Kahlúa-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

When I moved out of the dorms and into my own apartment after my Sophomore year of college, I started experimenting with cooking and baking. After all, learning to cook well on my own served to both save some money and give me an excuse to procrastinate more!

That’s why this, and a few of the other recipes posted here originate from the same period—2003 to 2004. There have been many iterations in the intervening years as I’ve perfected the recipe, and the following are almost guaranteed to come out mouthwateringly well. Almost. There’s always room for improvement.

Kahlúa-soaked Raisin Chocolate Chip Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

Total prep time: 15 minutes of heating and mixing
Makes around 30 cookies, depending on how heaping your teaspoons are.

  • raisins, 1 cup
  • Kahlúa, ½ cup (or enough to cover the raisins)
  • butter, 1 cup, softened
  • brown sugar, 1 cup, packed
  • sugar, white, ½ cup
  • eggs, 2
  • vanilla extract, 1 tsp
  • all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups
  • baking soda, 1 tsp
  • ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
  • ground cloves, ½ tsp
  • salt, ½ tsp
  • rolled oats, 2 ½ cups, half blended to powder
  • chocolate chips (alternately: chopped walnuts), 1 cup

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Pour the Kahlúa over the raisins in a separate cup, and heat for several minutes. Set aside to cool and soak while we prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown and white sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves.
  5. Stir in the flour a bit at a time until the mix is smooth.
  6. Add the oats, chocolate chips (or walnuts), and Kahlúa raisins.
  7. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Keep at least 1 ½ inches apart. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, but don’t overbake.
  8. Let cool for several minutes before moving them into storage.

AotM #5: Let’s get a little more controversy going

Although I generally avoid specifically political or religious topics here (to each their own), I am a strongly opinionated person who enjoys rationally presented evidence, pushing people’s buttons, and exploring boundaries and assumptions. Forewarned is forearmed!

  1. Physical warmth makes for “warmer” interpersonal interactions. So, next time you throw a party, hand everyone a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cider as they come through the door. Or, even better, make them hot toddies or Irish coffees, since….
  2. …It seems that moderate drinkers are happier than teetotalers, in general. Although regular exercise and not smoking also help with happiness.
  3. The interesting contradictions between attitudes toward sex and actual sexual behavior in teens. My takehome: as always, openness, honesty, and love are more important than stricture or structure.
  4. Pregnant women should avoid flaxseed oil (only the oil).

What Bouncers Tell Us About IDs

So, last night I accompanied some good old friends into Old City Philly for some 21st birthday celebration, which was a most interesting experience…But none of that matters, since the only thing that I feel like writing about today is the ginormous (I mean this guy was a BIG dude) bouncer at Café Spice, where a few of us ended up later on in the evening. Long story short, the guy almost didn’t let me in since he thought my ID was a fake—he only let me in on the word of another member of our party who knew him. I thought the bouncer was giving our party trouble due to the several members of our party who actually were using invalid IDs (chicks, of course), but I was informed later that it was I who was the troublemaker.

This was severely vexing for me, for several reasons. First of all, I was in reality the eldest person in our group, by several years. That in itself was enough to piss me off a bit. But secondly, this situation brought the whole ID and age-limit issue home for me.

I have a brand new Connecticut-issued Driver’s License. They have all the latest security features, holograms, thick plastic and good lamination, newfangled barcodes, etc. And in my particular case, my picture is actually quite accurate (for the time being—I happened to get my license photo taken during a shaved head period, and I’m in a shaved head period now as well). I mean, WTF? This episode is basically an admission that bouncers and security personnel and package-store counterladies everywhere are flying by the seats of their pants. This is absurd.

What needs to happen is…Well, a lot of things need to happen, of course. The drinking age should be lowered nationally back to 18, obviously, as the very first necessary and obvious step. Next, we must implement nationwide ID or license standardization. I’m NOT saying that ID’s should be mandatory or even always carried, but that better and more universal personal identification must be developed and distributed.

This goes far beyond buying alcohol or getting into bars. The whole identification infrastructure of the internet, building access, government service access, and numerous other ID-relevant sectors in our IT-driven world today must be rethought.

I will end this semi-coherent rant by comparing the ID infrastructure problem to the electrical infrastructure here in the States. As with any bureaucratically managed system, it took the 2003 NE US blackout to draw attention to the outdated and overused electrical networks in place. Will it take widespread identity theft (already occurring), security breaches, and other daily absurdities like my encounter last night before real action takes place?