There is something festive about standing on a frigid subway platform and witnessing a young child stare in horror as a group of twenty-two year old drunken Santas make sexual gestures toward a circle of scantily clad Mrs. Clauses. All in all, that image pretty much sums up the overall vibe of these last few days: partially horrifying and yet, in retrospect, admittedly comical. Which is why, early on, I decided this week deserves a cookie. Nothing with wimpy, scalloped edges or perfect non-pareils. I mean a thick, chewy cookie that, when paired with a glass of milk, qualifies for a meal.
Since my last post the health inspector showed up for his first unannounced visit (all was fine, thank God). Then, for the third time, a delivery driver decided to stop coming to work, never call again and abandon his bicycle at our shop. Later in the week we discovered that an employee needed emergency surgery (he's okay). And then, on Saturday, as I trudged through midtown in the midst of the city's first major snowstorm of the season, I spotted them: the synthetically-clad mass of over-served Santas venturing off on their great, annual debaucherous parade.
New York City offers plenty of merry sights this time of year: the sparkling tree in Rockefeller Center; the miniature winter vignettes behind department store windows; the high-kicking Rockettes. But none is so endearing as "Santa Con."
"Santa Con" is a holiday of obliterated recent college grads. All across the city, early twenty-somethings deck themselves out in Santa and Mrs. Clause costumes, the men attempting to make their costumes more masculine (did you know Santa wears Timberlands now?) and the women taking great strides to sexualize their North Pole apparel (nothing says Mrs. Clause like leather pants and a smoky eye).
Since this is our first winter at the shop, and thus, our first official "Santa Con" as business owners, we weren't quite sure what to expect. However, as I wiped down our service counter and watched gaggles of bombed, dysfunctional Santas wander past our storefront, it become obvious that we were bound to have at least a few run-ins.
Luckily, we only had two. The first was the charming blonde-headed Santa who, while walking past our shop, chose to kick down our sign, flip me off, and then trip over his black costume boot covers and stumble into 38th Street. The second was the inebriated Santa who wandered into our shop, untied his red velvet pants, thus allowing them to slide down to his knees, and then fell asleep on one of our tables. At least he was polite when we asked him to leave.
It's funny being on the other side of the counter, no longer a wasted twenty-three year old, and instead a business owner who needs to do things like ask drunk kids to pull up their pants and head someplace (anyplace) else. It's also funny to be at the point in life where, during those moments, what I crave to maintain my sanity is a moist, golden cookie as opposed to a stiff drink.
These cookies are one of the few recipes I have committed to memory. All of the ingredients are items I keep in our pantry regularly -- your basic flour, sugars, butter and eggs, as well as a few cups of old-fashioned oats and several scoopfuls of plump golden raisins. When blended together, these simple ingredients produce a seriously thick dough that is flecked with sweet golden raisins. The final cookies boast perfect golden edges and a moist, chewy texture that offers just a touch of satisfying sea salt in every bite. Enjoy them while waiting for Santa or, as is my case, while trying to escape memories of his many young impostors.
Sea Salt, Golden Raisin and Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 stick, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and the sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Beat well. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and blend well. Add the oats and the raisins to the dough and blend, being sure to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl to be sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Using a tablespoon, drop rounds of the dough onto the parchment-lined sheet. Gently flatten out the top of the dough, being sure not to press too firmly or the cookies will become too thin. Sprinkle the top of each round with sea salt (just a few flakes go a long way). Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges and the tops of each cookie are golden. Cool for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.