Originally created 03/14/03

These cookies are a fun twist on an Irish tradition

For most school children, St. Patrick's Day is a holiday filled with frivolity and festivities. Making certain to wear green (and giving a gentle pinch to those who do not), searching for the clever leprechaun and his pot of gold; for most American kids, St. Patrick's Day is a day of light-hearted merriment.

But for the children of Ireland, the holiday is of a more religious nature. St. Patrick's Day is a day of spiritual renewal and prayers for missionaries throughout the world. It's only after attending church in the morning that the Irish celebrate the day in honor of their country's patron saint.

Saint Patrick's birth name was Maewyn. He was born in the late 4th century in Wales. Ironically enough, he was a pagan until he was 16. It was at this time that he was kidnapped into slavery and began to think more seriously about God.

After studying Christianity for years, he was made the second bishop of Ireland and pledged his life to converting pagans to Christianity. It is St. Patrick who is credited to bringing Christianity to Ireland.

St. Patrick was the Ireland's bishop for 30 years before he stepped down. It is thought that St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated on March 17th, since 461 A.D. because that is believed to be the day of his death.

One of the popular myths about St. Patrick was that he chased the snakes out of Ireland. This is thought to be just lore, as Ireland (being an island) has simply never had snakes. The theory is that the story is a metaphor for how he drove out paganism and instilled Christianity.

A true story is that of the shamrock. It is thought that St. Patrick, in an effort to explain Christianity to pagans, would demonstrate the idea of the Trinity (Father, son and holy ghost) with it. Using the three-leafed plant, he explained the idea of three separate parts forming one whole.

St. Patrick's Day has been observed in the United States since 1737. For some it is a sacred, religious holiday, but for most it is a day of innocent tricks and colorful parades.

Oats are a staple in the Irish diet. So what better recipe to create in honor of Ireland's patron saint than an oatmeal cookie?

Oatmeal cookies are one of the healthier cookies to eat because of the oats. But I wanted to make them even healthier, so I cut way back on the butter used and replaced it with peanut butter. Although peanut butter has about the same amount of fat as butter, it is an unsaturated fat and is therefore healthier. Peanut butter is also a good source of protein.

This is an easy recipe that kids love to help make and everyone will enjoy them.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

These delicious, nubby, peanut buttery cookies can be mixed by hand or using an electric mixer.

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar * 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water * 1 medium egg

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour * 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt * 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips,
  • peanut butter chips or a mixture of both

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together the first 7 ingredients.

Sift together the dry ingredients (excluding the oats and chocolate/peanut butter chips).

Beat the dry ingredients plus the oats into the creamed mixture and mix until well combined.

Mix in the chocolate and/or peanut butter chips.

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam or grease well with butter.

Pick up teaspoon size pieces of cookie dough and roll them into a ball (about the size of a ping pong ball). Place the balls onto the greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the back of a fork (this is a good project for kids to do).

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


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