I woke up Sunday morning craving oatmeal raisin cookies something fierce, so I tried to make myself eat oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar in it for breakfast but that didn’t work, and so there was nothing left to do but to bake cookies. My life is so hard, innit?
I have very specific tastes in oatmeal raisin cookies. A crisp edge is always welcome, but the rest of it must be thick and chewy. Just to confuse, this is unlike other oatmeal cookie recipes on this site, the crunchier chocolate chip pecan version and the thick but shattery, salty white chocolate version. Nope, my oatmeal raisin cookies demand their own texture, and one I can’t get from those other recipes.
I start with the standard recipe on every can of Quaker oats and then start making it better. I find it too sweet, so I dial back the sugar. It never has enough raisins in it, so I up them. I use only brown sugar (instead of a mix of brown and white). And sometimes, though not this one, I add chopped walnuts because they were made to go together.
And then I try not to eat them for breakfast. (It’s got oats and dried fruit, right? Like granola!) I, uh, don’t always succeed.
Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
The last trick to getting a really thick, chewy cookie is to chill the dough before you bake it. You can scoop it and then chill it, or, if you’re like us, scoop it, freeze them and store them in a freezer bag so you can bake them as you wish. I find they’re always thicker when baked from the cold — only a couple extra minutes baking is needed.
This is a half recipe. It makes a couple dozen standard-size cookies. (I get more because I make them tinier.) I always feel like I’m swimming in cookies when I make the full volume, but if you’re feeding a crowd, go ahead and double it.
New note, 2/2/13: We’ve gotten in the habit (terrible habit, heh) of making these lately, Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip-style. We use no nuts, 1/2 cup raisins and 3/4 cup chocolate chips (but prefer to hand-chop chocolate because those coarse pieces will melt into heavenly puddles) for the mix-ins and highly encourage you to try it. When using chocolate, we drop the sugar down to a heaped 1/2 cup.
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (125 grams) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins
1/2 cup walnuts (65 grams), chopped (optional)
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.
At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick. Either way, heat oven to 350°F (175°C) before you scoop the cookies, so that it’s fully heated when you’re ready to put them in.
The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.