Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Hello! It’s me! Here I am.
All spring, I dreamed about summer. The vast amount of unstructured time left open for baking, reading, laying by the pool, yoga classes, and reality tv seemed too good to be true. “HOW DO PEOPLE SURVIVE NOT HAVING SUMMERS OFF?????” I often wondered to myself. While I don’t completely have summers off, as I nanny during those months, the position only requires me to be there four days a week, and I’m done by 3:30. It’s also a job that can be done in sweats while drinking iced coffee on a swing at the park – essentially all I’m interested in doing once May hits. All this being said, I longed for sweet summertime. My biggest goal for the summer was to devote some quality time to the blog. Both writing and baking are cathartic to me, and I love sharing treats (and my own personal thoughts, lets be honest), with those around me.
Then, something happened. I unexpectedly lost someone very close to me. The sweet family I nanny for lost their daughter, with whom I had become very close. My world closed in around me. This blog, and writing in general, has always been very personal. The idea of sitting down and typing out a new blog post terrified me. The way I saw it, I had two options. I could either pretend as though nothing had happened and everything was alllll gooood, or I could heart wrenchingly explain the situation and what I was experiencing. Neither seemed like a path upon which I was willing to travel. The first felt inauthentic and not my style, and the second seemed too painful.
Ella was five years old. She was beautiful and smart. She loved bossing me around, Disney princesses, and “piercing” my ears. She had no sense of volume control or her own limitations. She believed she could do anything, and so she did. She sang loudly in public and, to the confusion of everyone, didn’t seem to need much sleep. She is the only person I have ever met who loves to snack as much as I do. There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Her carseat currently sits in the back of my car, as her younger sister now uses it when the kids ride with me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t give it a hug every now and then, if only to still feel close to her. How do I try to explain her to strangers using simply words? It doesn’t seem fair or possible.
The authors and creators of my favorite food blogs, Pinch of Yum recently experienced a very tragic loss and have blogged a lot about it. Recently, while browsing through several of their older posts, I was reminded of two things. First, grief, though it feels so personal, is a universal experience. Allowing others the chance to understand what we are going through, along with the recognition that we aren’t alone in our sadness, is so very important. Second, there is a healing quality to food, and, I believe especially, baked goods. Lindsay started a series called #feedingabrokenheart and seeing the posts and comments that go with the tag are beautiful.
With that being said, about a month or so before Ella’s death, I made these Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies (with homemade icing!!!!!!!!!) adapted from Ambitious Kitchen. I photographed the recipe, but then never got around to creating a post. This cookies smell like Christmas and hugs and all things cozy. They are chewy and moist with an AMAZING icing on top. I will not judge you for doubling the icing recipe. See the drops of icing on the parchment paper in the photo below? Post-photo I may or may not have used my finger to consume it all. How wonderful would these be to deliver to someone who might need a cookie? Or you could just deliver them to yourself, too.
Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies (with homemade icing)
1 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs (room temperature, if you are good at planning things out)
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat, but all purpose would work as well)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
For icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper (you already know how I feel about parchment paper – GOOD STUFF).
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continually stir it with a whisk. After several minutes, the butter will start to darken. Once the butter looks brown and starts to smell nutty, immediately remove it from the heat and transfer to a glass bowl (to prevent burning). This section is truly the trickiest part of the recipe, and I was a little intimidated by it. My recommendation is to go the “better safe than sorry” route and remove the butter sooner rather than later. I PROMISE YOU’VE GOT THIS. Let the butter cool for several minutes.
Use a mixer to combine both sugars with the butter. Next, add in egg and vanilla and mix well. Finally, add all dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt). Beat together just until combined. THAT’S IT, FOLKS. Easy peasy!
Now, you will need to create your balls of dough. I recommend either using a cookie scoop – my mom owns this one, and it works like a dream (https://www.pamperedchef.com/shop/Cook%27s+Tools/Prep+Tools/Medium+Scoop/2540) – or just a tablespoon! Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Move to a cooling rack once removing from the oven.
THE FUN PART – homemade icing. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. To be honest, I think it’s easiest to just do this with a fork. Once all lumps are gone, drizzle over the cookies. So yummy!
Let me know what you think of the new website! SO SO SO dang appreciative of my friend Megan for creating my new logo. You rock!