Monday, December 19, 2011

New Traditions

Christmas Whale, 2011

We've added a small tree, clearly inspired by Charlie Brown, complete with felted acorn and papier-mâché whale, to our holiday spirit collection. I also made some cookies. Chris mistakenly bought a mint chocolate bar versus simple dark chocolate, so we just went with it. These cookies are so good and super simple. And almost gone.

Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies
makes about 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F and gather your ingredients.

1/4 pound (1 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fleurs de sel
1 1/2 cups whole grain oats
1 3/4 ounces (half 3.5 oz bar) dark mint chocolate bar rough cut into 1/2 inch pieces

In a medium bowl mix softened butter and sugar with a fork until creamy.

Add egg to butter and sugar
and mix well.

pour flour, baking soda, and fleurs de sel on top of butter sugar egg mixture, without blending the dry ingredients into the wet.

Stir the flour mixture very gently as it sits atop the butter, sugar, egg mixture. The goal is to combine and evenly distribute the dry ingredients before mixing them into the wet ingredients (no need to wash a second bowl).

Combine flour mixture with butter, sugar, egg mixture, evenly distributing all ingredients.

Stir in oats.

Stir in chocolate pieces.

Place tablespoon size rounds of dough onto cookie sheet.

Bake for about 8 minutes and then keep a close eye on your cookies. You want them to just start to dry on top and be light brown on the bottom.

Cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and move to wire rack.

They are really good warm.


These cookies made me miss you, Marshall Field & Company. I miss your Christmas tree in your Walnut Room and your Frango Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and your animated Christmas window displays on State Street. Those cold winter trips downtown I began adoring as a little girl just aren't the same without you. Thank you for the memories...

Marshall Field was famous for his slogan "Give the lady what she wants." A wise man.


  1. Cookies, especially the oatmeal variety, are really good warm. Thanks for the reminder. Every once in a while we pop our favorite coconut oatmeal into the toaster oven while the espresso is singing.

  2. Tracy, I am a big fan of coconut. Another excellent addition to the oatmeal cookie.

  3. I'm captivated by the papier maché ornament. What a whale of a time he'll have on your festive tree, even if some people think he's a fishy sort of ornament for the season. They're wrong, he's in the right plaice. And probably didn't set you back to the tuna very much.

  4. Thanks, Janis. I know I love it.

    mise, My husband likes whales, and I like a happy husband, so I agree, Mr. Christmas Whale is in precisely the right place.

  5. I love that tree! Have a wonderful Christmas.

  6. Wow Mise went over the top with that one.

    Quite a fish tale.

    I love your sweet little tree. Pet it for me okay?

    xo Jane

  7. That whale is hands down the best. Happy Christmas, Denise.

  8. I love the tree. I can smell the chocolate mint cookies from here. Soft, warm and gooey

  9. Cute tree! I held a cookie exchange last night and two different people revealed the use of whole wheat flour is undetectable in oatmeal cookies - a revelation! I see you are already well aware!

  10. I have to agree with the crowd here. That whale is incredible. I'm jewish, so no tree, although, one of these days I'm highly considering a hannukah bush just because I love adorable ornaments.

  11. I really think everyone should have a papier-mâché whale on their tree - really it wouldn't be Christmas without one.

  12. i love your tree and the marshall fields quote :)
    it's a nice picture- calm, nice lighting and with a peak of the cake stand

  13. What cookie (or baked item for that matter) isn't good really warm? ;) Those sound delicious and I think the dark mint chocolate is perfect for the time of year. Good mistake Chris! I think your Charlie Brown tree is perfect.

  14. I love your Charlie Brown tree! Happy holidays to you and yours, Denise. xo

  15. Love the tree, the cookies (even though I'm disgusted with myself after the pignoli cookies and most of all the Marshall Field quote.

  16. lovely.
    both the tree and the cookie recipe.
    be well.

  17. Hear, hear to Charlie Brown Christmas trees! And I must try that cookie recipe. Sounds scrumptious.

  18. I really like that Christmas Whale! thanks for sharing your Chicago memories.
    have a merry-merry, Denise!

  19. I love your 2nd bowl avoidance technique, a girl after my own heart.

  20. Denise, Hope you have a very Merry Christmas! Love the tree!

  21. I made these and they turned out wonderfully! Thanks so much. I love this blog!