Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Apple a Day

If you live in South Dakota and have a television, you have probably seen a Golden West Telecommunications commercial. The candid shots of real South Dakotans going about their daily business and waving with friendly smiles reinforces that, in our state, we really all are neighbors and friends. There have been a few series of these televised spots with "characters" from all across the state.

The creative forces behind these ads are from Message, a full-service marketing and communications firm based in Rapid City, SD. I have been asked a few times to participate in shoots for Golden West spots, but always, there were scheduling conflicts. This past month, the "Messengers" were in our area and once again, contacted me. Although my calendar was full and my allergies were raging, I agreed and a time was set for filming me in my kitchen.

The day the crew was to arrive, I gave the kitchen a lick and a promise at cleaning and prepped a new recipe for Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies. I *big puffy heart* oatmeal cookies. Raisin Oatmeal may be my most favoritest, but Hubs would rather eat worms than look at a raisin. An oatmeal cookie with chunks of melted caramel and dried apples was perfect for fall and seemed to be just the thing to appease both of our taste buds.

It may be false advertising that I allowed myself to be filmed mixing up cookies and baking them. I am not a baker. I never have claimed to be, and honestly, I think that baking cookies can be one of my worst nightmares. However, little did I know that my worst nightmare was yet to come...

I should back up and explain that sinus issues have been my battle all year. Allergies flared up in the spring and never really loosened their grasp. I have been perpetually (chronically?) snotty, headache-y, whine-y for most of the year. Throw in a couple of subbing jobs at the school with exposure to kid germs, and a full on head and chest cold arrives that gobbles up boxes of tissues and makes my Hubs and the pups wince when I serenade them with a hacking cough. I have been, basically, a walking bucket of warm snot. And that is where my nightmare comes to life.

During the shoot in my kitchen, the crew chatted with me about others in the community that might be interested in participating, talked about my old house, and tried to make me laugh so that the shots of me smiling were real and warm and not as if I was constipated. At one point, I don't even know what the camera man said, but I snorted. Oh. Em. Gee. Yes. My nose wrinkled, my eyes squinted, and my allergy/cold congested head snorted. And...SNOT. CAME. OUT. OF. MY. NOSE.

I died.

I tossed aside the tray of cookies and dashed for the powder room and a tissue, but, it was too late. There is film of me with snot running out of my nose while snorting and laughing and holding a pan of Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies. It could become part of a Golden West commercial. This could very well be my worst nightmare.

Maybe I should have been eating an apple a day to keep the snot away, or at very least made Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies earlier. They do have apples; it might have helped.

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup finely chopped dried apples (I used apples that I had dehydrated and were very dry. Therefore, I added a splash of water to the chopped pieces and let set for a bit before stirring into the dough. I think it made for a chewier preference.)
3/4 cup caramel bits OR 16 small soft caramel candies, chopped (I opted to chop the caramels. The caramel bits were quite hard and I wanted softer, chewier cookies. I tossed my chopped caramel bits with just smidgen of flour to keep them from sticking together.)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine sugars and butter in mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and egg, beat well. 
Mix in the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and soda, and salt just until combined.
Fold in the caramel bits and dried apples.
Drop by 2 teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment (or Silpat).
Flatten balls slightly. (I pressed with the bottom of a measuring cup.)
Bake at 350F for 9 minutes.
Cool on pans for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. (4 dozen cookies)

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