After some literal trailblazing through Oregon and California, my husband and I unknowingly drove through dozens of wildfires throughout Southern Oregon, we homesteaded in Berkeley, California 2 weeks ago. We are finally feeling somewhat settled and trying to accept the fact that we are now California residents, well not legally, I like my Oregon drivers license photo too much to change that. Our trek down consisted of a 2 day Clampett style car ride filled to the brim with our dearest possessions, including the dog perched on every pillow, blanket and down comforter we own. She literally slept the entire journey. We stopped for the night in a smoke riddled Grants Pass and awoke to sore throats, scratchy eyes and streets full of locals wandering the streets while donning the latest trends in gas mask fashions. It was as surreal as it was smoky and we were happy to hit the trails and head for the Redwoods. We spent a few hours exploring the enchanting redwood forest along the Avenue of the Giants. It felt good to breath in the clear crisp redwood filtered air and release all of the Oregon smoke from our lungs. The dog refused to get back in the car and insisted on staying forever, I easily could have been convinced.
Once we wrangled her back into the puffy cloud-like backseat, she settled in for the last leg of our journey. We arrived late Thursday night and promptly blew up an air mattress and zonked out almost immediately. The next morning our trailer was delivered and we went into beast mode, unloading that thing in less than 3 hours (with the solicited help of our dear cousin and soon to be city buddy, Blake).
Over the next few days we set up the new house just in time for our Oregon family to crash here for the big family reunion down in Morgan Hill. They stayed for just under a week and we crammed in a lot of touristy action and family get togethers. Including, a Giants game, The Embarcadero, Ghirardelli Square, The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and a missed boat ride out to Alcatraz (whoops). Good times called for good eats, so I made cookies.
Adjusting to a new home is always challenging. Dialing in the kitchen takes time but I think I am close. My favorite thing about my new kitchen is this giant shelving unit that I have turned into my own personal Bakers Wharf. It’s serving as harbor for all of my baking tools and supplies.
I didn’t bring a lot down from the other kitchen but I had the basic larder and some pecans, chocolate chips and coconut. I figured I should use up what I had before loading up again at the Berkeley Bowl (an amazing local grocery store and my new hangout). By using the ingredients I already had at our new home on the range, I threw them together and created what I call Pioneer Cookies. They turned out to be as tasty as they were satisfying, keeping the family fed while we got settled into our new Californy home.
The cookies came out great and I am slowly getting used to my new life in California. Let’s all raise a cookie to pioneering new paths and new recipes.
- all purpose flour - 2 cups
- baking soda - 1 teaspoon
- baking powder - 3/4 teaspoon
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- granulated sugar - 1 cup
- brown sugar - 1 cup - lightly packed
- eggs at room temperature - 2
- pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- rolled oats - 2 cups
- dark chocloate chips - 3/4 cup
- milk chocolate chips - 3/4 cup
- toasted pecans - 3/4 cup
- coconut flake - 3/4 cup
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Once the oven is preheated, bake the pecans for 8-10 minutes until they begin to darken and give off a nutty aroma. Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until fluffy and light in color. Be sure to scrape down the bowl a few times during the process.
- Adjust the mixer to a low speed and slowly add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla (I like to crack the eggs and add the vanilla in a measuring cup before adding it to the butter and sugar mixture). Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once. Mix just until the eggs are incorporated.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the butter and sugar.
- Combine the oats, chocolate chips, coconut and pecans in the same bowl you used for the dry ingredients, then add them into the mix with the mixer on low speed. Mix until everything is well distributed.
- Use a cookie scoop to form the dough into ping pong size balls. Arrange on a prepared cookie sheet and press into 1/2 inch thick disks.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The edges of the cookies will begin to brown and the middle should appear slightly underdone.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets. They will continue to cook and should be crunchy on the edges with a warm and chewy center.