Chewy Oatmeal Walnut Allspice Cookies
For a brief moment, I thought to myself, we’ll get through this. We will be fine. It was a fleeting moment because then I read this, and it thrust be back into reality. The stinging, harsh reality that everything I hold dear is at stake these next four years. Many people talk about the election in terms of grief, and I understand why on an intellectual level. Many of us are mourning the loss of everything good and decent for which our country stands.
It’s just that, having been on my own journey of loss, this is nothing like that, at least not for me. Even in the loneliest of moments, as I look back, I realize I never lost all hope. I
missed miss Michael every waking moment. I longed for my old life, and still do, even in the midst of happier times these last five years. My girls were my hope. It was for them that I had to keep on going, to nurture them, watch them grow, and help them see that even in despair you can indeed conquer dread.
But with each new cabinet appointment announced, and now this ruling by the Texas courts that will put undue emotional burden on a woman already going through a very hard moment in her life. Well, that is chipping away at all the hope in my reserves. For the first time since Michael died, I honestly can’t say to my daughters that we’ll be fine. I truly fear for the future, as we sink slowly towards January 20, 2017.
Baking was my salvation and escape last week. I needed a break from this reality, so took a few days off during the holiday weekend. I hunkered down with flour, butter, sugar—all the things I’ve been avoiding the last two months. I’m loathe to admit it, but even gained back a few pounds in the last two weeks. I’m not beating myself up about this, at least that’s what I keep saying. My jeans are still slipping below my waistline. Sweaters that were snug last year, have some wiggle room now.
The truth is as the weather gets colder, and the days increasingly shorter, I’m having trouble getting out for my daily walks, too. And I’ve no doubt slipped a little in my eating to comfort the anxiety I feel these days about where we’re headed. Still, I didn’t let that stop me from practicing my own kind of therapy. I spent the weekend reading this book from cover to cover, and baked up a storm from it. More on that in the next week, or so.
I also revisited an old favorite recipe, one I developed a few years ago. I wondered if it was as amazing as I remembered. Back then, every time a warm batch of Chewy Oatmeal Walnut Allspice Cookies came from the oven, the kids patiently waited for them to cool enough to hold, and squirrel into their mouths.
A few minutes after putting the first tray in the oven, Isabella peeked into the kitchen. Soon after, Virginia was there, eyes closed, slowly inhaling the fragrant spice-scented air. And then came the moment of truth. Yes, they were as good as we all remembered. The girls and my sitter, thankfully, made a nice dent in the pile of cookies. On Sunday, I enjoyed the last half left in the mason jar.
The thing is, the past isn’t always like this. Segregation, back alley abortions, limits being put on who you can love—those are not memories I want to become a reality again. Right now, I can’t promise my kids what the future holds, but I can surely keep fighting to keep us moving forward in the right direction.
Chewy Oatmeal Walnut Allspice Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups 135 grams old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
- 3/4 cup 112 grams whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon 4 grams baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon 1 gram sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon 5 grams allspice
- 1/2 cup 1 stick – 112 grams butter, melted
- 3/4 cup 150 grams granulated natural cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons 42 grams molasses
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon 2.5 ml vanilla extract
- 1 cup 100 grams coarsely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and allspice to a deep bowl. Whisk until well mixed.
- Add the butter, sugar, molasses, egg, and vanilla to a separate deep bowl. Whisk until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour in the oat mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined, and there are no visible signs of flour. Stir in the walnuts. Cover, and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Drop 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets (I use a cookie scoop for this part), leaving 2-inches between cookies so they have room to spread.
- Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges (the cookies are a bit dark overall because of the molasses). They will be very delicate, and seem underdone; don’t worry. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I sit here and wonder, how That I can somehow have the same feelings and thoughts you do and it feel so correct. Your thoughts and writings so are spot on some days. I, too, have been having trouble getting outside in the cold and for looking for somr comfort foods. Please know so many of your readers/fans/Friends are with you as you journey through. Here’s a smile and hug, hope it makes your day brighter.
Hi, Jennie. I have enjoyed your blog for years and walked through my grief with it for years as well. I have been able to tell through many posts over the years that we don’t share the same thoughts on a lot of issues as it comes to religion and politics. But the way you express your views and don’t tear down others who don’t share the same views as you has kept me from ever considering unfollowing. I can appreciate hearing your point of view and your passion for the issues at hand. I just wanted to say thank you for your tactfulness and yet also your passion for what you believe. Also, these cookies look really yummy!
I greatly appreciate that you have a place to voice your feelings. Thought you would appreciate another food blogger’s post today: http://www.southernsouffle.com/sparkling-molasses-cookies/
Both, delicious cookie recipes and serious thoughts about the future. Take care.
I really appreciated the link to the video about McDowell County. And I donated to the foodbank. It has helped me to feel like there are things I can do. And to gain a modicum of understanding about what happened.
These cookies look wonderful. Could I replace the walnuts with raisins and still get the fabulous effect?
I, also, have walked my own grief with yours over the past three years. Your writing on grief and now this frightening post-election period is about the most caring and articulate I’ve read. I try to take comfort in knowing that we are actually in the majority – Hillary’s popular vote lead will be well over 2 million – but the exercise of power in the next four years will change our culture for decades to come, pro choice being only one of many positions likely to change. I’m old enough to remember life before Roe v. Wade and we don’t want to go back. Then, as always, every option was available to those with money. Money buys private rooms and the confidentiality of expensive doctors. Without money, all options close. And to think that those with few options are statistically the ones who supported ..well, you know who. Thank you for your candid and respectful writing.
Hi, Liesl. Yes, you can absolutely swap in raisins. xo-Jennie
Jennie, it’s okay to feel discouraged every once in a while (we’ve all been there) but don’t let it be an excuse to undo all the healthy things you’ve been doing for your body. Just take a deep breath, regroup and start again. Every day has new possibilities. Keep a gratitude journal. Read and re-read all the positive emails you’re getting. And most of all, know you’re on the right track! Now, I’m going to check to see if I have allspice so I can make those yummy cookies.
Thank you for your words, for your courage and raising beautiful daughters, who represent the future we believe in and a brighter world.
Jennie, I feel your same fears. I live in California and work at a high school in which the tolerance and compassion and acceptance are very high. I only wish the entire nation could be as loving as the youth I teach. I have hope that the youth will save our country, for many of them are from a world that is so much more accepting that the one in which I’ve spent the past 50 years of my life. I also try to keep in mind that more than half the nation did not choose Trump, and that means we have a lot of people who will take steps to have our voices heard in a multitude of ways. Every small action counts. Today I am feeling a bit more positive, but I have had many days of fears and frustrations as well. Thank you for voicing your thoughts. We all have to band together in our feelings.
Wow, Jennie, I so share so many of the feelings you have expressed about the election! I also fear what I see happening to our country. So, I am sending you hugs (((Jennie))) there are many of us that are also fearing for our country.
Read Hillbilly Elegy it might help explain how this happened to this country. I am retired and scared to death that what this guy could do my retirement with his loose lips and twitter account. Those cabinet appointments are beyond belief.
I wish those people in the electoral college would think long and hard before voting for him. I just don’t understand how she could win almost 3 million more votes and not be president. This is the only election held anywhere where you lose with more votes. It is an antiquated system and needs to be done away with.
I agree with everything you said about this election.