I'm so glad I'm not a dentist. How many times does someone say, 'Oh, Doc, it felt so good when you were drilling my teeth'? Never. But when you give someone a wonderful cookie, you put a little of yourself in, and you see someone's face light up - that's immediate approval.
A few days back we celebrated Sonshine's 9th birthday. Hey!!! feels like just yesterday he was this teeny tiny baby cradled in my arms. And today he is a "BIG" 9 year old. Where did the time go?
Since it was his last single-digit birthday, we all wanted it to be very special. I had a plan of sorts in my mind as soon as we bid good-bye to the last guest at his 8th birthday party last year. But it was just a plan at that time. There were so many little details to be taken care of. I just let the idea incubate for a year at the back of my mind. To make it practical, I had to get things in order - physically see what needs to be done - write it down. Make a checklist - on paper. My husband finds it funny that I still prefer paper-pen checklist - in this age of smartphones, tablets and "information at fingertips". He calls me antique in that aspect. Even if he teases me, I still prefer my good ol' paper and pen.
The theme for this year's party was tie-dye. The idea was for the kids to decorate the t-shirts and these decorated tees would be the return gift as well. I had everything planned to the last bit.
The hall was decked with colorful streamers, balloons, swirl hangings etc. Any color would would work here because it is tie-dye!!! We organized the tie-dye area in an assembly line fashion - kids would wear the gloves, pick up their shirts (which I had labelled prior to the party according to size requirements), make the pattern they wanted (swirl design was very popular that day), pick the colors they want, and once they were done, we would wrap it in a cling film, and put it in a ziploc bag and then in a labelled goodie bag! Most of this went according to the plan, except for a little space constraint. Some of the kids were very meticulous about the design they were making. And thank god for gorgeous summer day with no rains 🙂 .
The cake also had to be tie-dye themed cake. I am not very fond of cakes that use tons of food colors, but for this theme, I could not shy away from using food colors. I made my famous-among-friends tres leches cake - and something went wrong - something I had not accounted for in my plan. The cake that I baked on the previous day of the party did not rise as I had planned (too wound up with the party the next day, I did not pay attention to the cake batter), so I had to bake yet another cake on the party day and ended up decorating two cakes in less than 2 hours. Compromises!!!! Anyways, I had two cakes decorated in the tie-dye theme just in time when my first guest rang the door bell. Phew!!!!!
The party went well. The kids had fun decorating the t-shirts and are probably enjoying wearing them. It was a perfect day for the outdoor party and we had about 16 kids at the party. We had tons of help from our adult friends - Thanks a ton guys - without your help we could not have done it.
Later that evening, we played some games and at night we had a dosa party just like we had last year with a few very close friends. It was definitely an evening to remember.
I always felt that at birthday parties, even though kids are given goodie-bags or return gifts, the parents and siblings are not thanked enough. So, this year I baked some oatmeal m&m cookies to share with Sonshine's friends families.. My neighbor had shared this recipe with me (a couple of years back) when I told her my love for baking. This is her mother's recipe and they used to call it oatmeal chippers. The original recipe uses chocolate chips, but to go with the tie-dye theme, I decided to use m&m mini candies. With all the oats, the original recipe strives to be a "healthy" option. For birthday parties, "healthy" is taboo... so I decided to make it "not-so healthy", but tasty and sinful. And by the response I got from the kids, these oatmeal m&m cookies hit the bulls-eye 🙂 .
- 2 cups old fashioned oats, divided
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) Butter, melted
- ½ cup Ghee/clarified butter
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup M&M Candies (mini)
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & Spoons
- Baking Tray
- Parchment paper
- Wire Rack
- Indian Style mixer-grinder/Food Processor
- Spatula to mix the dough together
- Spatula to remove the cookies from the baking tray to the wire rack.
- Preheat the over to 350 degree Fahrenheit (180 degree Celsius).
- Line your baking tray with parchment paper (that can be used at 350 degree Fahrenheit (180 degree Celsius)).
- Powder 1 cup of old fashioned oats in the dry attachment of Indian style mixer-grinder or using a food processor.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together all purpose flour, baking soda and salt.
- Mix together melted butter and ghee/clarified butter in a large mixing bowl.
- To the same mixing bowl, add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla essence and beat well till the sugars are incorporated into the butter and ghee/clarified butter.
- Add the eggs and beat well together.
- To the above mixture, add the flour, baking soda and salt (which was whisked earlier in the small bowl). Add oats - both regular oats and the ground oats and mix well using a spatula. Mix in the M&M candies and mix everything together (see Recipe Notes).
- Spoon about ½ tablespoon of dough onto the prepared baking tray. Place dough balls about an inch apart on the baking tray.
- Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit (180 degree Celsius) for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When you remove it from the oven, the cookies would be a little soft, but once cooled they would be crunchy. Repeat for rest of the dough.
- Once the cookies are at room temperature, store them in an air tight container.
1. Cooking Time - Using my baking tray I could make about 20 cookies in a batch. Each batch would take about 15 minutes.The actual cooking time would depend on your baking tray size.
2. I noticed that sometimes, M&M candies "hide" inside the dough and not visible when baked. So, in step 10, I keep aside a few of the candies instead of adding them all into the dough. And once I place the dough balls on the parchment paper, I place the M&M candies strategically on the dough balls before I place the baking tray in the oven.