Last week of school, this week, and then the crazy party we call summer begins. More baseball, lots of entertaining, visits from and trips to stay with family and friends, and driving, driving, driving for various sports and camps. I got a bit of a headache working on my calendar last night, ack. As usual, it will fly by, and next thing you know I’ll be bitching about the cold and putting up the Christmas tree. Slow down! Slow. Down. I’ll definitely try to slow it all down, savor my summer (even the rainy days, of which we’ve had plenty lately), having Nathan home during the day, swimming, beach, biking, al fresco dining, and the bounty of fresh veggies and herbs that is about to begin.
And picnics! Like the one John and I snuck in on Saturday. I packed a quick little lunch – chicken-avocado sandwiches, trail mix (I just threw together peanuts, raisins, andcoconut), pickles, and cold beer – and we loaded up our bikes and rode around Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington. Little hillier than we were looking for, but lovely and fun nonetheless, especially when we were done biking and sat down to our mini-feast! I get so excited about eating on my own deck or porch, I forget what a blast it is to pack a picnic and head for a gorgeous park. Definitely a goal to do that more often this summer, and drag the kids along to boot, heh, heh. I want them to have some fun Eating-Outdoors Memories like I have – roast beef sandwiches and lemon bars at my stepmom’s brother’s polo matches…my dad’s freshly-caught trout, corn-meal dredged and fried right on the shore, made into killer sandwiches with bacon and fire-toasted bread (tasting mighty fine after a long horseback ride)…my grandma’s roadside bologna-n-butter sandwiches, with potato chips, fresh peaches, and my very favorite crunchy-coconutty Ranger cookies (my grandparents didn’t stop for fast food on road trips). Man, good stuff, all of it. Summer ’07. Time to make some memories… (Recipe posted in comments, below.)
From The All-American Cookie Book
by Nancy Baggett
2 cups all-purpose white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (1 stick plus 2 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup white vegetable shortening
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups corn flakes, crushed
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups (about 3 1/2 ounces) shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease several baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and shortening until lightened. Add the brown sugar and sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until evenly incorporated. Beat or stir in the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Stir in the oats, corn flakes, pecans, and coconut until evenly incorporated. Let the dough stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until firmed up slightly.
Shape portions of the dough into generous golf-ball-sized balls with lightly greased hands. Place on the baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Using your hand, pat down the balls until about 1/3 inch thick.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the upper third of the oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or until tinged with brown and just beginning to firm up in the centers; be careful not to overbake. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks. Let stand until completely cooled.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Makes 35 to 40 (3 3/4-inch) cookies.