My mom didn't have a large cookbook collection, but she did own The Silver Palate Cookbook. After she died, I added her copy to my bookshelf.
I think every self-respecting New Yorker who observed food trends during the yuppy years knew about Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso's specialty foods store in Manhattan. When their book was first published, people snapped it up and started curing their own gravlax and making pesto and aioli in droves. (Workman Publishing Group published a 25th anniversary edition of the cookbook last year, though my mom's copy -- which I'm looking at now -- clearly has a 1979 copyright. So our book actually turned 28 last year, thank you very much.)
The book is worn, but my mom didn't cook from it all that much. She worked full-time, and though she appreciated fine food, she didn't spend hours in the kitchen. That said, she always had upscale fixings in the house: capers, good olive oil, dark chocolate, stinky cheese. I think her palate and the Silver Palate were quite similar, which may be why she bought the book in the first place.
Over the years I tried several recipes, always with great success. Recently, when I monkeyed with the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, a gaggle of young boys announced their approval by strewing crumbs throughout the house. I doubt they knew I scaled back on the saturated fat and sugar and incorporated more whole grains into their treats. If they did notice, they clearly didn't care.
The cookies disappeared.
Recipe for Healthier Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Fruit Trio
This recipe was inspired by the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies in the original Silver Palate Cookbook (Workman, 1979). I swapped a little canola oil for some of the butter, added dried cranberries and golden raisins, used some whole wheat pastry flour, and cut down on the sugar. (I probably could have cut it even more, so feel free to do so.) The result is a crispy cookie (rather than a soft, chewy one) that you can feel especially good about serving to kids.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups oats (I used old-fashioned)
1 cup dried fruit (I used equal amounts raisins, golden raisins, and dried cranberries)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and two sugars on medium-high speed until very creamy and well incorporated. Whisk together the oil, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Add to the butter mixture and continue beating until very light, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, sift together the two flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Turn the mixer off, dump in the flour mixture, and beat on medium speed for about a minute. Stir in the oats and dried fruit.
Using an ice cream scoop (mine was 1-1/2-inches in diameter), portion the dough and place the mounds onto four parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheets. (Work in batches if necessary.) Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, reversing the position of the cookie sheets about halfway through.
Cool on a wire rack. Store airtight.