It started off half-jokingly. I had been playing around with my grandmother’s oatmeal cookie recipe—taking away the raisins, adding chopped dates and dried cranberries, replacing the white sugar with dark brown sugar, grinding the oats—when Jon said we should start writing down all my variations. “Ok,” I thought, “why not?” And so our project, codenamed Operation Quaker, began.
Soon after, it became our Sunday ritual to walk around the reservoir in Central Park or across the Brooklyn Bridge and back bouncing cookie ideas off each other. When we’d get home, I’d do the mixing and baking; he’d act as scribe and run down to the grocery store to pick up whatever we needed. His penmanship still needs some work, but he can now find the spice and extract sections in any supermarket in seconds, probably even if he was blindfolded..
But who was going to eat all those test cookies? Thankfully, I work with a wonderful bunch of cookie fans who are my willing taste testers. When I bring in a bag of four-dozen cookies, and it’s wiped out before the end of the day, I know I’ve got a winning recipe on my hands. Case in point: the “Fake-Out-Eo,” a chocolate-oatmeal cookie stuffed with a cream cheese-and-vanilla-wafer-cookie filling. The secret ingredient was a certain chocolaty breakfast cereal. (Wilma!)
So every Sunday night I bake a batch of never-before-seen cookies, and every Monday morning I ask, “Are they bring-in-able?” And Jon reassures me that they are. He deadpans that my recipe notebook would be the one thing he’d rescue from our apartment if our building ever went up in flames. He better!