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October 28, 2014

Keeping Surgeons Nice with Maple Pumpkin Spice!

By Rachel Hammer

oatmeal-cookiesSo 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 colorectal surgeon, who is a lovely, soft-spoken man, muttered very quietly, “If you make oatmeal raisin cookies, you get an A on this rotation.” I don’t need much of 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:

Maple Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Raisin Colon Cookies Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (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
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a second bowl beat together butter and sugar until fluffy and then beat the egg and vanilla in. Combine the two mixtures, add 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:


Take your average cookie dough size bolus and roll it into a log. Twist the log into a question mark —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 aesthetically suggestive and might cause your cookie-eaters to regurgitate a little.


And, as happened with mine, once you bake them, the meticulously shaped colons will all just flatten into little butt shapes, which, is a rather humorous and appropriate transformation.


Inspect the serosa for perforations or thickenings suggestive of malignancy or Crohn’s 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 the 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 colorectal OR. No fiber = diverticulosis (very difficult to see the outpouchings in cookie colon imaging). 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.


Rachel is a fourth year medical student at Mayo, where she practices narrative medicine, food and jazz as personal subspecialties on her way to a career in psychiatry. A girl from Portland, OR, she is (as you might suspect) rather granola, and you can follow her foodie adventures with her not-so-vegetarian bulldog and vegan backyard chickens on Twitter @hammer_rachel.

Tags: Baking, Bread Making, Colorectal surgery, Cookies, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Medical School Blog, Medical School, Medical Student Blog, Meet Mayo Med, Oatmeal Raisin, Recipes, Surgery, Uncategorized

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