What normal people often do is take a recipe for something floury, buttery and indulgent and try to make it healthier. Maybe they use less butter. They might dial back the sugar. But more often than not they swap in a little whole wheat or alternative grain flour and at least make something with more nutrients.
But we’ve established by now that I’m not normal, and so, I did the opposite. I took a recipe for an oatmeal cookie with oat, whole wheat, rye, millet and barley flour within and I swapped in some unbleached all-purpose flour. And I did it for you! Yes, you.
Let me explain: I tested these cookies for the first time last month as part of my duties as a judge in Food52’s Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. I bought all of the flours I didn’t have already and I made them as written. They’re fantastic, by the way. A little lacy, reminiscent of something store-bought, you know, if store-bought cookies weren’t loaded with freaky ingredients like “raisin paste” and didn’t always taste like pale imitations of homemade. They don’t taste like something from a health food store, or something you’d make in January, because you were trying to be “good”. And I really wanted to tell you about them but I also really wanted you to make them. But to make them the way they were written in Good to the Grain (yes, my obsession continues) you’d need to buy a lot of flours I suspect most of us don’t normally keep stocked.
So I reversed engineered them to remove some of that whole grain goodness — it sounds so evil, right? And then I stole candy from a baby! Turned carolers away! Laughed when someone tripped! I kid, I kid. But I wanted to make sure they still worked no matter how few flours and am delighted to declare that whether you use white, brown or gray flour, it will have no effect on the speed in which they disappear, or my sadness that they are no longer, as I have had a profound cookie hankering since I was roused from sleep at 5:30 a.m. And no, not by a cookie offer but kid, if you want to mix that into your morning routine, your daddy and I might look a little less like death warmed over when we stumble into your den.
One year ago: Vanilla Roasted Pears (Promise you’ll make these? Pinky swear?)
Two years ago: Cabbage, Apple and Walnut Salad, Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Veselka’s Cabbage Soup
Three years ago: Chicken and Dumplings
Four year ago: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake, Apple Pie and Infinitely Adaptable Blondies
Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grain
Unlike most cookies, where spreading is a cause for concern, here, it is encouraged as it leads to a thinner, lacier cookie. (More or less, you want to do the opposite of everything suggested here.) Because the condition of my baking sheets is reprehensible, I lined mine with parchment paper instead of buttering them, but unfortunately, this impeded the spreading a little. I’m sure you all have unblemished and lovely baking sheets, and therefore are encouraged to butter them, as the recipe suggests.
Aside from playing around with the flours, my other changes were to streamline the oat measurement to include the oats you can use to make oat flour. I added weights as well, but don’t use them for the alternatively suggested flours, as they may weight more or less.
Yield: 30 3-inch cookies (with a 2 tablespoon or #40 scoop), larger if your spread more
Butter for baking sheets
2 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (8 1/4 ounces or 231 grams) old fashioned oats
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces or 65 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 3/8 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour*
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoons (20 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt**
1 cup (8 3/8 ounces or 238 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly grated nutmeg (I used less, because I was nutmeg-wary, but wouldn’t have minded more)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 1/4 (9 1/2 ounces or 270 grams) cups powdered sugar
5 to 6 (75 to 90 ml) tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon (6 grams) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt**
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Rub two baking sheets with butter. In a food processor, grind 1/2 cup of oats to a fine powder, then add remaining oats and grind them all together until it resembles coarse meal, with only a few large flakes remaining.
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back any bits of grains or other ingredients that remain in the sifter. In a small bowl, whisk butter and eggs until combined. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Scoop balls of dough about 2 to 3 tablespoons in size (I used a #40 cookie scoop, which scooped 2 tablespoon-sized balls) onto cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. When tops are evenly brown, take them out and transfer them to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Let cookies cool completely before icing.
In a bowl, whisk icing ingredients together until smooth. It should have a honey-like consistency. Drizzle the frosting over the cookies. Let the frosting set for 30 minutes (or more; it took longer at my place but by the next day, was fully firmed up) before eating. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
* The original recipe replaced this volume with a multigrain flour mix that worked out to 1/2 cup barley flour + 1/4 cup millet flour + 1/4 cup rye flour. If you have any of these flours, swap them in and reduce the volume of all-purpose.
** Saltiness of kosher salt varies by brand. I’d recommend 2 teaspoons if you use Diamond kosher salt, and about half as much if you use Morton kosher salt or another brand.