Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Giant Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
I noticed that my weight was starting to creep up again, so I did what most females seem to do and freaked out about it. My first response was to simply increase my bicycle riding which was easy enough because Chris and I decided that we wanted to ride a century (100 mile event) this year and we knew we would need a lot of training to prepare for it. For the last three weeks we have been on our bikes for at least 45 minutes 4 times a week which has been great for our overall health, but didn't really help in the weight department. (I know I have to give it time, but I'm not the most patient of people...)
After my weight continued to creep up despite the increase in exercise, I decided it was time to go back to the basics of weight-loss -- write everything down that you eat and limit calories to 1500 or thereabouts. It's been a while since I've gone this route, and while it's kind of a pain to carry a notebook around and obsessively look up the calorie counts of every single food on the planet, it's also a great way to get back in touch with just how many calories we eat and drink in a day without thinking about it.
The good news is that this method works. The bad news is that I realized immediately where the weight gain was coming from -- beer, our favorite restaurant Frisco Grille (which has great beer), and of course all the "nibbles" I steal from my baking. *sigh* Time to cut back on my favorite things...
Some people who are trying to lose weight simply deprive themselves of everything they really want to eat and drink for a period of time. That has never been the best approach for me, instead, I do well simply limiting myself to very small portions of my favorite things and eating healthy 90% of the time. The problem over the last few months is that the very small portions have crept up to small portions and then crept up to portions... but I'm getting a handle on it now.
Now for the cookies... we rode our bikes yesterday for 85 minutes (moderate pace) and I ended up burning more calories in the ride than I had actually eaten so far that day. When we got off the bikes I was hungry. Dinner was still 45 minutes or so away (and very lean) and I wanted something, so I decided to bake these cookies from the L.A. Times that I had seen on various blogs. I knew the cookies themselves wouldn't be much of a problem since they were huge and there was no way I was going to actually eat one by myself -- no, my problem was the cookie dough which I have trouble keeping out of, and the broken cookies. ah well.
I'm not a big fan of huge cookies mainly because they never seem to bake evenly and since I like soft cookies they tend to fall apart on me (creating the broken cookie problem). These cookies were also unique because they included wheat germ, which I suppose did increase the health content some, but I would never consider them good-for-you considering the 3 sticks of butter and 2 2/3 cups of sugar. But they are good, and that's what really counts.
And the way I dealt with the extra calories from the cookies -- less beer and a very small portion of dinner. :)
Auntie Em's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Note: Adapted from chef Michelle Risucci of Auntie Em's Kitchen.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 1/3 cups (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) flour
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups ( 1/2 pound) golden raisins
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in the raisins.
Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop one-fourth cup dough for each cookie and slightly flatten them, leaving 2 inches between each cookie (they will spread). Slightly flatten the top of each cookie and bake one tray at a time, on the center rack, for consistent baking and coloring. The cookies will be done when set and lightly colored and the edges are slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.