So I was scrubbed in on a colon operation the other day, and the senior resident had been teasing me for bringing my sourdough starter with me to Florida for my surgery rotation. No one understands how important fresh bread is to my sense of well-being. The attending colo-rectal surgeon, who is a lovely, soft-spoken man, mutters very quietly, “If you make oatmeal raisin cookies, you get an A on this rotation.” I don’t need much for an excuse to bake something new, and this recipe I cobbled together from a bunch of different sources is definitely worth an Honors grade in surgery. As such, I am taking the man at his word, and, of course, I used the baking process as an opportunity to study:
Pumpkin Spice Maple Oatmeal Raisin Colon Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin (this is the key secret ingredient)
a pinch ground cloves
a pinch chili powder (KEY! But don’t tell anyone you put this in, they’ll never know)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick maple flavored oats (got mine at Target)
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Into a bowl sift together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy and beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and slowly beat until just combined well. Stir in rolled oats and raisins.
Now for the medical education and silliness, there is an artistic element to this recipe that I have designed in tribute to my attending:
Working in batches, take your average cookie dough size bolus and roll it into a log shape.
Gently twist the log into a question mark shape with squared edges—which are, of course the hepatic and splenic flexures of the large bowel. You do not need the Lines of Toldt to support the colon here, only parchment paper.
If you are an over-achiever, you could also form little humps for haustra and create three longitudinal grooves for the teniae coli or make little dingle-ball epiploic appendages. But that might be a bit too aesthestically suggestive and might cause your cookie-eaters to regurge a little.
Inspect the serosa for perforations or thickenings suggestive of malignancy or Crohns skip lesions. You’d have to do a cookie colonoscopy to check for ulcerative colitis, because that disease involves just the mucosa, and I don’t have the equipment for that (patent pending). If you accidentally tear the cookie colon, don’t worry, just divert the bowel into a stoma and leave a Hartmann’s pouch– give a day of post-op antibiotics to decrease risk of peritonitis. Okay, that’s enough studying. Time to eat the cookies.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, cool, and serve. YUM!
Don’t worry, you are not what you eat—but do eat fiber to keep yourself from ever having to visit the colo-rectal OR. No fiber = diverticulosis (very difficult to see the outpouchings in cookie colon imaging). How much fiber, you ask? 25g/day for women, 30g/day for men under 50. A little less than that if you are over 50. I calculated it all out for this recipe—if one were to eat ALL of these cookies at once, a female would have her daily serving of fiber. (FYI, Fiber in 1 cup raisins= 7g, 3 cups oats= 12g, 2 cups whole wheat flour= 7g). So in regards to colon health, these cookies are pretty good for dessert! And they taste amazing—the pumpkin spice and cumin/chili powder are key ingredients, believe me.
Best feedback ever– my attending ate six of them in a row. Definitely will pass surgery with flair.