For all of us


Thanksgiving's completely swallowed me up this year and if it's okay with you, I think I'll stay down here for a while. There's lots of pie, and a vat of mashed potatoes, and gravy so smooth and rich with pan drippings, I'd like to wade right in. All of my people are here, too, first my mother and aunt in Cleveland, and now the rest of the clan about 150 miles south of there. Oh, and we've got leaves! Piles of them and a baby who knows what they're for.

Last night, around 8:30pm, Eli lifted a sleeping Mia off a sleeping Jess and climbed into bed himself. We all stayed that way until 5:30am, when Mia woke up for some milk. She normally flops around in our bed for a while after that, pulling my ears and patting Eli's cheeks, but this morning, she wedged herself into my armpit and conked right out again, and snoozed unmoving until eight o' clock. It was a Thanksgiving miracle. I can't remember the last time I slept that long or that late. When we all did finally peel ourselves from the bed, the grandparents and aunties whisked Mia away and I got a long hot shower. I swear, someone must have popped out my eyeballs during the night and given them a good scrubbing. Things look different today, brighter and crisper and mellower somehow than they did before so much food, and family, and consecutive hours of unconsciousness.

So, yes, if you don't mind, I think I'll stay right here. For a couple more days, at least. Then I promise, up and at 'em. There's work to be done. On our dining room table right now are five pies in various shades of almost-gone. I assume that you may also be facing a similar scene today, so I'll just go ahead and say it for all of us:  We'd better start in on some cookies.

It's never too soon, I tell you, to consider the cookie tin, not with Christmas tunes already spilling from my car radio and trees already aglow. Best to start with something simple, something with a hint of virtue, even, though you'd never know it. Best to start with a recipe I've had on deck since Sara and Hugh's cookbook arrived on my doorstep months ago for shortbread spiked with oats. With oats!  Not nuts, or zests, or spices, or cheese, or anything else I've ever tried to give shortbread a kick in the pants (not that it needs it; I'll take a plain, pure-butter shortbread any day) but OATS. I love a recipe like this, one that gets me excited about an ingredient I eat practically every day and cook and bake with all the time, but never in exactly this way. They're spiced with nutmeg, rich with butter, sweetened only with turbinado sugar, which adds an unexpected warmth. I like that they have the faintest chew to them within their crisp edges, unlike a more traditional shortbread that's all snap. The oats are a perfect fit. I baked a batch right before I left for Ohio and packed a couple with me for the road. I managed to eat only one of them on the plane while Mia napped on my lap, and I found the other one a few days later, still in tip-top shape. Sara says that these will last in an airtight container for up to one week, and I believe her. That means these cookies are shippable, and I'm thrilled about that. I bet some other people I know will be, too.

Oaty Shortbread with Chocolate Drizzle
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte

1½ cups rolled oats, plus more for garnish
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup turbinado sugar, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2½ ounces dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
Flaked sea salt (I use Maldon)

Pulse the oats in a food processor to make a coarse flour. You’re looking for a varied texture, some finer meal, some flecks of oat. Pour the oats into a bowl and set aside, and cream the butter and sugar together in the food processor. Add the vanilla and egg and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the oat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and nutmeg, and pulse a few times until just combined, scrape the sides, and give it a few more quick pulses.

Line a surface with a sheet of parchment or wax paper and sprinkle with rolled oats and turbinado sugar. Dump the dough onto the lined surface and roll into a log 2 inches in diameter.  The dough will be sticky, so you’ll have to work quickly. (If you have any trouble making a uniform log, do the best you can, and once the dough has chilled for 20-30 minutes, you can remove it from the fridge and give it a quick roll to correct any lumps or bumps.) Wrap the log in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours, or overnight. (Save the parchment paper for lining your baking sheet.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the log from the fridge and slice the log it into coins 3/8 of an inch thick. Place them on the baking sheets 1½  inches apart and bake until the edges and bottoms are golden, 16-18 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cookies have fully cooled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies using a fork; dip the fork into the chocolate and give the fork a few good hard taps over each cookie. For more control, you can do as Sara suggests: Scoop the slightly cooled chocolate into a plastic bag, snip off a corner, and pipe it onto the cookies. Sprinkle a few flakes of salt on top of each cookie. At a cool room temperature the chocolate will set in 30-45 minutes. Store in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper. The cookies will keep for a week.

Makes about 20 cookies.


london bakes said...

I've been eyeing this recipe too; the idea of oats in shortbread seems nothing short of genius. They look really lovely.

Molly said...

Happy (post-) Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving miracle sleep! These cookies sound great. I am opposed to the fact that Christmas music is already flooding the airwaves, but I am not opposed to thinking about holiday cookies. These look like a fantastic start.

Li @ Words and Cake said...

I love the sound of these cookies, they look beautifully rustic. Taking these on a plane trip sounds particularly appealing.

Jess said...

london bakes - Pull the trigger! They're terrific.

Molly - Hiya! Is it weird that I actually love all the Christmas stuff? The music, the lights, the little foil-wrapped everything in the drugstores and supermarkets? I even love that it starts up before Thanksgiving's through! Of course, I don't have the pressure of actually celebrating Christmas. I just kind of get to live all around it. So that probably helps.

Li - Yes, they're a great cookie to have in transit. I was thinking about them on my return flight from Ohio today, wishing I had a couple stashed in my carry-on.

Anna Lee said...

Jess, you are an INCREDIBLE writer, and I really mean it. Thanks so very much for sharing your gift! My two favorite lines from this post, "We've got leaves, piles of them, and a baby who knows what they're for." And that picture is almost too much to handle. So cute. My other favorite line is "we have five pies on the table in various shades of almost gone." How does it happen that a person is so good at what they do? Again, thanks for sharing. I love reading what you write.

Jess said...

Oh my goodness, Anna Lee, you just made my day. Wow. Thank you so much.

sara said...

It makes me so happy to see this recipe here, while still embarassed that I believe I misused the word circumference for diameter in a book that has been sent out to thousands. opps. thank heavens for our late night emailing and your smartness!! they look lovely and oh man, can you write.

Jess said...

Sara - Don't fret, my dear! I obviously knew what you meant. I just sent word to Eli to pick up some chocolate on his way home. I've got another batch of these babies in the works. xo.