Monday, September 17, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!  Oats are a whole grain and are very good for you, so why not make them into something bad for you by adding butter and sugar?  They are delicious, and probably not as bad for you as most other varieties of cookie.

I've made chocolate chip cookies countless times, but to the best of my recollection I've never made oatmeal raisin cookies.  There are lots of recipes available online, but I chose this Quaker Oats recipe for a few reasons.  First, it uses twice as much oats as flour.  The point of making oatmeal cookies is to make them out of oats, and many of the recipes I found used more flour than oats.  Second, the recipe only uses 1 1/4 cups of sugar overall.  Some recipes used a cup each of white and brown sugar.  Finally, because when one thinks of a brand of oats, one normally thinks of Quaker Oats, and chances are the recipe they've come up with is a good one.  That last reason is a bit lame; I probably chose their recipe because over the years I've been brainwashed by their advertisements.  But the cookies are delicious, and I know Wilford Brimley would want me to use this recipe (see the bottom of this post for Wilford Brimley).

The thing is, I used the Quaker Oats recipe but I used Country Choice brand old fashioned organic oats.  They're the ones sold at Trader Joe's.  Apart from the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda, all the ingredients came from Trader Joe's, and almost all are organic.  

I always give this advice when using a recipe from the internet: download a copy of the recipe as a PDF immediately.  It's happened to me several times that I've found a recipe I really like and it comes out great, then when I try to make it again I'm not sure where I got the recipe.  Or the website no longer exists.  For a little while now I've been saving all my recipe PDFs to a folder on my computer so I'll have them no matter what, even when I don't have an internet connection.  Each browser has a different way of doing this, so I can't tell you exactly how to do this on your computer, but I'm sure google can tell you how.  

This is another recipe that lent itself well to our KitchenAid stand mixer.  I used the beater attachment because it does well with chunky ingredients like oats and raisins.  I followed the recipe almost exactly as it's stated on the Quaker website.  I combined the softened butter and sugars in the mixer, then added the eggs and vanilla.  

After mixing the sugar and butter

Sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla

The recipe says to beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, but after a couple of minutes at medium speed it didn't seem very creamy.  I wasn't worried; a good oatmeal cookie isn't completely homogenous.  The batter got much creamier after adding the eggs and vanilla.  

I put the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small bowl and gave it a quick stir before adding to the mixing bowl.  It was hard to get one teaspoon of cinnamon exactly, because I had to remove the shaker top from the jar of cinnamon.  I could have used a knife to level the teaspoon, but I decided to just wing it and err on the side of slightly more cinnamon than the recipe called for.  It wasn't a heaping teaspoon, but it was more than one teaspoon of cinnamon.

I added the bowl of dry ingredients slowly with the mixer on a low speed, then added the oats.  I didn't want to over mix, because I didn't want the oats to break down and blend too much with the batter.  Finally, I added the raisins and mixed until they were evenly distributed.  Occasionally I had to stop the mixer to scrape the ingredients off the beater attachment to ensure they all made it into the batter.  

Before the raisins

As with the chocolate chip cookies, I didn't preheat the oven to 350° until the dough was ready and then began to form the dough on the cookie sheets.  The recipe on the website always begins with preheating the oven, and it usually finishes preheating well before I'm ready to put the food in the oven.  We have three cookie sheets, and I formed exactly three dozen cookies from the batter.

Ready to go in the oven
The recipe says to bake for 8-10 minutes, but after 8 minutes the cookies weren't ready yet.  After 10 minutes they still weren't ready.  I gave the cookies another minute or two and they didn't seem ready, but I pulled them out.  They were only slightly browned around the edges and on top, but I removed the cookies from the oven.  It turned out for the best, because they came out perfect.  The cookies were all done to different levels, but each was in the oven around 11-12 minutes and none were burned.  The cookies came out great!  Good flavor, nice and soft, this recipe was a winner.

Only slightly browned
Browned slightly more than the other batches

In parting, here's a Quaker Oats commercial with Wilford Brimley:

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