When I was in graduate school, I tried to save money by making my own snacks. Accustomed to lab work, I figured that working in the kitchen would be easy. Recipes for cookies tend to be a bit simpler than cloning DNA, or so I thought. Lessons learned include not substituting baking powder for baking soda, not "softening" butter in the microwave, and identifying the difference between "golden brown" and charcoal. I have no qualms with eating negative results, so baking tends be a fun hobby regardless of its success.
For the past year, I have mostly made the same recipe, Housepoet's Famous Lactation Boosting Cookies. My wife sent me the recipe via e-mail last year when our little guy was nursing about once ever hour. We are both committed to breast feeding our baby as long as we can and, since I can't lactate, baking cookies is the least I can do. Does it help? Maybe. I can say for sure that the cookies have no affect on those not already lactating; after eating about a thousand cookies I haven't mustered as much as a drop. The important thing is this: the cookies taste great and have a lot of nutritional value for moms and their nursing babies.
Thank goodness copyright laws do not extend to recipes. The ingredients are as follows:
1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast
- 3 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup chocolate chips
The oven should be set at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In the lab everything was set at Celsius and 375 degrees Celsius would be hot enough to melt my oven. Fortunately, my oven has a digital temperature guage, so there is no room for cross temperature scale screw ups.
The 4 tbsp water and 2 tbsp flaxseed meal should be pre-mixed to let the flax seed soak up the water for at least a few minutes. The butter should be softened before use. Do not microwave it. Just let it sit on the counter for a few hours. The butter and sugar should all be mixed together until creamy. I use a stand mixer on about level 5 (of a 10 level scale). A stand mixer is the supreme mixing machine, and something I wish I had a long long time ago.
After a minute or two, toss in the eggs, watered down flaxseed, and vanilla. It is usually a good idea to have mixed the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and brewer's yeast) beforehand, but I just set my mixer to "stir" and let it do its thing while I do my thing. Brewers yeast is surprisingly easy to find and definitely looks nutritious. Because most butter is pre-salted, I have stopped adding salt. But if you happen to have unsalted butter, adding a teaspoon of salt is O.K.
I slowly add the flower mixture while the mixer is set at about level 3 and then I hit into overdrive at about level 8. I add the oats and then the chocolate chips at the "stir" level. I scoop the cookies into balls with a tablespoon measuring spoon and dole out about 12 cookies per cookie sheet (4 rows of 3). My dream is to put a whole batch (about 4 cookie sheets worth) in my oven at once, but it never seems to work out. Bake the cookies 8 to 12 minutes, dependent, of course, on your oven.
To prevent black-bottomed charcoal bricks, I recommend using silicone baking sheets. In order to boost the cookies' hardiness, I use half white flour and half wheat flour. Eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids are also primo for boosting a baby's brain development. Out of necessity, I learned that the eggs can be substituted with an extra tablespoon of flax meal, 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/2 teaspon baking powder. Steel cut oats can be substituted for rolled oats, but the cookies become really dense. Also, I try to use all organic ingredients in my kitchen whenever I can: the good and bad stuff from these cookies eventually end up in my baby boy.
I generally abstain from eating the raw ingredients during preparation. Nevertheless, eating the batter left in the bowl and on the beater is one of the great treats of being the chef. About 1 in 10,000 eggs has Salmonella, but those odds never stop me from licking the spatula. My poor "lets not kill the baby" wife has had to forgo raw dough for about 2 years now.
My wife and I can devour a whole batch of cookies within 24 hours. For those with no self control, I recommend freezing most of the batch and then taking them out a little bit at a time. Still, the best cookies come right out of the oven and nothing perks up a tired new mom like the smell of warm cookies.
Huzaa to cookies!
Tagged: personal stories