What would you do with 20 minutes? In our busy lives, it seems that most people only have five minutes and that’s might be being generous. I suppose some people would use their 20 minutes to check out news on the web or channel surf on the television. Others might do what many of us should do and that is to get in some extra exercise. Alas, I do neither of the aforementioned. I spend my 20 minutes making chocolate oatmeal cookies. You might scoff when I say that, but you would stop if I told you these cookies only take ten minutes of prep time, ten minutes of cooking time and five seconds to devour if you have friends over to help you enjoy them. This is a traditional classic recipe that’s always a popular favorite. A colleague of mine who is a dental practice management consultant likes to echo what the dentists tell us about eating too many cookies and other sugar-laden foods, but she cannot turn these cookies away. We traded our favorite cookie recipes at a dental marketing and advertising seminar, and you know what? I think I got the better end of the stick on this one. Seriously, twenty minutes to fresh-baked chocolate oatmeal cookies. Below is the recipe:

Prep: 10 min, Cook: 10 min.

* 3/4 lb. semisweet chocolate chips

* 1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

* 1 egg

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract; I use either Tahitian vanilla or Madagscar vanilla when I can find it.

* 3/4 cup all purpose flour

* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 tsp. baking powder

* 3/4 cup quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked

* 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Separate 1 cup chocolate chips from the rest and melt this in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter together in a bowl until smooth and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla and egg.

Remaining ingredients should be combined in another bowl. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and the chocolate mixture made previously.

Place rounded tablespoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet, bake 8-10 minutes as needed, then cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing cookies to a wire cooling rack.

Sometimes I like to get creative with recipes, especially if it doesn’t add additional time. For this recipe, I have added walnuts and/or hazelnuts. I think I like the hazelnuts better, but they’re not always to everyone’s liking with it’s coffee-like taste. During the holidays, I’ll add cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough. Cookies made this way go well with milk punch and spiced tea. Learn from me and my recent dental consulting appointment where I found out that I had two cavities: consider substituting Splenda or another sugar substitute and avoid my dental fate.