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The Yankee Express

Healthier Baking in the Blackstone Valley

by Christine Galeone

For the Grafton Business Scene column, which I’ve written for several years, I sometimes write about the wonderful ways that communities come together to support local businesses, organizations and neighbors in need. And while, sometimes, it may seem trite to extoll the virtues of close-knit communities, the truth is that their incredible value is often underestimated.
The members of these communities are generally of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, income levels, political ideologies and lifestyles. But when an unforeseen disaster strikes a small business, a food pantry needs more resources to feed the hungry, or a local family needs support, they come together as one to meet the vital needs and to inspire other communities to do the same.
These community cookies are a combination of three classic ones. Oatmeal cookies are strong, no-nonsense treats that you can rely on. Jam thumbprint cookies are colorful and more whimsical and child-like. And chocolate-chip cookies are comforting, warm and sweet. 
If you bake cookies regularly, you know how many recipes call for an obscene amount of sugar.  And many of them produce a relatively small amount of cookies. It’s just not necessary.
These cookies are packed with nutritious ingredients. The oats are healthy for your heart. The dark chocolate chips provide antioxidants. And the cinnamon provides antioxidants as well.

Community Cookies
2 ½ cups of old-fashioned or quick oats
1 cup of dark chocolate chips
1 ¼ cups of flour
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. of baking soda
½ tsp. of salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (slightly softened)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (except the oats and chocolate chips).
In a separate large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar together.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix well.
Gradually combine the mixed dry ingredients with the mixed wet ingredients.
Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop the cookie dough onto a baking sheet.
Form each scoop of dough into a ball, and press a thumbprint into the center of each one.
Fill the thumbprints with jam.
Bake at 350 degrees for around 12-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks or plates. Enjoy!
Makes about 60 cookies

Close-knit communities are nothing short of amazing. When people and organizations, who want to make a positive difference, unite, their accomplishments can be limitless, lifesaving and awe-inspiring. And every community needs cookies – and donuts, but they’re not as healthy. Happy (healthier) baking!