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The first day of school has always filled me with joy – a brand new year, brimming with possibility, bright shiny school supplies and everyone suffused with excitement.

After accompanying the kids to their classrooms for their first day back, taking a long walk with my husband, enjoying the newspaper with a quiet cup of coffee, organizing dinner, baking a batch of cookies for an afternoon welcome home treat, and taking a yoga class, I showered, and in my kid-free giddiness, donned a pair of improperly high wedge heels and strode off to meet a friend for coffee.


oatmeal date cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped, pitted dates

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350F.

Blend flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, vegetable shortening, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in honey, eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, raisins, dates and pecans. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake cookies until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely on sheets. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2003