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Oats of Old

October 28, 1998|LEILAH BERNSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Pumpkin-face cookies are a long-time favorite; in fact, the Oct. 26, 1947, issue of the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine featured pumpkin-face oatmeal cookies with raisins for eyes and candied cherries for the mouths.

Times home economist Anita Bennett called for two cups of quick oats, one of the earliest of American "convenience products," developed in 1921 by the Quaker Oats Co. During production, the grain is hulled, yielding groats (whole grain oats including the bran and germ). These are cut into two or three pieces (to speed the cooking process), then steamed and rolled. Quaker's old-fashioned oats, on the other hand, are whole groats and require longer cooking.

There was a growing desire to reduce household labor from the 1920s through the 1940s. By the late '40s, frozen precooked foods had entered the home and fast-food restaurants were booming. Quick oats and quick cookie recipes like this one became part of the trend.

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PUMPKIN FACE COOKIES

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups quick oats

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup candied cherries

Cream butter with sugar by beating them together until light in color and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly.

Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats and milk.

Spoon dough in rounded tablespoons onto greased baking sheet. With floured fingers, pat cookies out to 1/4-inch-thick circles. Shape into pumpkins by pushing dough in at tops and bottoms, then adding dough to tops for stems. Make faces with raisins and cherry pieces.

Bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

1 1/2 dozen cookies. Each cookie:

243 calories; 269 mg sodium; 52 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.18 gram fiber.

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