Near my elementary school, there was a tiny shop named The Women’s Exchange, where church-y ladies sold handcrafted doodads and homemade treats. We often stopped in for their cookies – the best were called, in characteristic no-nonsense fashion, Cereal Cookies. Years later I tried to replicate them, never quite getting it right. Eventually I came up with a pretty good facsimile of my childhood favorite, or more importantly, my memory of it.
Delicate, crunchy, buttery and caramel-y, they're more like a confection than a traditional thick & chewy oatmeal cookie. They're my son's favorite too, so around the holidays I usually make a few batches on demand. —amysarah
about 30 cookies
unsalted butter at room temp.
light brown sugar
salt (slightly heaping)
flour (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups
old-fashioned (not instant) oatmeal
Optional: 1/3-1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts or chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or mini-chips); or 3-4 Tablespoons dried currants; or any combo thereof.*
Beat butter and sugar together. Next, beat in vanilla, salt and flour. Mix in oats until evenly incorporated, then any optional ingredients you're using.
Refrigerate dough (covered) for at least an hour - I’ve often left it overnight. Take out of fridge a little while before next step, to make it a bit easier to handle.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll balls from scant tablespoons of dough. Space them about 3” apart on a parchment lined pan. Flatten each ball to about ¼” thick – I use the bottom of a small glass.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning pan midway, until cookies' edges are brown and centers are slightly bubbly. Remove pan from oven - If any have spread together, separate with a knife or spatula edge while still very soft.
Let sit 2-3 minutes to firm up a bit before removing with a spatula to a cooling rack. Cool before eating. Stores well in an airtight container.
* Personally, I like these best 'as are,' but if you’re inclined to dress them up, any of the optional additions work well too, just don’t overdo the fixing/cookie ratio.*