As a child I loved spending days with my grandparents. They lived on a huge farm and I pretty much got run of the place. It was a child’s paradise! I even got to take some of the animals home as pets. I had a beautiful Bantam rooster that I brought home. The rooster did not stay home long though. He fell in love with a hen across the road from us. When the weather was good I played under the China Berry tree in the front yard or walked to the creek to pick blackberries. Out back was a big metal container where my grandfather crushed sugar cane for syrup. Sometimes you could find me there or in the barn with all the hay. It was the perfect place for kids and I have many fond memories.
They grew a variety of things from cotton to corn as well as pecans and walnuts. In the fall big green things resembling apples fell from the black walnut tree and we would gather them. My grandmother stored them to dry out and the covering would turn black. Around Thanksgiving if the weather outside was cold she would give my sister and I the black walnuts to crack and pick the meat out of the shell. We would sit in front of the fireplace in the kitchen for hours retrieving this wonderful nut ! It is not an easy job. First you remove the black covering from the shell. We did it with a hammer and screw driver. Next the hardest shell ever is cracked. Lastly the meat is removed. My grandmother would then store them for the earthy flavor to develop before putting them in her wonderful cakes and cookies. It is hard work shelling black walnuts so the next time you have to pay $6.00 for a cup of black walnuts don’t complain. It is all worth it!
This is a special cookie recipe. I have the original that I copied while sitting in the floor of Walden’s bookstore in Cumberland Mall. It was thirty years ago. I have made these cookies numerous times at home, but the recipe was shared with my students as a great example of a slice and bake cookie. The slice and bake rolls can be frozen and taken out at the drop of a hat for freshly baked cookies. And there is nothing like the taste! It’s the black walnuts that make them so special so don’t substitute them for pecans or regular walnuts. The flavor will not be the same!
Here is another tip. Sometimes it is hard to get the rolls round, but save the cardboard in the middle of rolls of paper towel. Make a cut lengthwise and place the cookie dough rolled in wax paper in the cardboard and presto round cookies.
I know that you will love this recipe and it will become one of your standbys.
Slice and Bake Oatmeal Cookies from Crisco
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
- 1 cup Crisco Shortening
- OR 1 stick Crisco Baking Sticks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup finely chopped black walnuts (make sure they are finely chopped or the slices will not hold together)
COMBINE shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large bowl; beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add vanilla.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add to shortening mixture; blend well. Stir in oats and walnuts.
SHAPE dough into two 8-inch rolls. Wrap in waxed paper or clear plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 3 hours. Dough can be frozen for a couple of months. Let it defrost in refrigerator before slicing.
HEAT oven to 350ºF. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease. Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
BAKE 8 to 10 minutes. I like mine crispy so I prefer 12 minutes. Cool for at least 1 minute on pan.
REMOVE and cool on rack. Baked cookies can be frozen for a couple of months.
Here’s how to slice them. Notice they are a little crumbly. Just press together with your fingers.