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During the cold weather months, the churches in our town take turns opening their doors to homeless men by providing them with a home cooked dinner, and a warm place to sleep for the night. As part of that ministry, our church asks parishioners to volunteer to cook and serve the meals – and for the last few years, my husband Jack has signed up several times throughout the winter.
Cooking for the homeless is something that Jack has done for many years – long before I knew him! During his food service career – if there was leftover food from an event – Jack would often donate it to a local shelter rather than seeing it go to waste. And years ago, after his divorce, Jack often spent holidays cooking and serving food at a local shelter while his older children spent the day at their mother’s house. During our first year of dating, both Jack and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday cooking and serving dinner at that same local shelter!
As ‘foodies’ ourselves who appreciate a hot, home cooked meal – we both feel that providing these meals are just one small thing that we can do to help others less fortunate than ourselves. Jack always goes out of his way to make a good hearty meal that he thinks the men will enjoy – and my job is to make the dessert!
This past weekend, we made these delicious Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies for the men – an easy and super delicious cinnamon oatmeal cookie packed with (as you can probably guess from the name) sweet dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts! Jack – who is a huge oatmeal raisin cookie fan – called these cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies ‘the best cookies in the world!’
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat shortening and both sugars at medium speed until completely mixed. Add eggs and vanilla mix well. Add flour mixture and mix until completely combined and smooth. On low speed or by hand, stir in oats, dried cranberries and walnuts.
- Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoons, drop rounded tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets, approximately 2-inches apart.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until a light golden brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then remove onto wire cooling racks to finish cooling completely.
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