I was going to give the whole "start with two sticks of butter, then add sugar" theme a break. Frankly, I was getting low on butter. But then, I had this phone conversation with a friend:
Her: I was on the plane coming home, and I read this article by Jeffrey Steingarten in Vogue about how he went to this lady's house and had these oatmeal cookies and he begged and begged for the recipe and promised her front row seats to any fashion show she wanted if only she would give it to him and eventually she did. He said they were the best oatmeal cookies he's ever eaten.
Me: I love oatmeal cookies.
Her: I know! Me, too. And I was so excited to have the recipe and then I remembered that I completely suck at baking and if I make them they will be terrible and then I was sad but then I thought I should just give you the recipe and you could bake them for me and tell me how good they are and if I should even bother trying, which I probably shouldn't but they really do sound amazing.
[Aside: This particular friend of mine speaks incredibly quickly. I believe the elapsed time for the conversation to this point was about 20 seconds, 11 of which was me saying, "I love oatmeal cookies"]
Me: Definitely send it to me.
Her: I'm on it.
[A few hours later]
Her: (via email) So my husband tossed my Vogue in an effort to clean my office this morning and it is under what looks like mac and cheese and oatmeal so it is toast. I sent a text asking my nanny to pick up another copy for me -- I will shoot you the recipe tonight.
[Aside: She is also very efficient and addicted to text messaging. And no, this is not my sister, thinly disguised. I actually know two people like this.]
The recipe arrived. She had gone to so much trouble, how could I not keep up my end of the deal? I got in the car, and went to buy more butter.
The Best Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from her e-mail transcription of a recipe in Vogue by Jeffrey Steingarten that he got from some lady whose party he went to a while ago
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 c. instant oats
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
The cool thing about this recipe is that you do everything by hand. The other cool thing is that it doesn't need eggs, so it is perfect for when you want to make cookies in the middle of the night but you don't have any eggs*.
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix butter and sugar in a large bowl using a wooden spoon until completely combined. Do not use a mixer! In another bowl, stir together oats, flour, salt and baking soda until well mixed. Add dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture, and stir with your wooden spoon until they are well mixed, too. Finally, stir in the vanilla extract. Using your hands, form the dough into 1 inch balls and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. After you've got them on there, using two fingers, flatten them to about 1/3 of an inch. You can dip your fingers in cold water if the cookies are sticky. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.
Me: (via e-mail) They were indeed, the best. And so easy that you can, in fact, make them for yourself. Go for it!
*Yes, this has happened to me.