I love the story of Strega Nona, the benevolent witch that can cure headaches, find maidens husbands, and feed the village with her magic pasta pot. I want a magic pasta pot, don’t you? I can certainly understand why her good hearted, but a bit scattered brained assistant, Big Anthony, found it fascinating. To be very honest, I’m not sure if I’m impressed with the quantity of food that spews from the pot or the immediate gratification of uttering a few chosen words, and tah dah, prepared food, home cooked no less, ready to eat.
Well, I’m not Strega Nona… I can’t cure warts and I don’t have a magic pasta pot, but what I do have is a Magic Cookie Bag in my freezer with frozen uncooked cookie balls, ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice. You will often hear me say that I never cook just enough of anything! I always make more of whatever I’m making so it can be used as lunches, frozen, or given away. I find it to be a great time saving practice. It takes almost the same amount of time to make two meatloaves as it does to make one. Yet, if you make 2, you can slice up the second one after it’s cooled, and freeze individual slices to make sandwiches or to reheat with a veggie for a home cooked version of what use to called… T.V. Dinners.
I do the same with most sturdy cookies. Chocolate chip, oatmeal and peanut butter cookie batter holds up well to freezing. This is how I normally make cookies. To begin with, I double the recipe. Then I divide the dough in half. From one half I bake a dozen yummy smelling cookies, and place the remainder of that half in a sealed container
and put it in the fridge. Over the next few days I’ll bake the rest of the cookies as needed, filling the house with an irresistible aroma (who needs expensive potpourri?) and offering cookies as God intended them… freshly baked, hot out of the oven!
With the other half of the dough, I use my cookie scoop to shape the remainder of the dough in uniform little balls, and place them very close together on a jelly roll pan.
I then place the entire pan in the freezer. When the cookie balls are thoroughly frozen, I remove them from the freezer and place them in a Ziplock freezer bag. Warning!!! If you are skimmish about consuming raw eggs do not read the next sentence. In the summer, these frozen cookie balls are apt to disappear from the freezer before I can ever cook them!
(Note: I reuse my cookie bags over and over again. I always date them, and when I empty the bag, I leave it in the freezer so no harmful bugs can grow in the bag, and it is ready to be reused the next time I make a batch to freeze. The same bag can be used for months.)
Strega Nona, I’m not. But when the grandbabies come over and want a warm yummy treat, we pull out Gammy’s Magic Cookie Bag, pop a few on a cookie sheet, and in less than 15 minutes… milk and fresh baked cookies all around!
Here is a recipe for traditional Oatmeal Scotchies found on the bag of Nestles Butterscotch Morsels. I have made a couple of changes. I use half the morsels that are called for, and I add cinnamon and chopped pecans. Remember to double the recipe and freeze half. Then, when the mood strikes, you can be just like Strega Nona, wave your magic spatula, and before you know it… cookies for everyone!
OATMEAL SCOTCHIE COOKIES
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups oatmeal, uncooked (I prefer old fashioned to instant, but both can be used)
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine butter, brown sugar, eggs and water. Beat until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture. Mix in the oatmeal until well blended. Add the butterscotch morsels and chopped nuts and mix well. Place a rounded tablespoons of cookie dough on baking sheet. (I LOVE using a cookie scoop since it makes the cookies uniform and them bake evenly.) Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Directions for Baking Frozen Cookie Balls
It will take a few minutes longer to bake the cookies since they are frozen. Every oven is different and handles frozen food differently, so experiment. For my oven I reduce the oven temperature to 350, and bake for 15 minutes.