My favorite recipes, and always the ones that are the most popular on my blog, are the old ones that date back to my grandmother’s and mother’s time. They were great cooks and I have several recipe files full of many of my family’s favorites. The most popular source for recipes and food trends in the 1950’s to the turn of the century was the FoodDay Section of our local Portland Oregonian. Every Thursday it was chock full of recipes and there are dozens and dozens of the ones my mother cut out and saved in these files. Every so often I sift through them and pick one or two for my week’s menus. One of my choices for last week was Blue Ribbon Oatmeal Cookies.
This delicious oatmeal cookie recipe…the kind that has buttery, crispy edges and a nice soft center, was a blue ribbon winner at the Oregon State Fair in the early 1990’s. It was a surprising change from the classic oatmeal cookie because it called for white chocolate chips instead of dark, chopped apricots instead of raisins and hazelnut in place of walnuts. The fancy holidaycookies that we all over indulged in last month are great, but this is the best everyday cookie that fits into everybody’s lunch box or back pack. I like them best with my first cup of coffee in the morning. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you may have noticed that I use a lot of hazelnuts in my baking. The reason is that I live in one of the two great hazelnut growing areas in the world. Oregon produces 99% of the United States’ hazelnut crop, second only to Turkey in world production.
Here is a little hazelnut trivia for you in case you are ever on Jeopardy and “Nuts” is one of the categories. I think we all should add more of these healthful nuts to our diets. Move over almonds.
Hazelnuts have no Cholesterol. Even though 80 percent of the hazelnut’s calories come from fat, this is a monounsaturated fat or a healthy fat which carries essential fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants (vitamins D, E, and K). These fats are vital for healthy skin, hair, and growth. They help control blood pressure and prevent blood clotting (the major cause of strokes and heart attacks). Hazelnuts are a natural source of phytoestrogens flavinoids, and isoflavones. Their high folate levels prevent birth defects. Because of their high fat content hazelnuts are best stored in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup butter (The original recipe called for vegetable shortening)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
- 1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dried apricots, diced
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl mix shortening (or butter), sugars, eggs and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended.
- Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into dough. Stir this into the butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal and nuts.
- Toss apricots with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour, Stir into dough along with the white chocolate chips.
- Shape dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place 2-3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake 11-13 minutes until slightly moist in the center and just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool.