For almost my entire life, the same cookie jar has sat on the kitchen counter. The porcelain pig jar (appropriately wearing a kitchen apron) started as a counter staple at my parent’s house when I was a kid and was then gifted to me by my mother when I was in my 20s. It’s currently sitting on my kitchen counter as I write this. Being both a fan of baking and the owner of a vintage cookie jar mean I bake cookies to fill the jar nearly weekly. It’s grown into a point of pride of mine to have the type of home where I have fresh, home-baked cookies at the ready for guests.
While I love experimenting and baking new things, I have a few cookies recipes that have become my go-to easy cookies (and the cookies you are most likely to find in the cookie jar on any given day). It’s nice have a few staples that I can generally whip up in under 20 minutes. One of these is Aggression Cookies. The name may be a bit off-putting but it is well earned. Aggression Cookies require hand mixing cold butter into the mixture and actually turn out better the more you mix it (unlike many other baked goods, which one needs to be careful to not over mix). Thus the name. These cookies are a great way to workout some stress as you get the butter fully incorporated. What’s better than pounding out your frustration in the cookie dough and treating yourself to a fresh, warm-from-the-oven cookie afterwards?
The thing I find the most interesting about this recipe is it’s origin story: At one point—no idea if it’s still is— this was one of the staple recipes they would teach in my junior high home economy class. I never actually took this class. (For the record, I never took any home economy or cooking classes despite my love of baking and cooking. I learned a lot of cooking techniques from my mom and everything else has been self taught.) I ended up with the recipe because either my mom had been a substitute teacher for the course and brought it home, or perhaps my sister had took the class we ended up with the recipe that way? I’m honestly not sure. (It could be a combo of both!) The recipe didn’t fall into my hands until I was much older.
I have zero memories of baking these when I was in high school, so the recipe must have been passed on to me when I was in college or recently graduated from college. I think my mom actually gave it to me with the recommendation I use it to help relieve stress while I was going through an emotional time. By the time I moved to Portland, the recipe had become one of my regulars. I love to keep it on had to eat at breakfast, or for a post-work snack, or a pre/post workout treat. While marathon training I would add in a bit of peanut butter into the recipe (just a spoonful) for a bit of extra protein. I love that these cookies are more like little energy bites than a traditional oatmeal cookie (which I am less of a fan of). I feel like two or three of these little cookies is pretty similar to eating a granola bar, and can get me by on a busy morning. They are great for a little pre-run energy if I’m going for a run but don’t want to eat a full breakfast beforehand. No matter what time of day you like to eat them, there is a pretty high chance you’ll find them in my cookie jar if you pop over to my place for a visit.
(as adopted from Ponderosa Junior High)
Makes about 20 cookies
1 1/2 cup oatmeal (I often use traditional rolled oats, but quick cooking oats work well too. Steal cut, however, does not work as a good substitute for this cookie)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (cold and cut into chunks)
(spoonful of creamy peanut butter- optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350° and prepare baking sheet (I line mine with parchment for easier cleaning)
Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and vanilla in a large or medium-sized mixing bowl. (If adding peanut butter, I put a spoonful in here. No more than a tablespoon or your proportions will be wrong. Cookies are very tasty without the added peanut butter so maybe make the original recipe the first time and play around with it the next time). Add cold butter and hand mix in the butter, kneading it until completely incorporated. The more you mix, the better it becomes. Make sure there are no remaining, unmixed chunks of butter. Dough will be kind of dry and almost cornmeal-like, but holds together when pressed into a ball shape. Form tight balls of dough using your hands, between 1 and 1.5 inch diameter depending on how big you want your cookies. Place in rows on a prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room (at least an inch) around each cookie. Cookies do not raise much and will hold shape while baking so long as butter is mix in properly.
Place in oven (center rack) and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until browning on the bottom. Let cool at least 20 minutes before eating. Once completely cooled, cookies will keep at room temp in an air-tight container for at least a week. (I keep mine in a large Ziplock bag inside my cookie jar.)