I recently baked a batch of Oatmeal Coconut Chippers, son Josh’s favorite cookies, for his camping trip to the coast. When Josh sampled one of the cookies, he chewed slowly, then stopped and squinted.
“Nutmeg?” he asked slowly.
“Yes!” I said.
I nearly wept with pride and joy.
I shouldn’t have been surprised Josh could identify the nutmeg. He’s been eating these cookies all his life. When Joshua was a little kid, he liked these cookies best because I put M&Ms in them (something I wouldn’t dream of doing now).
When he joined the Marine Corps and went to Iraq, I shipped Oatmeal Coconut Chippers cookies to him so he’d have memories of home, even though by the time he received them they were cookie dust.
I made Oatmeal Coconut Chippers for Joshua after he came home and became a civilian, and he’d have houseboat and Super Bowl parties.
And most recently, when Josh and his sweet bride Kat and their most adorable son Austin went camping for the weekend, I made Oatmeal Coconut Chippers, just for old time’s sake.
I gave Josh his tin of cookies Thursday when he stopped by to pick up Austin at his weekly Noni Doni visit.
(Oh, sure, if you twist my arm I’ll post a recent photo of 7-month-old Austin and never-mind-how-old-I-am Noni Doni. What’s that? You want to know what he can do now? Well, since you asked …) Austin is learning to sit up and crawl, and he eats all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and I swear that he can sing Baa-Baa Black Sheep. And he tries to wave bye-bye. He lights up when he sees me and he acts like he wants to say so much. (Babies are the best heart healers.) And he does strenuous push-ups in his playpen to see himself in the mirror that’s attached to the side. (Not a glass mirror, of course.)
I’ve been making these cookies for as long as I’ve had the Farm Journal Best Ever Recipes cookbook, which is more than 30 years. Can that be? Yes, I started cooking young.
I could never figure out the “chippers” part of the cookie’s name, unless, because it’s a farm cookbook, some wiseguy thought the cookies looked like pasture “chips” of the non-edible variety. I must admit, they’re not the prettiest cookie.
The recipe I share with you today is an adaptation of the cookbook’s recipe for Oatmeal Chippers. I used that recipe as a base to create a more complex cookie. I added coconut and walnuts and white chocolate chips. I added a touch of coconut extract (that’s optional) and half more vanilla. (I almost always do.)
I use a mini ice cream scooper to plop the dough onto the cookie sheet, so the cookies flatten and bake nice and round. The result is a chewy cookie with a touch of that one unexpected ingredient, which son Josh easily identified as nutmeg, but that will keep most people guessing until it turns Oatmeal Coconut Chippers into the Rumplestiltskin of cookies.
Ginger? Cloves? Molasses?
No. No. No. Sorry, but no. <yawn>
Of course, when Austin gets a bit older he and I will bake his father’s favorite cookies. And you can bet that by the time Austin’s old enough to talk, he’ll take a bite, which he’ll chew slowly, then stop and squint.
“Nutmeg?” he’ll ask.
“Yes!” I’ll say. I’ll nearly weep with pride and joy. And then we’ll celebrate with another cookie.
Oatmeal Coconut Chippers1 cup (2 cubes) butter 1 cup shortening 2 cups granulated sugar 2 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed 5 large eggs 3 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional) 4 1/3 cups sifted flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg 4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup white chocolate chips 1 cup shredded coconut
Cream together the butter and shortening with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add sugars, gradually, beating until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and coconut extract.
Sift together the flour, soda, salt and spices. Blend well into the creamed mixture. Add the oats, chocolates and coconut.
Drop by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheets and cool on baking racks. Makes about 16 dozen delicious Oatmeal Coconut Chippers.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.