Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies for the "Kids"

Our son, Tommy, and his girlfriend, Sarah, were making a great trek northward this weekend, in the middle of a snow blast. In addition to packing up a thermos of hot coffee and sandwiches for the road, I thought a batch of oatmeal raisin walnut cookies would hit the spot, especially tonight with hot chocolate once they are settled in.

This is absolutely the simplest recipe you'll ever find, and everyone who has ever tasted them thinks they are from an old family recipe. They are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and filled with walnuts, raisins and hearty, healthy oats.

All you need is a mixing bowl, a small (1-1/2") spring-loaded cookie scoop, two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, one large egg, one tablespoon water, one stick of soft butter, 3/4 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. The secret ingredient? Store bought Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix! 

Simply combine all of the ingredients into a bowl, mix well and use the scoop to portion out 24 perfectly round and equal-sized cookies onto the tins.  Bake on top or high-middle rack of oven, at 375 degrees, for 13 minutes.

These cookies are also a great accompaniment to vanilla or cinnamon ice cream for a quick and delicious dessert when company comes.

New Year's Morning: Ebelskievers

New Year's Morning, 2011: dawned a brilliantly sunny day, perfect for a batch or two of homemade ebelskievers, plump little Danish pancakes, filled with strawberry-rhubarb jam, fresh blueberries, pecans and walnuts, and dusted with a pouff of confectioner's sugar. 

They are so simple to prepare and create such a buzz at the table that it's a wonder they haven't become more popular. We mixed up a batter of eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and whole milk, added a dash of vanilla and let it sit for a few minutes to rise.  Then we filled each cavity of the ebelskiever pan half way, added our fillings, and topped each cake with more batter. Wait a few minutes, turn with wooden chopsticks, and slide out of the pan when lightly browned.

Top off with a generous dusting of confectioner's sugar and serve with hot cider or steaming hot coffee. A great way to start the New Year, and any day!