It began, as cookies often do, with butter. Soften x amount of butter. For this recipe, x = ½ a cup. And so, I softened a cup of butter. Unwittingly. Carelessly. Like I knew what I was doing. I proceeded to add ingredients that would dovetail nicely with ½ a cup of butter. Not nearly enough for a whole cup of butter.
Imagine my surprise when, during the six minutes of baking, the cookies spread out on the baking sheet, joining hands, so to speak, and formed a solid mass from edge to edge. I could not begin to understand what I had done wrong. I checked the excellent “What Went Wrong?” advice (pp. 22-23) of Sharon Tyler Herbst’s The Joy of Cookies. Perhaps I had greased the baking sheet too liberally? They crumbled (the whole mass of them did) when I tried to divide them and pick them up. Perhaps I was attempting to remove them from the baking sheet too soon?
Then, between baking sheets-ful #2 and #3 it hit me. I could halve the butter and, you know, use what the recipe called for rather than what I imagined it said. Too late for that, however. I threw in a cup of rolled oats, chilled what remained of the batter and prayed that would bind the butter together. It worked, sort of. They are edible and extremely rich.
Today I baked again. Raisin-Oat Drops as the recipe is written. Still a bit problematic with the spreading and the crumbling, but definitely more workable. Delicious and fragrant, they call for ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and freshly grated orange zest, and more of our stash of extra-dark-for-cooking (aka Grade B) maple syrup. Soft and chewy, via Nova Scotia. Most excellent and maddening cookies. Or maybe it’s me that’s maddening. Oh well. Onward and upward!