(Alternate title: and now for something completely different)
A common stress-relief activity among grad students is baking, apparently. I’m not much of a baker, but I do have one or two recipes I enjoy making. I am particularly fond of Will Shetterly’s Finest-Kind Cookies, which he describes as “an open source recipe.” (Shetterly is a novelist – his stories are as good as his cookies). Therefore, in the spirit of open source, and because I’m in need of some advice, I present my variation on the theme.
Shetterly-Brett Finest Kind Cookies
¾ cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
1/8 cup water (or apple juice)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 bag (12 or 16 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Beat the butter, sugar, honey, egg, juice, and vanilla together until creamy. Combine the oats, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl, then mix them with the wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips, raisins, and cranberries to the batter last. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Here is where I need some help: these cookies are delicious, but they don’t hold together well. They tend to spread out, get crispy on the edges well before they’re cooked in the middle, and break up coming off the tray. How do I make them more cohesive?
Edited for update: Thanks for the many good suggestions here and elsewhere! I have been informed that the way one combines sugar and butter (and eggs) is important. Apparently I can learn more by watching an episode of Good Eats in which the three kinds of cookie (chewy, crispy, and soft) are explained. You all will make a baker of me yet!