Twenty-four years ago, I learned to make my favorite oatmeal cookie from my friend Andrew Schurmann who now lives in Keene, N.H. Andrew did most of the cooking then for himself and his wife, and ultimately three daughters, and acquired recipes the way lots of cooks do: by asking neighbors for them. The cookies are named for his neighbor, Byra, who lived near Andrew and Monique in Westerly, R.I.
The whole-wheat flour, brown sugar and oatmeal make these cookies slightly more wholesome than your average, but don’t think you can get away with eating them for breakfast. I suppose personal taste has a great deal to do with what kind of oatmeal cookie appeals to each of us. Some like thin and crisp, some like thin and chewy, some like soft and moist. These bake into a thin and fairly crisp species of oatmeal cookie. My niece who lives in Belfast has made these often enough for church functions that people now ask her to be sure to bring them.
You can use quick oats if that is what you have. I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats, which give you a better texture. Byra’s recipe calls for nuts, but I never use them. Since these cookies spread quite a bit in baking, make sure you leave them room. Yields will vary, of course, depending on how large you choose to make them.
Byra’s Oatmeal Cookies
Yields two to three dozen cookies, depending on size
½ cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1¼ cup oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a couple of cookie sheets. Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in egg. Sift together flour, salt and cinnamon, and add that to butter and sugar mixture. Fold in oats and raisins last. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes.