"This recipe came via my mother from an issue of TV Guide in the late '60s. The original write-up claimed it would help 'channel some energies away from throwing bricks or snarling at Santa Claus' in the frenzy of the holiday season. Tellingly, my own children renamed them 'Aggravation Cookies.' "

3 cups packed light brown sugar

3 cups (6 sticks) butter, at room temperature

6 cups quick-cooking oats

1 tablespoon baking soda

3 cups flour

Butter, for pressing cookies

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Sugar, for pressing cookies (colored, if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, oats, baking soda and flour. With your hands, knead and squeeze these ingredients together until fully blended. The more you mix, the better the cookies will taste (and, presumably, the less stressed you'll feel).

2. Form dough into small balls, about an inch in diameter, spacing them 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Butter the bottom of a small glass, dip it in granulated sugar (colored with food coloring, if you wish) and press the balls flat. You need to butter the glass only once or twice during the operation, but you will need to dip the glass in sugar each time before flattening a cookie.

3. Bake until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for 1 or 2 minutes before removing with a spatula to paper towels or a cooling rack. When cool, store in an airtight container. Makes 15 dozen, but is easily halved.