- Star Ingredient: oats
- Flavor Affinities: UNSALTED BUTTER + CINNAMON + BROWN SUGAR + RAISINS
- Function: warming
- Tastes: salty, sweet, savory (nutty)
- Textures: chewy, soft, and a little crunchy
- Ease: easy
- Method: baking
- Wisdom: Oats have a pleasant, nutty flavor (think savory) that’s especially noticeable in baking. The point is to play with that by introducing contrasting tastes so that every bite is interesting.
Can I just tell you that oatmeal is so boring to me? I think it’s because it lacks the quality that I get from toasted or baked oats. I vastly prefer an oatmeal cookie for breakfast, for example:) Lately, I’ve been thinking about old fashioned oatmeal cookies, like the kind my dad used to bake with raisins.
And for all you chocolate lovers, yes, there’s a time and place for chocolate oatmeal cookies (especially if it’s cold outside). But what if you want to accentuate the oats? Chocolate can be a louder ingredient when paired with oats, so I opted for raisins and focused my technique on really getting the right amount of cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and fat. There’s absolutely nothing to hide behind.
Feeling the pressure to nail the perfect oatmeal cookie, I made calculated decisions. For example, these cookies contain 2 eggs plus an extra yolk for that ultra rich flavor and soft texture. I’ve also opted for quite a bit of butter in order to ensure the oats have enough moisture (they need a lot). Then I seasoned the dough with a full teaspoon of cinnamon (the right amount for raisins).
Last but not least, I combine white granulated sugar and light brown sugar to compliment the oats and to achieve a nice chewy bite. I got the proportions right, but before you get baking, know this — the temperature of your dough will interact with the baking time.
How to Make Perfect Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
Be sure to use fresh baking soda and “old fashioned rolled oats.” Always smell your oats to make sure they are not rancid. Use a cinnamon that is less than 6 months old and choose raisins that are moist and fresh — not hard like pebbles.
Timing is Key
To start with, go ahead and set your butter on the counter for an hour. Slightly soft butter is important for creaming the butter and sugar. A fantastic work around if you don’t have an hour is to zap the butter for just 5 seconds in the microwave on the “defrost” setting.
A preheated oven is the next tip. No matter what your oven tells you, give it at least 15 minutes and adjust the temperature as needed using a handy oven thermometer.
Understand how the temperature of your dough affects the bake. These oatmeal cookies are easy to make but you have some decisions to make. I tested several versions and found that I like the texture best when the cookie is thick, chewy, soft with just a bit of crunch along the outside. If you like your cookies this way, you will want to refrigerate the dough and work with it slightly chilled.
If you skip the refrigeration of the dough, your cookies will be more on the crunchy side and slightly thinner. To correct for this, you could remove them from the oven 1-2 minutes early, but it won’t be the same as working with the chilled dough.
People who bake cookies for a living swear by the 24-hour rule — where you refrigerate the dough the day before baking to get an improved flavor. I definitely recommend this step if you can afford to be patient. You could also bake a batch. Refrigerate half the dough, and bake the next batch to do a side-by-side comparison. Let me know if you can detect a difference in the chat below!
Rotate the Cookies
Most of us do not have convection ovens, where the heat gets circulated by a fan. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: move your trays halfway through baking. The middle rack of your oven is going to be hotter than the top rack, so rotating ensures both trays come out with the same level of doneness.
How to Store the Cookies
Once cool, I like to stack them in a tupperware container and leave them at room temperature. I did notice they were slightly harder the next day, so to keep things really moist you could put a small piece of bread in the container or use one of these nifty brown sugar savers.
How many calories are in these oatmeal cookies?
If you portion about 3 tablespoons of dough, you will get about 28 cookies at 192 calories each. If you substitute chocolate chips for raisins, each cookie will be 218 calories.
Don’t forget to enjoy your warm oatmeal cookie with a glass of cold milk.
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