i have found the perfect cookie. my only criteria was that it would retain its softness after it had fully cooled from the oven. i have an 8 1/2 x 11" page recipe in my folder with the words "best cookie recipe ever" scrawled across it in a sharpie. i thought i would archive it here in the event that i lose that piece of paper. epicur-ating the recipe, i came across a four-fork recipe that involves cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and orage zest (?), but for now, this recipe is tops.
i grew up in a house without butter, and as a child, all the cookies i made (i say "i" because my mom is a fantastic cook) inevitably melted themselves flat in the oven and hardened after 10 minutes. a very wonderful roommate introduced me to the wonders of butter on my beloved bread and i soon realized its necessity in baking. in an attempt to achieve something like the divine consistency of a UBC Blue Chip Cookie, figuring that it could only be attributed to the fattiest substance know to man, the super-crispening property of shortening was a lesson quickly learned. i poured through martha's recipes, looking for keywords like "soft" or "super-soft." one cookie that boasted such promises called for bananas and came out of the oven very much like a muffin top. i found this recipe randomly, and not only does it call for good old fashioned margarine, but the cookies stay soft!
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 packages instant oatmeal
semisweet chocolate chips to taste
chopped pecans to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 heavy large baking sheets. Beat margarine and both sugars in large bowl until fluffy and well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, the vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda and salt over margarine mixture and stir to blend. Mix in oats, the chocolate chips and pecans.
Working in batches, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store cookies airtight at room temperature.)