Monday, July 23, 2012

oatmeal cookies

Get to know my hubby a little bit, and you'll find out that the guy loves anything oatmeal or bran. Muffins, cookies, breads, cereal - it's a win in his book!

Last winter, he was asking me to make oatmeal cookies, and I diligently searched for a recipe. I had been getting a subscription to Disney's Family Fun magazine - one of those freebies that I didn't sign up for - and the next issue (March 2012) had a recipe for "A Better Oatmeal Cookie." The recipe is by Bill Collins, a personal chef in Massachusetts, whose blog is here. He looks pretty cool, and that's not just because he's a chai tea drinker. (He even has a recipe for chai!) Unlike other oatmeal cookie recipes, this one has such tiny amounts of sugar and fat - it's mostly oatmeal and raisins. I was skeptical, but tried it anyway. Of course, you know that I can't follow a recipe to a "t."

The first time around, I made these with dried cranberries and dried cherries - yum! They come out like granola cookies, not quite so much like a flat, chewy oatmeal cookie. They're delicious, and gone in no time when hubby's home. And, in my opinion, they almost count as a breakfast food or snack.

This time, I had no butter in the house (WHAT?!), so I substituted vegetable oil for the melted butter in the recipe. It might just be the different oven I used, but they came out more moist than last time! Firm on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.

Another blogger has posted the recipe, but didn't care for it as we do! You have to realize that this is not ye-old-traditional-oatmeal-cookie. Here is the recipe, with my diversions (haha!) beside:

1/2 cup raisins (or dried cherries, dried cranberries, chocolate chips)
1/2 cup sifted flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (heaping)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (oh, darn. that's what I forgot to buy more of at the grocery today.)
1 egg (I used an XL egg this time)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I guessed, using the lid of the vanilla bottle for a measuring spoon)
1/4 cup butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
3 cups quick oats

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with water, allowing them to soak for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to blend evenly.

Set aside three tablespoons of the water from the bowl of raisins, then drain the raisins, discarding the remaining water.

Whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract, melted butter, and reserved raisin water. (If you're using vegetable oil, measure that in a liquid measuring cup first, then beat the egg right into measuring cup with the oil. I used a fork to "whisk." Add vanilla and water to these nicely whisked liquids.)

Make a well in the flour mixture, then pour in the egg mixture and blend well. Add the oats and raisins. The dough will be lumpy.

With a tablespoon or 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, place portions of the dough on the cookie sheets, flattening the tops slightly. (I used my hands to portion out dough, squeezed it into a suitably cookie-like shape, and then placed on the parchment. Messier, but effective. And fun.)

Bake the cookies one pan at a time (um, I did both at the same time on two different racks), rotating the pan halfway through (I switched and rotated the pans), until they're golden brown (just barely, at the edges!), for about 16 minutes (14 minutes in my older gas oven without an electronic timer). Allow to cook on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes (or not), then use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack for complete cooling.

Eat them all.

I think these would be pretty amazing with, say, slivered almonds mixed in - perhaps 1/4 c. Maybe I'll try that next time. Or - what if I used peanut butter to sub for the butter? Ooh... or Nutella? And what if I added cardamom, and subbed in golden raisins? I think I'll experiment again, soon!
Why only one cookie in the picture? Because the rest are tightly sealed in a plastic zip-top bag. If I take out more than one, more than one will disappear, if you know what I mean!

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