gluten-free fun and a little bit of alinea ::::
A fairly unremarkable flight across the country, an unexpected spring snowstorm, the kids enjoying real snowplay, and then some slushiness. These all add up to our trek to Illinois for a week to visit family last week. Hot cocoa was a must for the first full roll in the snow, and these gluten-free cookies, a perfect accompaniment. My first foray of a fully gluten-free meal at Meadowood was sadly disappointing more due to presentation, this jump back in, albeit a dessert course only, was welcomed. We didn’t need the crisp tablecloth, the strong cocktails or the candlelight to enjoy these cookies all around. They were a big hit with the kids and adults alike.
Speaking of the echelon of Meadowood food, Eat and I did steal away to Alinea in Chicago for a date night while in Illinois. This was our third time at the restaurant, the second time I’ve been pregnant when eating there. It was as fabulous as ever, the preggo accommodations spot on, perfectly timed, without any complaint (like I felt from my Meadowood experience). Some people may find us stuffy for thinking this is our favorite restaurant, undoubtedly some pooh-poohing from the anti-molecular gastronomy folk. It’s more than just the food, though. It is the experience. Who couldn’t help but be impressed by a hot rock presentation to cook a slice of scallop, course paired with a fried, dehydrated awesomely crispy shrimp head and prawn aioli, and other colorfully presented fishes? What about the duck in five preparations with a platter of 60 different accompaniments: try the pepitas, the cherries, the various gelees, salty whatevers? There were so many to choose from, Eat and I felt compelled to try them all to get the full experience. And it was one of the most fun courses. This is saying a lot for me: I don’t like duck, but I would eat this again. The green apple sugar balloon filled with helium that one must eat by first sucking out the helium to avoid the gum of the balloon in your hair, then finish with an edible apple string — who can’t help but laugh? For the naysayers, it’s hard not to be impressed with the inventiveness and the interactive nature of the whole meal. The wait staff were superb, the ambience unmatched (though a bit sullied by the overly excited couple sitting across the room), the meal always unforgettable.
Enough of that, seeing as this is a post about oatmeal cookies (which I implore you, Chef Achatz, to create, as any dessert with oatmeal would not long be forgotten if I ever have the chance to try it in your restaurant!) so I come back to the original discussion. These cookies are not close to Alinea fare but they are a hit, and possibly not long forgotten to whomever may taste them.
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- 1½ rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg
- Melt the butter. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently by hand or wooden spoon. Mound ball into dough. Chill the dough 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silicon mat.
- Using a spoon or small ice cream scooper, scoop chilled dough into 1-inch balls onto lined baking sheet. Place about an inch apart from each other. They will spread some when baking.
- Bake for 13-14 minutes or until edges are browned and the cookie tops are golden. If you bake both sheets together, switch positions of baking sheets halfway through baking time.
- Cool well on the baking sheet (about 10-15 minutes) before removing cookies using a spatula.
- Makes about 2 dozen cookies.