I am a notoriously bad gift giver. There’s no excuse for it; I am just not gifted at giving gifts. My dad is probably the biggest victim of my bad gifts. One year for his birthday I picked up a book for him at KMart simply titled “Running.” Basically, it was a guide filled with rudimentary instructions and illustrations on how to run. I’m not sure it even had an author. It’s excusable because I was ten. What’s inexcusable was giving him Roger Ebert’s Video Companion 1995; I was 21 and no longer had the alibi of being a child to lean on. I do want to give good gifts, I just get frustrated and flustered when I can’t come up with something thoughtful.
So this week, gifts are on the minds of most with the holidays coming up, but I’m struggling with a different kind of gift. A dear friend of mine just had a baby. This woman is such an amazing person and such an amazing friend, giving her something to celebrate her baby to match her staggering awesomeness and my appreciation for her is… overwhelming. Knitting her my signature baby booties (I used to make these for all my expecting friends) just didn’t seem like enough. I wanted to make something no one would give her or could give her. So I’m giving her a cookie.
This is not just any cookie. This is a Lila Clementine cookie. Lila Clementine is the name of my inspiration and recipient of my gift.
So what do you put in a cookie for a baby you’ve never met, who can’t eat yet and still make it personal? I don’t know either; I am, as I’ve mentioned, a terrible gift giver. But this my best attempt at connecting a confection to a cherub.
Clementine was the one ingredient I chose to build around (it’s pretty obvious). There aren’t many clementine recipes floating around, but transforming it into a cookie made the most sense because a) kids love cookies b) she’s being raised in a New York apartment and cookies are simple enough to put together in the tiniest of kitchens and c) cookies are even easy to make for people who have no baking inclinations (my friend is a New Yorker, not a baker).
My boiled down reasons for the rest of the ingredients:
- Craisins because cranberries pair well with oranges
- Oatmeal because craisins in a smooth dough would be weird
- A scant amount of macadamia nuts and white chocolate because everything to a baby — sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and texture — is unexpected, I want to make every bite a surprise. Additionally, the flavors aren’t bold enough to take away from the clementine (zest) and craisins.
So. My gift:
Lila Clementine Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp clementine zest
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts
- ¼ cup craisins
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- In a mixing bowl (with a stand mixer or hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar on low speed until it’s well combined.
- Add egg, vanilla and zest and continue mixing until it’s smooth.
- Whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour.
- Add the flour mixture and the oats to the sugar mixture and continue mixing until you have a nice dough.
- Mix in the chocolate, nuts and craisins.
- Spoon the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Let cool for ten minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.
Fingers crossed Lila Clementine doesn’t end up being allergic to any of the ingredients (particularly the clementines). I suppose it would also help if my friend, her husband and Lila like the cookies because there is no re-gifting this present 🙂