From the age of five, my parents would pack up the three of us kids and our golden retriever, and we would take the two and a half hour ferry ride over to Salt Spring Island. There, we would bunk up in a one bedroom cabin for the month of July and spend the long summer days swimming, making bracelets, wandering around the Saturday market, and of course, eating our favourite local treats. Salt Spring Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands in the Straight of Georgia between mainland BC and Vancouver Island. This island is known for its artists and craftspeople, creating and selling anything from handmade soaps to willow bark baskets. Here, you can find loads of inspiration when it comes to creating in the kitchen. Salt Spring Island is dotted with organic farms that specialize in everything from veggies to goat cheese to wine. You can often see signs at the side of the road that offer farm-fresh produce that uses the honour system as payment. Just put your money in the box and take your change! Although at first glance this island appears to cater towards those who are seeking an alternative lifestyle, for many people it’s a place to escape the bustle of city life. To this day our family still escapes to our little piece of heaven on the lake.
This recipe is inspired by the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie recipe found in the Salt Spring Island Cookbook. This recipe, along with many other recipes in this book, were staples in our home growing up and continue to feature at family dinners to this day. I’ll be honest with you, I am NOT a baker. Anything to do with measuring ingredients and following instructions has me running for the hills. However, this recipe is so quick and easy that it has even converted me into a baker for the day.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Fruit
Prep time: 20 minutes (+ 30 minutes refrigeration) Bake time: 15 minutes Yields 30 cookies
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¼ cup boiling water
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour, all purpose
½ tsp salt
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
½ cup dried apricots, chopped into ½ inch pieces
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
NOTE: You can switch up the dried fruit and/or chocolate chips for any other tasty addition. Just remember to measure it out to a total of 2 cups.
1. Cream the butter, then blend in the sugar until well mixed.
2. Dissolve the baking soda in boiling water and add it to the butter/sugar mixture.
3. Mix in the vanilla.
4. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then add them slowly to the creamed mixture.
5. Stir in the dried fruit and the chocolate chips.
6. Chill the dough for half an hour – this will make it easier to handle.
7. Form the dough into 1.5-inch diameter balls* and pat them down to lie flat on the baking tray. Bake them at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes. Cookies should still be soft in the middle, but baked at the edges.
*Approximately 2 overflowing tbsp of dough rolled into a ball. I usually measure out the first few cookies and then estimate the rest.