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I’m going to start posting family recipes every now and then. I have no problem with sharing them, and I’d rather send them out in the world to be used and reused and rewritten and passed along, than just have them sit in my files and then forgotten about after I’m long dead and poltergeisting it up in various museum dioramas and libraries – which is pretty much what I want to do post-life, but it would seriously cut down on my kitchen time. So here you go.

Grandma Chittenden’s Oatmeal Cookies

This is a recipe from my great-grandma on my father’s side. It’s changed a bit over the decades, but is largely intact from when she made them (about a century ago!). They can be chewy or crispy, depending on raisin amount and baking time.


• 1 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
• 1 cup brown sugar (I like dark brown but use light brown if that’s what you have)
• 1 cup white sugar
• 2 eggs, unbeaten
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1-½ cups flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp soda
• 3 cups oatmeal (regular Quaker Oats is what I use)
• ½ to 1 cup raisins (depending on how pro-raisin you are)
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (I use a bit more)
• I also add a small dash of cinnamon, a very small dash of nutmeg and a very small dash of allspice.


Mix the shortening and the brown and white sugar together. (I do all of this by hand, fyi)

Add the eggs and vanilla to the shortening/sugar mix.

Add all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, oatmeal) together, and then add to the mix.

Last, add raisins and nuts. When the dough is evenly mixed, drop large spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies in 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

When you take them out of the oven, cram one into your mouth. Swoon. You’ll want to follow with an ice-cold glass of milk.


Originally published at Livia Llewellyn.


Marine Autumn

I owe you marine autumn
With dankness at its roots
and fog like a grape
and the graceful sun of the country;
and the silent space
in which sorrows lose themselves
and only the bright crown
of joy comes to the surface.

--Pablo Neruda.

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