National holidays and bank holidays can leave me a little disgruntled, this one is particularly confusing in that it’s on a Tuesday. It’s a stuttered repetition of Sunday…on a Tuesday. Here in Germany, Sundays and holidays are taken very seriously; the shops are closed, cafe and restaurant opening times are sporadic and the streets are eerily quiet until late morning. Today we awoke to the sound of gentle rain on the windows. Autumn has officially arrived, and not just the pretty, red-flushed version. The weather is cold, squally and relentlessly grey. I voted myself hunter-gatherer this morning and ventured out to der Beck to buy rolls and croissants with the rest of the bleary-eyed Nürnberg population. It was truly miserable and I scurried home, scowling up the stairs (the elevator is still broken) and chewed my way anxiously through breakfast. As my husband pointed out, it’s not so much fun eating a big breakfast when you haven’t an adventure planned for afterwards. Instead we cleared up and I drifted about for 20 minutes before digging out my laptop and beginning a little research on cinnamon-raisin cookies. The kitchen cupboards turned up some spelt flour, brown sugar, raisins and a handful of unloved walnuts. In the fridge I found the remnants of some clementine butter. Still in my pyjamas, I dragged forth my little lemon-yellow Kenwood and whipped up a majestic pile of big, chewy, oaty cookies; crisp around the edges, soft and yielding in the centre. I am bolstered by the knowledge that, even if the rain doesn’t relent and we’re forced to spend the rest of the holiday cooped up inside, at least I can proudly point to my batch of cookies and say, “Today, I created something beautiful.”
If all else really fails I’ll just eat another four and sooth myself with their cinnamon-scented crumb until I fall asleep on the sofa…
(I like to bake American-inspired recipes in cups. Somehow brownies, rice-krispie squares, cupcakes and granola are all-the-more satisfying to bake when I’m digging out cups of flour straight from the bag or watching the slow ooze of honey dribble from the cup into the mixing bowl. Baking with cups makes baking feel less like a science and more like the comforting child’s play I want it to be.)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup demerara sugar (rohrzucker)
1 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp salt
zest 1 orange
½ cup raisins
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
3 cups oats (2 cups large, 1 cups quick-cook if possible)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C (Fan) and line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ¼ cup of flour and beat until combined.
- Combine the rest of the flour, salt, spices, bicarb and baking powder and add to the wet ingredients. Mix together thoroughly.
- Fold in the oats, walnuts and raisins.
- Scoop heaped tablespoonful’s of the mixture and dollop roughly onto the baking sheet leaving plenty of room to spread (roughly 9 cookies to a standard sheet).
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until slightly golden.
- Allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet for five minutes before attempting to move them to a cooling rack.
- Once cool store in an airtight tin ( a tin is better than a plastic container) and crack them out every time the kettle boils.