I had crafted this recipe with the intention of sending a big batch to my daughter and her roommates at their college in New England. Funny that they ended up becoming sustenance to some volunteers during the 1000 Year Flood.
To quickly recap, Boulder sits at around 5,400 feet and receives about 10″ of rainfall ANNUALLY. Last week, we had anywhere from 12-18″ of rain in about 36 hours. And then it just kept raining. Combine that with the damage from the recent wildfires, pine beetle devastation and the steep canyons above us and you’ve got some seriously deadly flash-flood conditions.
For those of you not too familiar, Boulder is about 30 miles northwest of Denver, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We are blessed with an abundance of nature including the stunning, iconic rock formations called the flatirons. We have, quite literally out our back door, nearly 100,000 acres of open space to hike, mountain bike, rock climb or trail ride. It’s also home to The University of Colorado at Boulder, Naropa and an abundance of tech startups. Boulder’s been called the happiest, healthiest and even “foodiest” place in the US. It’s an extremely vibrant community with a mix of students, ranchers, world-class athletes, scientists, entrepreneurs, artisan food makers, programers and everything in between.
So what happens when Mother Nature unleashes her wrath on this totally unsuspecting town in the high desert? Well, unimaginably bad things as I’m sure you’ve seen on the news. At the very least, most homes in the area flooded just from the water table rising as quickly as it did. Those are the houses you see with the huge piles of carpet, drywall, furniture and photo albums at the curb. Some had their cars washed away. Others lost their homes entirely. It’s rare to hear any news of people left untouched by the storm.
Like after most catastrophic events, the horror stories here were soon followed by tales of incredible displays of human spirit and as many acts of kindness as one could hope for in a community. People came together, ran out into danger to help one another, brought warm meals, provided a place to dry out, plug in and just feel normal again. Having lived through Hurricane Sandy last fall, all I can honestly report is that it is confirmed: human goodness is alive and well.
If you are looking for ways to help out some of the victims of the flood, you may want to consider donating to these charities or the hyper-local focused organization, EFAA. They provide emergency assistance to families in need under “normal” circumstances so I can only imagine that their needs will soon increase.
So the cookies. These are pretty easy to throw together because that’s basically what you do. Like a good granola recipe, (these are a take on my surfer’s granola) these cookies are as about unfussy as you get in the world of baking. They are packed with some great energy-generating ingredients but have enough butter and chocolate to make them a treat. Make a batch and maybe thank your lucky stars for the patches in life of ease and comfort that we can all take for granted from time to time.
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t coconut extract
1 c whole wheat flour
3 c thick rolled oats
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
3/4 c walnuts or pecans
1/2 c pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
2 c chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet dark)
1 c dried cherries
preheat oven to 375º
Using and electric or standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and extracts. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and oats and mix for about 30 seconds. Fold in the remaining ingredients until everything is well distributed.
Let the dough chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. (great time to clean up)
Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper and portion the dough out using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden.