Recipe: English Oatmeal Crisps

An English family recipe finds a forever home in our American kitchens.

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I have so many Christmas food memories from my childhood, and I take great pride in keeping these wonderful food traditions alive. There is nothing better than a recipe passed along throughout the generations. Recipes like this one: my grandmother’s recipe for English Oatmeal Crisps. This is truly everyone’s favorite cookie.

My mother’s mother, my grandmother Esmé, was born in England. She was a performer and came to the United States at age 16 when she met my grandfather, who was also in the entertainment business. They met while my grandmother was performing at a show in England. Eventually, she made her way to the United States, where they ended up getting married and touring together.

The English Oatmeal Crisp recipe was passed along to my grandmother by her own mother. What makes it really unique, is that it is prepared in a frying pan with just a handful of ingredients. Once the ingredients come together over medium heat, the warm mixture is then dropped on cookie sheets and baked in the oven for only ten minutes. It is so incredibly easy. The cookies are similar to lace cookies, but I find that the English Oatmeal Crisps are much lighter, and more flavorful. They are made with rich dark brown sugar, and are simply heavenly.

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When I was a young girl, my grandmother would make these cookies at my house every Christmas, and I would often help her. I can hear her voice telling me to make them small when placed on the cookie sheet, and to always flatten them so they get nice and thin and crisp. My own mother loves these cookies as well, and every time we went visiting over the holidays my mother would whip up a batch or two to give away. To this day people still ask her to make them.

I have carried on the tradition, and I can almost make the cookies in my sleep. They are that familiar to me. I started baking them with a friend back when I was in high school. We made all kinds of cookies to give away to people as gifts. The English Oatmeal Crisps were our number one cookie. Every year we would get requests to make them again the following year. Now my own children beg me for them. Like my mom, I make several batches during the holidays which I end up giving away, but I always have a bunch stashed for my own family. And just so you know, if you leave cookies out for Santa, I have to say, the English Oatmeal Crips are his favorite too.

I hope that you enjoy this wonderful cookie recipe that is so near and dear to my heart. Although my grandmother is no longer here, I can almost feel her presence by my side when I make her English Oatmeal Crisps. Her memory will always live on through these special cookies.

English Oatmeal Crisps

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups Quaker oats
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • ¼ butter (one stick)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add brown sugar and mix until blended.
  3. Add oatmeal, baking powder, vanilla and egg.
  4. Stir quickly so egg incorporates, and remove from the heat.
  5. Drop by 1 teaspoon on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (or they may stick).
  6. Flatten each cookie with your finger.
  7. Bake 10 minutes until brown. Remove when cool. Enjoy!

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Kerriann Flanagan Brosky

Seven-time, award winning author and historian Kerriann Flanagan Brosky is best known for her Ghosts of Long Island books and her inspirational novel The Medal. She has been featured in a number of publications, and has appeared on radio and television. She is the co-author of Delectable Italian Dishes for Family and Friends with Sal Baldanza. Historic Haunts of Long Island: Ghosts and Legends from the Gold Coast to Montauk Point is her latest book. When not writing Kerriann spends her time cooking. Visit her at www.kerriannflanaganbrosky.com.