on cookie sheets. Bake in pre-heated oven 10 to 12 minutes