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Desperation dinners: Cookie recipe inspires woman to redesign kitchen

When a reader on our new Kitchen Scoop Web site said she remodeled her entire kitchen around one cookie recipe, we knew we had to try those cookies.

"When remodeling my kitchen a few years back, I actually designed the whole project around my favorite oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookie recipe," said Margie Fendley of Summerville, S.C. "Mixer, ingredients, spices, baking pans, cooling racks and utensils were all within arm's reach and were between the sink and oven. I found that the arrangement served me well for many other recipes."

The aroma filling Alicia's kitchen as she tested and photographed Margie's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for today's column was topped only by their flavor.

"I did half the batch with chocolate chips and half with raisins," Alicia reports. "These really ARE special. I love the cookies with raisins, but then again, I'm not much of a chocolate girl. The kids, of course, loved the chocolate chips."

This recipe makes a lot of dough, so it's easy to bake both versions. Or perhaps use chips and raisins in the same cookie. Now there's inspiration for a kitchen redesign.

Margie's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Start to finish: 25 minutes preparation, 11 to 14 minutes per batch to bake

1 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 large eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup dry powdered milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup soy flour (see Cook's note)

1/4 cup ground or milled flaxseed

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups chocolate chips or 2 cups raisins (see Cook's note)

Cook's note: If soy flour is unavailable, substitute 1/2 cup additional whole-wheat flour (for 1 cup total whole-wheat flour). Dough can be divided into two bowls before adding oats and chocolate chips. Add raisins to the first bowl, and into the other, add chocolate chips to taste. (Or add, to taste, up to 2 cups of either raisins or chips for the entire batch.) This dough is quite forgiving. Refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking or freeze for up to 1 month.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream Crisco, butter and both sugars. Beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. With mixer still running, add soda, salt and vanilla.

Turn off mixer, and add powdered milk, all flours and flax. Mix on slow until thoroughly mixed in. Dough is very dense.

Stir in oats and chocolate chips (and/or raisins, if using). Shape dough into cookie-size balls (about 2 tablespoons of dough each), and place on a non-greased cookie sheet. Or use a cookie-dough scoop. (There is a lot of dough. Refrigerate or freeze extra dough between shaping/baking.) Bake 11 to 14 minutes, depending on texture preference. (Shorter baking produces a chewier cookie; longer produces a crisper cookie.)

Makes about six-dozen cookies.

Approximate values per cookie (with chocolate chips): 119 calories (46 percent from fat), 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 94 mg sodium

Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997), "Desperation Entertaining!" (Workman, 2002) and "Cheap. Fast. Good!" (Workman, 2006). Contact them at Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016, or send e-mail to Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at

© Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.

Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.