My mother's Great-Aunt Eugenia was, I am told, quite a character. The lucky relatives who visited her throughout her life have vivid memories of the meals that she served them. She apparently loved her rituals, and was very fond of tea time. She regularly held elevenses and foursies (tea-time held at eleven and four) at which tea and cookies were served. My grandmother still makes a cookie recipe passed down from her aunt Eugenia, which are a perfectly delicate and ladylike snack. I was more than happy to oblige my mother, who has been wanting to try (the results of) this recipe for quite some time. The sugar and butter form a fancy lacy sort of crispy caramel structure, and presence of oatmeal keeps them grounded and homey.
Aunt Eugenia's Lacy Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (melted)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 (I like to cut up the stick of butter, put it in a pie tin and stick it in the oven to melt at this point).
Mix the egg, sugar, oatmeal, salt and vanilla together. Mix the flour and baking powder together and then mix with the melted butter. Now mix the butter mixture in with the oatmeal mixture and stir until combined.
Line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.*
Put 1/2 tsp of the mixture on the parchment lined sheets, leaving plenty of space between each cookie (they spread).
Bake for 6 minutes and check on them. (I cooked them for 6 minutes, turned them, and cooked them for 1 more minute to get them evenly golden).
Cool the cookies, sliding the parchment paper off of the cookie sheets, and then peel the cookies off and place them on waxed paper on a cookie rack to cool further. Store them in a cool place in a sealed container, using sheets of waxed paper to separate the layers.
*I tried various different butter/parchment paper scenarios. Just butter and no parchment paper did not work. Parchment paper worked really well, just let them cool for a few minutes on the parchment paper (but off of the hot pan), and peel them off. Buttered parchment paper worked well also - the cookies came off equally well after cooling. They seemed to spread thinner and were a little "lacier," but they were also a little more oddly shaped. The verdict: definitely use parchment paper, buttering it is optional.