Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The WOBOCs Go to College

You see that sad-looking, tiny bag of cookies? That's all that's left of a thirteen-dozen batch. Almost all of the rest got shipped off to Vermont as part of the first care package for A., who is now a freshman at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont, a small town about ten miles west of Brattleboro. AKA the middle of nowhere. It's out there. Really, really out there. But the post office goes there, apparently. Or at least I got an e-mail from A. saying that she had received the care package and that she and her roommates had enjoyed the cookies. I was a bit disturbed by the past tense in her e-mail. I'd taken the cookies to the post office on Saturday, and the guy at the counter had said that the cookies should arrive by Tuesday, and the e-mail came on Tuesday, and there had been twelve dozen cookies in the package. Surely three young women hadn't eaten all of them so quickly. I'd ask, but I probably don't want to know.

It took two cars and numerous people to get A. to Marlboro a couple of weeks ago. I have to say that I was dreading the trip. Ever since I drove A. a long way to visit a college back in March, I'd had to face the reality that she'd be leaving. I'd talked to a number of parents who said how excited they were at the prospect of their kids going off to college, and, frankly, I just didn't get it. It's true that these same parents have their kids every day, and I only have (I mean had) A. seven nights out of every two weeks. And it's true that the other parents said they fought with their kids all the time, and A. and I really never fought. And it's true that the other parents spent a lot of time nagging their kids about doing their homework, etc., and A. has always been responsible in the extreme with getting their work done.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I have a great kid (two great kids, but I don't reckon L., who is eleven, will be leaving imminently), and I knew I was going to miss her horribly.

And I do, of course. But I'm also immensely proud of her, and I'm glad that she's going to the school that she most wanted to attend. And it's good to have someone to send cookies to.

These WOBOCs are a variation on the original WOBOCs, which I first made earlier this year. The original WOBOCs had m&ms, and I still believe that if I could still find mini m&ms, they'd be the best choice, but I couldn't, so I used the chocolate- and candy-coated sunflower seeds that come from Trader Joe's. They're not as colorful as m&ms, but they're still colorful and tasty. I also added some peanut butter and craisins this time around.

The cookies are very good, but I think next time I'll cut the sugar a bit. These cookies have a lot of additions, and all the additions have sugar in them. The overall effect was a bit too sweet for me, but they do seem to be a big hit with the youthful palate.

The other major change from the original recipe was that I went for smaller cookies. Instead of the large cookie scoop, I used teaspoons and the classic drop cookie technique. Consequently, the recipe makes a lot more cookies (the extra ingredient or two helps, but it's mainly the smaller cookie size). I got about thirteen dozen smaller cookies, as opposed to fifty-six really big cookies the first time around. Cooking time is also shorter, naturally.

Peanut Butter WOBOCs

1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. honey
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1.5 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
3.5 c. rolled oats
1 c. unsalted roasted cashews
1.5 c. toasted coconut
1 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. craisins
1 c. chocolate covered sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the sugar and cream some more. Same again with the honey. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix again.

Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, mixing after each addition until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for thirteen minutes, or until nicely browned.

Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheets for about five minutes, then remove to racks to cool fully.

As with the original WOBOCs, you can make a lot of substitutions for the final few ingredients, and still have something terrific. It may be possible to add another cup or two of goodies, but I think I'm getting pretty close to the limit of how much stuff can be in there without overwhelming the cookie dough. Not that pushing the limits wouldn't be fun.

Naturally, there will have to be more care packages, and naturally, I won't be able to send the same cookie twice in the same semester. I'd certainly appreciate any suggestions for cookies that ship and keep well. I'm certain A. will be similarly appreciative.


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