I have a secret to confess. I watch Gossip Girl. Damn you Netflix! I’m up to season 4, and I have to say, I can only watch it a few episodes at a time. I have to put it down because I am just so peeved at all the characters. But, for whatever reason, I pick it back up again after a break. My longest break was many months when the whole Ben and Serena thing was starting up. My eyes were rolling so much, I was getting worried that they were going to get too loose and fall out of my head.
As much as I hate the show, I find myself strangely drawn back to it. Why? I have no idea. But, I do think Gossip Girl is onto something larger in meaning than it realizes.
In this age of the internet generation, privacy is apparently a lost concept. With all the checking in, Facebook, Twitter, it is possible to know where people are at any time of the day. In many utopia centric science fiction/fantasy novels, the general theme revolves around that loss of privacy to a big brother type governing structure in order to keep everyone in check and limit the unpredictable.
In the case of Gossip Girl, she is this unknown mystical big brother who relies on this culture she has perpetuated on her followers to keep tabs on each other by constantly reporting back and making public any actions of their peers. In essence, there is no privacy and everyone is constantly being watched.
The show starts with these kids in high school, but after 4 seasons, and presumably 4 years, you would think they would grow out of the meddling in each others lives. I love (sarcasm alert) how they think that by not stopping to think of the context of whatever snippet of conversation they overhear they are doing their friends a favor by running straight to them or to Gossip Girl to report the snippet of conversation. As if this is them showing their love for each other. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, where I relish privacy and have a head on my shoulders that tells me that maybe I should know the whole story before running off and reporting bits and pieces to “save” a friend. It’s called processing and thinking, something these kids should try sometime (especially Serena…geez, I have never disliked a character as much as I dislike her…but that is another story completely).
You think I’ve read too much into this? Maybe it’s time for another extended hiatus from the show.
Enough of that. Back in the real world, I decided to make some cookies for my company’s Fall Festival. It was originally supposed to be a contest where the baked good had to have either pumpkin and/or maple syrup in it. That was easy. I was going to make my variation of maple nutmeg shortbread cookies, but ended up going with some Oatmeal Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Cookies instead.
This cookie is yet another variation of my staple oatmeal raisin cookies. I just made some slight additions.
Oatmeal Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Cookies
1 1/2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 can (about 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups rolled oats (plus maybe a couple of handfuls depending on how the batter is looking)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
Line some baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degF.
In the bowl of a mixer, put in the butter and sugars and beat with the paddle attachment until creamy.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add in the eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. Beat until combined.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, spice, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add into the batter all at once and mix until just combined.
Remove from the mixer, and by hand, stir in the oatmeal a cup at a time. When adding the last cup of oatmeal, also add in the cranberries and pecans and mix until it all comes together.
Scoop out onto the prepped sheets. I use a dinner spoon and just scoop enough batter for whatever sized cookie I’m looking for. If I need a larger yield, I’ll make them smaller, but they always tend to get larger towards the end. Anyway, about a tablespoons worth is good.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Check at the 10 minute mark and see if the cookies look kind of toasted and set. If not, leave them in at two minute intervals. They are done when you pull them out and if you flip one over and the bottoms are changing color (to a golden brown). Leave them on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
I can get about 52 cookies.
They come out not sweet at all, and can very well be a breakfast cookie. If you want them sweeter, up the brown sugar by 1/4 cup. Otherwise, they are pretty tasty, especially still warm out of the oven! I hope the people who visit me during the Fall Festival at work will like them too…