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I have a friend who takes holiday cookies seriously. She starts well in advance, makes many dozens of cookies and always has a plateful ready to offer her guests and co-workers. Often we manage to bake together in her large kitchen this time of year; it’s a domestic pleasure and a gesture of friendship I really enjoy. We chat, sample cookies and drink tea while the delicious scents of cinnamon and butter fill her kitchen. I bring an extra pound of butter with me, but she seems to have whatever else I’ve forgotten. I leave behind some of the cookies and recipes I’ve made and carry home some of hers.
We started our cookie-making endeavors early this year. My friend carefully shaped beautiful mincemeat tarts, following her mother’s recipe. The dough was rich with sour cream, and she had dosed the filling with whisky for the whole year beforehand. My contribution was less nostalgic and easier to make: a simple apple-oatmeal drop cookie, which will be a more modest treat to serve alongside spiced tea or dark coffee.
Because we are expecting a snow day, I may have time to add a few more challenging treats to my own cookie tin—biscotti with crystallized ginger, chocolate rice krispy treats, jam bars—but if I never get to them, these homey oatmeal cookies packed with seasonal flavor will do.
Yield: about 30 cookies
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup apple cider or juice
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned preferred; quick oats OK)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 medium apples, cored and diced small
- 3/4 cup almonds, pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together sugar and butter. Add cider and eggs, and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining dry ingredients well, and then fold in apples and nuts.
On greased cookie sheets, drop spoonsful of batter 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until browned. Cool briefly on wire rack.