When people ask me what pregnancy cravings I have, I'm always a bit perplexed. In the early days of being pregnant, when morning sickness is at its worst, there are certainly a few foods that I tend to eat regularly. But it's not so much that I crave these few foods as I am unable to face eating other foods. When I asked the Critic to bring Vlassic pickles back from the US during my last pregnancy, he interpreted it as a Craving (and not so much a request as a Royal Command). But even at the time, I would have only classified it as your usual from time to time feeling of "gosh I have a taste for X". When you live in a foreign country, you get used to these occasional urges because you don't have easy access to all the comfort foods of home. You don't have to be pregnant.
One change I have noticed in my diet, though I hesitate again to call it a craving, is an advanced case of the Sweet Tooth. I think this is for two main reasons: 1) I feel like I deserve a treat for all the wine I'm not consuming and 2) I don't have to worry much about putting on weight because of the sudden lack of alcohol calories. So I eat a fair amount of chocolate and have a pain aux raisins on my way to work in the morning and I am happy. Yesterday, though, I had something of a real craving. I suddenly realised I'm tired of chocolates after dinner. I wanted something more substantial and chewy. I wanted home-made cookies.
When I first started playing around in the kitchen, cookies were naturally one of the first areas I explored. I was only eight or so, after all. Also, my sister had made clear to me that licking the bowl after making the cookies was strictly the cook's perogative. Talk about incentive. I mostly stuck to a few tried and true recipes though: chocolate chip (of course) and the family favorites, chocolate oatmeal cookies. It's only now some thirty years later that I've started to play with my own cookie ideas.
And this one is a winner. Tart dried cherries, not-too-sweet chocolate chips and excruciatingly sweet dough combined in a chewy mouthful. When I offered the tin to the Critic last night, he fully intended to politely eat one cookie and give his opinion. (He still drinks wine and worries - unnecessarily - about his weight.) He had two before I could ask what he thought and I'm pretty sure at least one or two more over the course of the evening. That said, the Critics were not unanimous: the Boy is suspicious still of chocolate chips and spat out the one bite that had sour cherry in it. He'll learn; he has time to develop his palate and in the meantime I don't mind if there is more left over to feed my one genuine craving.
Cherry and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (makes around 32 cookies)
Note: one of the things that annoyed me when I followed the Fannie Farmer recipes for cookies is that I rarely ended up with more than 60% of the number of cookies the book claimed I would have. I remember being teased by my family about dipping into the raw dough, but even when I religiously abstained from a single spoonful and made carefully small cookies I never got more than 75% of the supposed output. Me, you can trust. I made normal sized cookies (about 2 1/2 inches or 6 cm across) and had about 36 at the end. I've rounded down in case you want to taste the dough. (Though the fear of being jumped on by lawyers or other vigilantes does force me to point out that in the interest of safety you should never eat raw cookie dough. Yeah, right.)
1/2 cup (115 g) butter
1 cup (220 g) sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbs water
1 cup (140 g) flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate)
1/2 cup almond slivers
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, water and vanilla. Beat in the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and salt. Carefully (by hand or by slowing down your mixer) mix in the remaining ingredients. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough on a piece of baking parchment on a cookie sheet, about 2 inches/5 cm apart. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until just barely browned on the top. Allow them to set for a moment on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an air-tight container. Consume with abandon.