Summer comes along with blisteringly hot sunshine days.
The heat is humid and heavy, and the occasional gust of wind blows air that is hot and thick against your face, just like the heat which gushes out of the oven when you first open it, to pull out the vanilla pound cake or cherry chocolate muffins you were baking.
Because such humidity and denseness in the air is not unfamiliar to me, and is commonplace where I lived and spent most of my life in Singapore, it’s not surprising that my thoughts have been unconsciously returning back home. And by home, I mean my South East Asian hometown Singapore, which is 30 hours away by flight from where I currently live, in Buenos Aires.
A wave of nostalgia occasionally sweeps over me.
Thoughts of familiarity and my island nation also lead me down the path of nostalgia to my family, and in particular my mum, for whom it must have been the hardest when I announced my decision to move across the world, and then later really did pack my bags and settled in Argentina, South America.
Of course, next month I will be there with my mum and family in the flesh, a yearly ritual that I now hold immensely dear. A journey back home, a place where friends from my youth have known me forever, and with whom I have discussed dreams and visions for my future. And I am bursting with excitement, with pure anxiety and joy.
But still, even though I am so near to being home, there’s nothing which comes close to actually being back in the welcoming arms and company of my beloved family and friends.
Nothing which comes quite close, except for the smell of freshly baking oatmeal cookies wafting in the kitchen, and of course, eating them.
These classic oatmeal cookies were what my mum baked us for so many years in our later childhood, when we started to appreciate baked goods other than just the orange zest pound cake my siblings and I indulged in and used to fight over.
My mum’s oven specialty, these cookies always remind me of her, no matter which corner of the world I eat them in.
The color of golden-brown honey, every bite of these crunchy cookies spills with the buttery taste of sweet, crispy oatmeal.
When eaten warm, just after they have slightly cooled from the heat of the oven, they almost dissolve in your mouth, melting in a deliciously sweet mess.
I first made these cookies when I started cooking a year ago, and even though my baking skills hadn’t fully developed yet, they still turned out surprisingly close to the way my mum makes them.
These are the kind of fool-proof cookies anyone can bake, to bring to a pot-luck, to invite friends with when they drop by for tea, and the sort of cookies that almost everyone has a fondness for.
CLASSIC OATMEAL COOKIES (Makes 2 dozen cookies)
Adapted from my mum’s recipe
Linking up with Walking on Sunshine!
1) 225g of butter
2) 1 cup of sugar
3) 1 cup of self-raising flour
4) 2 cups of quick cooking oats
5) Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of chopped pecans (or any other type of nut or dried fruit you fancy)
1) Melt butter and mix sugar with it in a large mixing bowl till sugar has dissolved.
2) Sift the flour and add it to the butter and sugar mix, then add the oats and chopped nuts
3) Stir well until it achieves a homogenous texture
4) Using a teaspoon, scoop up 1 teaspoon of batter, and then form a small ball by rolling it between your palms
5) Place the balls of batter on a greased baking tray, leaving about 3 cm of space between each ball until the tray is full
6) Bake in oven at around 170 deg celcius (medium heat for gas oven) for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start turning golden brown
7) Once finished baking, use a spatula to move the cookies to a plate to cool