Mrs. Ansell’s Cookies

IMG_3738When we were young, Mom & Dad would arrange for Mrs. Ansell to stay over whenever they were away.  She was what would be called a tough old bird.  She drove a turquoise & white Hillman, and was strict without being harsh.  Her hair was a brilliant red cap of curls, which now I understand must have been dyed.

One morning while under her care, we were off to swimming lessons.  I remember sitting in the middle between my sister and brother in the back seat of the car as we hurtled down Dunbar Street.  When we heard sirens, we all strained to look, wondering what was happening.  When we realized that they were coming for us, we all hid under the scratchy plaid blanket on the floor.  I was sure that Mrs. Ansell was going to jail, and wondered what would happen to us.  The three of us stayed under that blanket until we were well under way once again.

Her legacy, besides our first brush with the law, is these amazing oatmeal cookies.  They are crisp on the outside with chew in the middle.  The batch makes at least 12 dozen.  They’re still a family favourite, and have been passed on to other families as well.

Not sure about my siblings, but I always have a plaid blanket in my back seat.  Just in case.IMG_3680

Click here for printable version.


3 c flour

2 t baking soda

1# butter, at room temperature

2 c brown sugar (about 440 gr – I tend to weigh brown sugar vs packing it to measure)

2 c white sugar

3 eggs

1 orange, zest & juice

4 c oats



In the mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy.

Add in white sugar; beat until fluffy.IMG_3689


Add in brown sugar; beat until well incorporated.IMG_3691


Beat in eggs, one at a time.IMG_3696

Beat in orange zest and juice.IMG_3694

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.IMG_3697

In two additions, add in the flour and baking soda mixture to the butter mixture; beating until smooth.IMG_3698


Put the oatmeal in a large mixing bowl.IMG_3695  Using a strong wooden spoon, stir in the batter until it’s mixed well.IMG_3703


Dust a work surface with flour.  This is fairly soft dough, so work with it gently.  Roll about a sixth of the dough into an 8” long roll, about 2” in diameter.  Dusting with flour as needed.IMG_3706



Lay out a length of wax paper, and carefully place the roll on it midway. Tuck an edge under the roll and roll the dough up in the wax paper, folding the ends in as you go. It doesn’t need to be done perfectly.IMG_3711

Lay the wrapped rolls on a baking sheet and freeze until hard.IMG_3713

Once frozen, put all the rolls into a freezer bag and keep frozen until needed.

To Bake:

Preheat oven to 375°

Place an unwrapped roll of frozen dough on a cutting board.IMG_3723

Cut evenly crosswise, into ¼” – ⅜” thick pieces





Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2” apart.  These cookies spread a fair amount, so give them room.

Bake two sheets at a time for about 9 minutes.

Remove while still on the parchment, to a rack to cool completely, by sliding the parchment directly from the sheet to the rack.







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