Inspired Woman Magazine

Flood Cookies

by Pam Vukelic

When I’m writing this, it is the middle of June. Fourteen million sandbags have been prepared and placed in and around Bismarck and Mandan. The release of water from the dam has just reached 150 cfs, and for many, the waiting begins. It is an uncertain time, to say the least, as people check sump pumps, watch for ground water, patrol dikes, and take frequent trips, sometimes by boat, to check the current status of a residence they had to leave. There is much uncertainty and much anxiety.

For others, it is not so uncertain. Water has already inundated basements and the main floor of homes, and valiant efforts proved futile. Now they wait to see what possibilities there may be regarding restoring or salvaging their homes. There is much anxiety.

We live in the middle of town and, consequently, are not in harm’s way, or presumably not even in harm’s way if there is a worst case scenario. We are fortunate and grateful. We did move Jim’s mom, Irene, who is well into her 80s, in with us for a few days. If she has to leave her apartment suddenly, we have a trial run under our belts.

Irene has always been a motivated and ambitious person. In recent years, as her mobility has declined, she’s occupied her time primarily with reading and baking treats for family members. She has a long list of favorites from which to draw and we receive frequent phone calls saying she has a pan of Brownies, a batch of Ginger Snaps, or a Tator Tot Hotdish that we should come down and pick up.

Living at our house, away from nearly everything familiar to her but her recliner, Irene was a little down in the dumps. She said, amidst the close monitoring of all the news reports regarding river levels, dike preparation, and road closings, that she “just felt so useless.” I said, “Irene, I’m about to put you to work!” We baked four different kinds of cookies, making several batches of each recipe. As soon as they cooled, Irene bagged them up in pairs in sandwich bags and lined trays with neat rows of cookies. It took us hours, and I said to Irene, “You must be getting tired.” She sat at the kitchen table, standing occasionally to reach a far-off tray, but neatly and carefully preparing all those little bundles of cookies, and said, “I’m so glad to be doing this, and it is good for me, too.” I delivered all the cookies to the snack hut at the Raging Rivers sand bag fill site, and, hopefully, if you were working there, you were able to take a very short break and enjoy a couple cookies.

Much has been said about the community spirit that emerged when the flood preparations were in full swing. It turns out there was a job for everyone, even if you had recently celebrated your 88th birthday.

Now Grandma Irene has a few new recipes to add to her favorites list. These all came from the package of one of the ingredients in the recipe, and were chosen simply because I had the ingredients on hand. We’ll remember them as “flood cookies.”
*****
Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

1 1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
2 ½ c flour
2 t soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t salt
6 c oatmeal
1 11oz pkg butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl until well-blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well-blended. Stir in oatmeal and chips; mix well. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes – until golden. Cool slightly before removing to rack.
*****
Ghiradelli Macadamia White Chip Cookies

2 c butter
3 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
1 T vanilla
4 eggs
6 c flour
1 t soda
2 t salt
2 c white “chocolate” chips
1 ½ c macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Blend in flour, soda, and salt. Stir in white chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
*****

Vanishing Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
½ c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 ½ c flour
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t salt
3 c oatmeal
1 c Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add combined flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and Craisins; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan 1 minute before removing to rack.
*****
Oatmeal Reese’s Mini Pieces Cookies

1 1/3 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 t soda
1 t salt
1/4 c milk
3 c oatmeal
1 1/3 c Reese’s mini pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet. Beat shortening and sugars in large bowl until fluffy, beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, soda and salt; add alternately with milk mixture. Stir in oatmeal and Reese’s pieces. Drop by spoonfuls and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool briefly on baking sheet before removing to rack.

Inspired Woman Magazine

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